Sugary Drinks – what you need to know

Adele Stickland Adele Stickland

How unhealthy can flavoured drinks be?  How much sugar do sugary, fizzy drinks actually contain? This blog will explore the dangers of sugary drinks but not just sugary drinks also flavoured water, cordials and energy drinks. It is not just the sugar content that you need to watch out for it is also the hidden ingredients that will affect your body. Make your drink choice when you know what you are drinking and the effect it will have on your long-term and immediate health implications


The recent BBC television programme ‘Eat Well for Less’ explored the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks and compared them to an equivalent food source.* Their analysis of some of the most popular drinks was surprising to the presenters and of course the audience.

Bearing in mind your recommended daily allowance of sugar is 30 grams, and that there are 4 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon you can quickly see that energy drinks have over double that amount of your daily allowance of sugar.

Bear in mind if you are pepping Johnny or Fiona up for their athletic event, big rugby or netball match or swimming gala be aware of what you are actually giving them.


Here are some simple drink and food comparisons, measured by their sugar content

Grams of sugar    Teaspoons of sugar      Food                                                             Drink equivalent

69 grams               17.25                               Chocolate cake with cream                      Energy drink

23 grams               5.75                                 2 x Pâtisseries                                             Fruit flavoured water

22 grams              5.5                                    3 Fairy cakes                                               Elderflower cordial drink

20 grams               5                                      7 Digestive biscuits                                    Hi Juice Cordial squash

0.5 grams             –                                       Broccoli floret                                              Red wine

Before you get carried away and replace your coke with red wine, take a moment to consider that red wine’s alcohol content ranges from 8% to up to 18%.  Plus alcohol will stimulate your hunger and your body won’t break down fat when alcohol is in your body.

Your liver is the main organ that breaks down alcohol and fat. Alcohol takes precedence over fat. This means that it’s always going to be alcohol that your liver breaks down first. The alcohol toxin takes priority for your body, everything else your body needs to do goes on a back seat whilst your body tackles the alcohol.  That is why you are exhausted after a wee dram/bender the night before.

PLUS grape seeds in the red wine contains lectins which are a type of protein found in foods like nightshade vegetables,  soybeans and dairy.  Lectin proteins are difficult to break down because they can withstand digestive enzymes and stomach acid.

These lectin proteins can attach to and seep out from your stomach lining, past your gut wall and even deposit themselves on your organs like the kidneys, thyroid, and even the brain*


Don’t miss: Why you should drink more water    Find out how you can increase your daily water intake and push out your bad habits, easily and safely, join my 7-day water challenge

Back to sugary drinks…..

Fizzy drink addiction is real

The bigger issue with fizzy and sugary drinks is their addiction

The bigger issue with fizzy and sugary drinks is their addiction

When you have a sugary drink, there is an instant sugar rush that you perceive as an energy boost. But, as the simple sugars like sucrose and glucose in these drinks are quickly used up by the body, your boost is followed by a drop in energy, which leads you to think that their effect has worn off and you need another. There is a psychological addiction brought on by your perceived need.

Sugar is addictive

Sugar itself is addictive.  Brain scans have shown that sugar stimulates the same part of the brain has highly addictive drugs. Research has shown that rats given high doses of sugar in their diets displayed changes in the brain similar to those produced by cocaine, morphine and nicotine.


Don’t miss: how and why you should reduce your sugar

Caffeine in your sugary drink is addictive

Fizzy drinks such as cola are also high in caffeine – each can contain around 34.5mg, the equivalent of half a cup of instant coffee. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, insomnia and fatigue, even within just a few days.

Sugary drinks nasty ingredients

Sugary, fizzy drinks often contain phosphoric acid, the ingredient that gives them their appealing tangy taste and ‘tingle’. In large amounts, this can affect your skin and muscles, and even damage the heart and kidneys over time,

“The body’s phosphorous balance influences the ageing process”Dr Razzaque Harvard University

The phosphorous released from phosphoric acid in just two fizzy drinks a week can cause calcium to be leached from bones, with cola being particularly damaging.

Researchers at Tufts University in Boston showed women who regularly drank three or more cans a day had four per cent lower bone mineral density in their hips compared to those who preferred other soft fizzy drinks or squash.

Food dyes are a common ingredient in sugary drinks as well.  Several studies have linked food dyes to hyperactive behaviour in children, asthma and other allergies, insomnia, thyroid tumours, chromosomal damage and cancer


Sugary drinks affect the health of your teeth

Sugary drinks are ‘the biggest factor’ in causing tooth erosion in children, according to a report in the British Dental Journal.

“Although fizzy drinks taste sweet, the phosphoric acid they contain lowers their PH level, which makes them acidic” British Dental Journal

Empty calories

Your brain fail to recognise the calories from the sugar in liquids, and so your brain sends signals that you are still hungry

Zero sugar drinks are they any better?

