According to a recent study in the American College of Rheumatology, soda intake may speed up progression of knee osteoarthritis. This may seem like no surprise; increased sugar from soda leading to weight gain, leading to arthritis. However, after controlling for weight the study revealed that the soda sped the progression most significantly in the group with the lowest body mass index! There is no real reason to assume these finding are limited to the knee. So here is the take away: if you want to preserve the cartilage in your joints, swap the soft drinks for water!
Supplements such as glucosamine may also be helpful in maintaining normal cartilage thickness. Designs for Health also makes a great product, Arthrosoothe Supreme, that gets lots of positive patient feedback.
American College of Rheumatology (ACR) (2012, November 10). Weekly soft drink consumption bubbles up knee osteoarthritis; especially in men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111153527.htm