Regular drinkers of soft drinks may have a tendency toward weak and brittle bones, according to a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bones depend on calcium, and earlier studies have suggested that phosphoric acid - a common component of carbonated drinks - may interfere with the body's ability to break down and use calcium.Researcher Grace Wyshak, writing in a recent issue of the journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine, suggested the link between soft drinks and brittle bones also may relate to the fact that in the American diet, sodas outdistance milk, which is rich in calcium.

Consumption of carbonated drinks has risen 300 percent in the past three decades, Wyshak wrote, while milk consumption has plummeted.

Those who were regular soda drinkers were twice as likely to have suffered bone fractures as those who rarely downed a soft drink.