Although it is considered an American drink, modern soda originated in England during the early 1800s; it was originally used in the field of medicine, but its sweet taste caught the public's attention, and 50 soda manufacturers existed in the United States by the 1840s. Soda is a beverage with carbonated water, a sweetener and natural or artificial flavors. Soda draws criticism from health experts for its negative health effects, with soda being the largest source of added sugars in Americans' diets, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Soda goes by many names, including pop, lolly water, carbonated beverage and coke. It is considered a soft drink; the lack of alcohol distinguishes it from hard drinks, but it is a popular ingredient for mixed drinks.
U.S. soda sales reached nearly nine billion cases in 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report. Health officials now link soda consumption to premature aging, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and tooth decay. However, this same soft drink was once considered a healthy indulgence; in the early 1800s, chemists in England encouraged the consumption of carbonated water with added flavors. Backed by studies showing soda's harmful effects, American legislators enacted bills to curb sales of soda in schools. Soda taxes and limits on the size of soda bottles are other regulatory measures some areas have taken to reduce consumption.