The Bitter Truth About Sugary Drinks
- 3 Mins read
- Diet and Healthy Food
- Jillian Lai Mei Siew
Nothing sounds as good as a cold drink on a hot day. But many of these drinks come packed with sugar and unhealthy ingredients. Diets that are high in sugar and calories cause weight-gain that result in multiple long-term complications to your health.
What really happens when you consume too much sugar?
Sugary drinks contain excessive amounts of fructose. Overconsumption of fructose puts stress on the liver which turns the fructose into fat. Some of this fat re-enters your bloodstream as triglycerides, while parts of it remain in your liver and contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Watch out for sweeteners like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFSC) which causes metabolic syndrome, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease, that are devastating for your health.
Low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) and artificial sweeteners that are shown to contain few to no calories have a higher intensity of sweetness per gram than sweeteners with calories. However, frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners may change the way other foods taste, making less intensely sweet foods such as fruits less appealing and unsweet foods like vegetables almost unpalatable.
Moreover, beverages containing LCS sometimes carry the label “sugar-free” or “diet.” Although diet sodas have no calories, sugar, or fat, it has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease in several studies.
1. It leads to unhealthy calorie consumption.
Sugary drinks don’t generally provide us with any nutrition – just calories. People with a healthy weight assume they don’t need to worry about their sugar intake, but that is far from the truth. When you consume too much sugar in your food and drinks, you’re consuming calories that could have been consumed through the right balance of other nutritious food groups.
Consuming too much sugar in your diet is unnecessary and either increase your overall calorie consumption or reduce your intake of more nutritious foods.
2. It contains more sugar than you’d expect.
A 12-ounce glass of soda can have up to 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Even fruit juices like 100% fruit juices also contain high levels of natural sugar.
While juice often contains healthful nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, it should also be limited as it contains just as much sugar (though from naturally occurring fruit sugars) and calories as soft drinks.
3. Watch out for caffeine and other ingredients.
Most soft drinks and energy drinks contain high levels of sugar and enough caffeine to raise your blood pressure and lead to long-term health problems.
Although designed to give athletes carbohydrates, electrolytes, and fluid during high-intensity workouts that last one hour or more, for everyone else they’re just another source of calories and sugar.
4. There are long-term side effects.
When you drink sugar-sweetened beverages frequently, you run the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout. Furthermore, higher consumption of sugary beverages has been linked with an increased risk of premature death.
5. There’s no nutritional upside.
Studies suggest that a sugary beverage won’t leave you feeling full or hydrated. When you consume a sugary drink, you continue to consume the same calories from solid food without compensating for the high caloric content of these beverages by eating less food.
The average can of soda has about 150 calories, almost all of them from added sugar. When it comes to our health, it’s clear that sugary drinks should be avoided. There is a range of healthier beverages that can be consumed instead, with water being the top option.
But no fizzy drink is worth the risk, especially when there are delicious and healthy options for you to try out. Here are a few options you can try out when you want to drink to good health.