A smart guide for understanding the consequences of soft drinks

Regularly consumption of soft drinks and fruity drinks can be incredibly harmful to children and adults. Read more to find out the harmful health consequences associated with these drinks, and some simple alternatives you might want to try.

A smart guide for understanding the consequences of soft drinks

The harmful ingredients

Soft drinks consist mostly of carbonated water mixed with sugar or an artificial sweetener, plus various patented natural or artificial flavourings, and colouring agents. Many of them also contain caffeine.

  • Apart from a quick energy boost from the caffeine or sugar, most soft drinks and soda pop offer little or no nutritional value.
  • A 240 millilitre (eight ounce) cola contains about 100 calories; a diet soft drink, because it is artificially sweetened, is less than 10 calories, although it may have caffeine.

Health implications

  • An occasional soft drink is fine, but drinking them regularly contributes empty calories that can add to weight problems.
  • These drinks are also bad for the teeth. Their sugar encourages the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, and many contain acids that can erode tooth enamel.
  • Consumers should read labels carefully to determine what's actu­ally in various soft drinks and mineral waters. Colas for example, contain large amounts of phosphates, which may impair calcium absorption.
  • A greater concern is that soft drinks cause a decrease in calcium intake by displacing milk from the diet. Children and adolescents who drink soft drinks instead of milk are missing the calcium critical to the growth of their bones.
  • Some soft drinks and mineral waters may contain high levels of sodium.
  • Also consider that when a 27 kilogram (60 pound) child drinks a 355 millilitre (12 ounce) cola ­containing 50 milligrams of caffeine, he's getting the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee in a 80 kilogram (175 pound) man.
  • A child who is restless or sleepless may be experiencing the effects of too much of a soft drink.
  • In adults, excessive caffeine may raise blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeats.

Be careful of fruity drinks!

Don't be misled by fruit-flavoured drinks. On close reading, labels will disclose that non­carbonated fruit drinks often contain less than 10 percent fruit juice while harbouring large amounts of sweeteners and dyes.

  • Soft drinks and fruity drinks need not be harmful if consumed in moderation. The danger is that if taken regularly in large amounts, they may satisfy hunger and take the place of essential nutrients in the diet.
  • Children who fill up on sugary drinks shortly before and during meals may spoil their appetites for more healthful and nutritious foods.

Healthier options you've got to try

You can make refreshing and economical drinks at home by mixing sodium-free seltzer or fruit-flavoured sparkling waters with fruit juice, a mixture of chopped fresh fruit or any of the wide variety of fruit nectars and syrups now sold in food stores and supermarkets.

A connection between soft drinks and fast food

One reason that soft drinks are linked to obesity may be because they are often consumed with fast foods that are loaded with fat.

  • The sugar in the soft drink activates the pancreas to produce insulin, but insulin also tells the body to store fat. So, as the pancreas is feeling the effects of the soft drink, the hamburger and fries arrive, and since the body has more insulin than it needs for the meal, it stores the fat instead of burning it.

The shocking obesity link 

A recent U.S. study suggests that a soft drink a day gives a child a 60 percent greater chance of becoming obese.

  • The study followed 548 children aged 11 and 12 for two school years. The researchers found that for every can or glass of sugar-sweetened beverage a child drank during that time, their body mass index inched up; overall, their chances of becoming obese increased 60 percent.
  • This held true regardless of initial body mass, diet, television viewing habits and physical activity.

Keep this guide in mind and limit your intake of soft drinks and fruity drinks for immediate results.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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