Damaging sweet drinks

Today we continue our look at the ill effects of consuming sweet drinks.

Sadly, there is little point shifting from sugary soft drinks to “healthy alternatives” such as fizzy real-fruit lemonades or fruit-juice drinks, said Biological scientist Dr Hans-Peter Kubis, who, as we pointed out last week, led a study into what soft drinks do to our bodies, came up with some shocking discoveries. Kubis, because the liquid sugar problem still remains.

“Posh soft drinks with real fruit might be marketed as healthy, but this may be rather cynical, as such drinks can be just as dangerous,” he explained, adding that some fruit drinks contain more sugar than a soft drink.

Even when it comes to “healthy” sports drinks, the evidence is that they are not only a waste of money, because you do not need them, but they could also be harmful.

An investigation by the universities of Oxford and Harvard warned that popular brands such as Lucozade and PowerAde contain large amounts of sugar and calories which encourage weight gain, the British Medical Journal reported last month.

On top of all this is the damage soft drinks can wreak on teeth. A study in the journal General Dentistry in June found that cola is ten times as corrosive as fruit juice in the first three minutes of drinking.

One of the chief culprits is citric acid, which gives tangy drinks their kick. A study in the British Dental Journal found four cans of carbonated drink a day increased the risk of tooth erosion by 252 per cent.

Kathleen Sebelius, the former Governor of Kansas, who campaigns on behalf of the American Cancer Society, declared: “An unbiased and comprehensive report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages could‚ .‚.‚. ‚perhaps begin to change the direction of public behaviour in their choices of food and drinks.”

Legislators are already starting to act. In Barbados, our Minister of Health “banned” soft drinks from certain areas of our hospital. In May, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced a ban on serving cartons bigger than 16oz (a pint).

Last year, the Hungarian government imposed a tax on unhealthy drinks and foods. (Another way to raise government income — hint, hint) And, earlier this year, France imposed a tax on sugary soft drinks after a study found that more than 20 million of its citizens are overweight.

Obviously all of these findings will not be accepted by the drink manufacturers, and some have questioned the size of the survey, stating, that the study did not have enough participants to be conclusive. Common sense though will suggest that there may be something to this though.

Children acquire tastes, so if you are concerned about any possible effects that soft drinks may have on their health, start them on water or sugar free juices. Involve your children in the process by letting them know that soft drinks are not an option for them and that they can tell their grandparents , aunties and friends “No!”, when asked”: “You want a soft drink?”

Now I love a cold Coke, sorry and I may be addicted, I do not know, I just love the taste. Where do I go from here — another Coke… Sorry!

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