When it’s this hot, there aren’t many things more satisfying than cracking open a cool can of soda. They might be full of nasty ingredients slowly poisoning us, but there are occasions when a big gulp of something sugary and cold is the only thing that can hit the spot. Say what you like about soft drinks, they are undeniably yummy.
Despite their status as the ultimate in indulgent refreshment, there is a surprising dark side to the world of canned soda. This goes beyond weird chemicals and mountains of sugar. It turns out that there are a load of unsavoury reasons that drinking directly from an aluminium can is actually a terrible idea. It might look shiny and inviting, but there could well be a disaster waiting to happen. Here are a few reasons why you should never drink soda straight from the can.
1. Ruining the taste
It might not be the most serious reason for avoiding a can, but there is strong evidence that aluminium can have an adverse effect on the flavour of your drink. Microscopic holes in the protective lacquer that coats the inside of a can can slightly alter the drinks flavour, giving it a metallic edge. Our tongues are also particularly sensitive to metal, which is why this flavour can feel enhanced. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy a metallic tang would be advised to drink out of glass.
Though the vast majority of drinks cans are perfectly safe, there are risks of contamination inherent in anything that passes through multiple hands before it gets to you. This point was proven in 2017 by TV show “The Doctors”. Taking a selection of sample cans from gas stations, vending machines and grocery stores, the team conducted a series of tests to establish what, if anything, might be lurking around the rim. The results were alarming. Despite most coming back clean, several were found to be infected with E-coli, which can cause diarrhea, respiratory difficulties and pneumonia.
A common ingredient in plastic bottles, Bisphenol A (or, BPA) is one of the most potentially dangerous things about a soft drink. Though many manufacturers tried to phase it out after it was found to cause hormone imbalances, the compound is still a key component in aluminium cans. A study from the American Heart Association in 2014 revealed that BPA leaching from cans could be responsible for increased blood pressure and heart disease, suggesting that it’s usage in our food could well warrant a closer look.
4. Rodent Infection
Anything that spends any time exposed on a shop floor or in a factory runs the risk of coming into contact with rats. Usually, food is sufficiently protected by packaging to ensure that no damage is done. But with cans, it’s a different story. Though internet legends of catching deathly leptospirosis from rat urine have been greatly over exaggerated over the years, drinking anything that may have been exposed to rodent activity without washing it first is obviously not a great idea.
5. General Nastiness
Think about the journey of an aluminium can before in makes it to your mouth. Created in a factory, filled with liquid, sealed, passed from hand to hand before sitting on a shelf until eventually being bought by an unsuspecting customer. Who knows what it has picked up before you decide to wrap your lips around it? To prove this point, a TV station in Texas decided to randomly test a few cans in 2013. Among other things, they found evidence of stenotrophomonas maltophilia, pseudomonas luteola, and enterobacter cloacae infection, all of which can cause illness.
Obviously, in most cases you have nothing to fear from your soda. Many of the bugs that could do damage can be washed away with a quick rinse under the tap. Nonetheless, it pays to be aware of the risks involved with canned drinks.