Soda is one of society’s favorite beverages. Each year, billions of gallons of soda are sold in the United States alone. Though it is popular with men, women, and children, many experts believe drinking soda may have serious health consequences. Some studies have suggested a link between drinking soda and obesity. Soda is high in sugar and calories. Combined with its practically nonexistent nutritional value, soda may cause drinkers to pack on the pounds without receiving even the smallest nutritional benefit. Surprisingly, drinking diet soda has been linked to weight gain as well. However, some experts assert that obesity may be caused not by drinking soda, but by the combination of drinking soda and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Drinking soda has been shown to contribute to tooth decay. Spokesmen for the soda industry have conceded this point. Interestingly, in recent years, levels of tooth decay in the United States and similarly developed countries have decreased. This is in spite of the fact that more people are drinking soda than ever before. At the same time, levels of obesity have risen. Obviously, the sugar consumption involved in drinking soda is cited for causing tooth decay. However, the acid in soda has been shown to erode tooth enamel, leading to dental cavities as well. In fact, the acid in soda can begin damaging enamel just 20 minutes after drinking soda. Caffeine dependence may also form as a result of drinking soda that contains caffeine. Some health care advocates assert that caffeine may interfere with brain development in children. So far, however, this assertion has not been proven. Research suggests that individuals can develop caffeine dependence as a result of drinking soda and may experience withdrawal when caffeine consumption decreases. Another unfortunate health effect of drinking soda is the weakening of bones. Some animal studies have shown that phosphorus in soda leaches calcium from bones. Similar studies on humans have suggested that drinking soda may lead to a tendency toward broken bones. Many individuals choose to drink diet soda in order to avoid the sugar and calories in regular soda. Drinking diet soda, however, is not a perfect solution. Diet soda drinkers are still vulnerable to the acidic effects of soda. Furthermore, some artificial sweeteners, commonly used in diet soda, may contribute to serious health issues as well.