NOPE! Your body is stimulated by the sugary taste, your body is expecting a sugar rush even if it doesn’t get it.  Your amazing body sends out the same sugar busting hormone insulin to counter the effect, and then the insulin has nowhere to go… so it sits on your belly as fat and you haven’t even touched a sugary drink! How unfair is that?

Artificial sweeteners provide a sweet taste many times sweeter-tasting than sugar which does not match up with the energy (or calories) the food provides. The sweet taste triggers a greater response than a drink with higher calories and therefore your craving is increased.  When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward centre. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested

PLUS sugar is pulled out of the drinks and chemical cocktails are added in, namely aspartame which is known as NutraSweet.

Aspartame has no nutritional substance, your body only recognises it as a chemical and is related (although not proved) to health effects ranging from mild problems such as headache, dizziness, digestive symptoms, and changes in mood, to more serious health issues such as Alzheimer disease, diabetes,  attention deficit disorders, Parkinson disease

The choice is yours

Do you want to consume your calories via a fizzy drink?  It is a choice, your choice.

Find out how you can increase your daily water intake  and push out your bad habits easily and safely, join my 7-day water challenge 

The phosphorous released from phosphoric acid in just two fizzy drinks a week can cause calcium to be leached from bones, cola being particularly damaging. Join my 7-day water challenge

If you would like some help finding your inner mojo and want to talk over your health issues and what you want to do about some of your existing bad habits, I would be delighted to support your transformation Book sometime out for yourself click here

Here is a quick video I put together for those who are joining me to chat, it explains exactly what you and I will chat about

let’s chat

I am looking forward to speaking with you.

Get Gorgeous is a journey together – yours and mine.

Find out what other gorgeous girls have to say…

What was your health like before you joined Get Gorgeous?

“I’d noticed that I was getting a lot of colds. I’m also an academic so being in a school type environment so I was getting a lot of colds, but also I was feeling rather lethargic.

From a nutrition point of view, I felt that I wasn’t putting the right things in my body but I didn’t know what the alternatives should be or could be in order to just feel that physically, feel more improved physically.

What have you tried or done in the past to improve your health?

“When I was a lot younger, it was easy just to cut certain foods out, you know, because predominantly, it is a weight thing for me but actually it’s not.  I appreciate now that my weight is the outcome of what it was that I was putting into my body

I’ve tried typical other diets which worked for two to three weeks and then as soon as I eat normally, as I would call it, it all comes flooding back.

Rachel explains:

“I don’t want to feel deprived”

I like food and I’m the sort of person if you tell me I can’t have something then I want it all the more so I don’t want to be deprived and obviously what had happened is that you know, ‘

“I am active and I don’t want to feel hungry”

I have a dog and I’m quite active, but my body’s got used to that, so in order for me to change anything about me physically, there needed to be the combination of different food choices and moving more.

So whereas previously it was just a case of just not eating as much, and not changing anything on the movement side, and I think for a long time, actually, I was eating the wrong things and also not enough. My body was feeling constantly starved. – Yes. – But I’d be thinking, “I’m very hungry, “therefore I must be losing weight,” and then being disappointed. When actually, the scales were going the opposite way and I was confused, you know, because historically, put less in, the weight dropped off but that’s because my makeup was different then. I was a lot younger,

I realized when I hit my 40s that actually I needed some additional help with that because my old-fashioned habits weren’t working anymore and I think that’s been it, and as a result, I know when I’ve not drunk enough water now because I’m thirsty, and I know what thirsty means and I know what hungry means in my body”

“Now I feel more confident, proactive about managing my business because I am mindful of looking after myself”

“I feel more confident, more proactive about managing my business because I feel well, content and more mindful of looking after myself.   Looking after myself which is in harmony with my business not in lieu of anything that I should be doing, as a businesswoman. I am not starving myself”
I know that I live a million miles an hour that because of my work so I wanted something that would be naturally absorbed into my day to day life. I’ve tried other things before and I have to change my way of doing things too much, it didn’t fit, Get Gorgeous fits my lifestyle”

Rachel @askthechameleon askthechameleon Get Gorgeous 19th July 2018




Reference: British Medical Journal:



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2 responses to “Sugary Drinks – what you need to know”

  1. […] That is not even going far enough when it comes to sugary drinks, that have absolutely no place in a healthy diet, and that includes fizzy Elderflower cordial. Don’t miss:  Fizzy drinks what you need to know […]

  2. […] you stick to the outside of the supermarket.  You will notice that all the aisle of fizzy drinks – which will kill you! are in the centre of the shop. Stick to the outside and have a quick smash and […]

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