A Nutritionist’s Take on Drinking Soft Drinks
It’s a hot summery day and nothing beats the heat than consuming a tall glass of soft soda drink to quench your thirst right? Well, all I can say as a Dietician and Nutritionist is apart from the occasional treat. ‘Don’t Drink It’! Since the 90’s ever since the two major soft drink companies Pepsi and Coke started hiring celebrities and embarked on major advertising campaigns, soft drink consumption in India has doubled for females and tripled for females. The highest consumption of soft drinks is for males between the ages of 12 – 30.
This huge increase in soft drink consumption is a direct consequence of the enormous profits that soft drink companies make. Coke has been consistently raising their goals year on year by 25%! To meet those goals, they have increased he size of the drinks from small glass bottles to large family-size PET containers. Fast food Restaurants and Pizza chains are also to blame by offering cheap deals along with their meals. The US ranks first in the world for soft drink consumption. Though India’s per capita consumption is low thanks to our large population, soft drink consumption is growing by leaps and bounds.
Let us examine the dangers of soft drink addiction and the long term harm and damage that they can cause to one’s health especially if they are consumed by children and teenagers who form the largest market for the cola and bottled beverage companies. The most commonly associated health risks are obesity, nutritional deficiencies, tooth decay, diabetes, osteoporosis and bone fractures, heart disease, food addictions, blood sugar disorders and other eating disorders, neurotransmitter dysfunction from chemical sweeteners and neurological and adrenal disorders from excessive caffeine.
Please consider the below facts the next time you reach out for a can of Pepsi, Coke or 7Up or let your kids drink it:
- If you have been trying hard and not been able to lose weight then the soft drinks may be the culprit. Researchers calculate that for every soft drink that you have, your risk for obesity increases 1. 6 times.
- Drinking too much soft drinks can increase your risks for osteoporosis. Carbonated drinks are high in phosphates and contain zero calcium which leads to low calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in the blood.
- One can of Coke has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Look at it this way. If you were caught putting 10 sugars in a cup of water by your friends or family, wouldn’t they think you’ve gone mad! Think about this the next time you decide to go for a can of Coke or Pepsi.
- Consumption of high fructose corn syrup sweetened drinks is the number 1. cause of obesity among children.
- Diet Sodas that claim to be low in calories are high on sodium. Excess salt in your diet causes more calcium to be excreted in your urine and increases the risks of osteoporosis.
- Hyperactive children who have been diagnosed with ADHD may be actually suffering from nutritional deficiencies that can be easily corrected through dietary changes.
- Soft drinks are the no. 1 source of caffeine in the diets of children. A can of cola contains about 45 mg of caffeine but the amounts of caffeine in say Red Bull can exceed 100 mg – levels that are usually found in strong doses of espresso shots!
- Teenagers who consume excessive amounts of soft drinks have a 3 – 4 times higher risk of bone fractures than those who do not drink.
- Sugar and acid in soft drinks can easily dissolve tooth enamel.
- People who consume excessive amounts of soft drinks and other carbonated and fizzy beverages are harming themselves and putting themselves at risk for osteoporosis.
- Heavy soft drink consumption can interfere with your body’s metabolization of iron and diminish nerve impulse transmission.
- Cola drinks can interact adversely with antacids and cause constipation, loss of calcium, hypertension, nausea, headaches, and kidney damage.
- Drinking more than one carbonated beverage per day can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
A Nutritionist’s Advice
As a concerned Nutritionist, I always recommend to my clients that we must take control of our health by decreasing our consumption of junk food and carbonated drinks. Always drink 6 – 8 glasses of water every day for proper hydration. Hydration helps your internal organs to function well and helps to remove wastes and toxins from your body. Drinking plenty of water will also keep your skin elastic and supple and keep you looking younger for longer. Always remember that water is nature’s best and only way of quenching your thirst and keeping you in the pink of heath!
Came upon this wonderful recipe for ‘Sweet potato coconut oat cookies’ by Deryn – a runner and heath food blogger and who shares great vegan recipes. I love her recipes and if you are vegetarian you will too. Here’s the recipe for her Coconut Oat Cookies – http://runningonrealfood.com/sweet-potato-coconut-oat-cookies/