Drinking too much soda could have health consequences ranging from weight gain to osteoporosis to kidney problems, according to the August issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

Soda was once considered an occasional treat, but consumption has steadily increased over the last three decades. Many Americans drink soda every day. Demand is so great that manufacturers produce enough soda to supply the average man, woman and child in America with more than 52 gallons each year.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource looks at possible health effects of sipping too much soda. For example, studies have found an association between Americans' soda-drinking habits and the rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in adults and children.

Sugar overload: Many concerns about soda center on sugar. One 12-ounce soda typically has nine teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories. Research has shown that adults and children who regularly drink beverages high in sugar tend to have higher calorie intake overall and experience weight gain. As weight increases, so does the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Diet soda no better? Although diet sodas are low in calories, nutrition surveys have shown that those who drink them don't always eat healthier or lose weight. Some data suggest that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may increase sugar cravings and encourage poor food choices.

Metabolic syndrome: A study in the journal Circulation found that middle-aged adults who drink one or more regular or diet sodas daily had an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome - a cluster of conditions that includes high blood pressure, excess weight gain around the waist, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Osteoporosis: Consumption of milk, an important source of calcium, may be less for someone who prefers drinking soda. Lower calcium levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which bones are weak and prone to fracture. It's possible that the phosphoric acid and caffeine found in soft drinks may promote the loss of calcium in bones.

Kidney stones: Some evidence indicates that sodas are linked to the formation of kidney stones. Drinking two or more diet or regular sodas in one day may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

For those trying to lose weight or improve their diet, forgoing soda or indulging only on occasion may be wise. In other cases, cutting back may be a good idea, especially for those who drink more than one soda a day.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource