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*
Back to sugary drinks…..
Fizzy drink addiction is real
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
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
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
I am looking forward to speaking with you.
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Reference: British Medical Journal: www.bmj.com/content/318/7190/1023.ful#ref-17