Fizzy drinks linked to health problems

Think before you drink

Fizzy drinks have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease
fizzy drink.jpg

Fizzy drinks as well as other beverages that have been sweetened with sugar or sugar alternatives, have been closely linked to increased obesity and growing health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to numerous latest studies, even one can of fizzy drink per day could significantly increase men's risk of coronary heart disease. One of these studies published earlier this year stated that men who drank the most fizzy drinks "had a 20% higher relative risk of coronary heart disease."

Even men who are young, exercise regularly, don't smoke or drink, who have a normal body mass index and have no family history of heart disease, could still be at risk of heart attack if they frequently consume fizzy drinks.

Says Dr David Ludwig of Children's Hospital Boston, "Sugar in all its forms may be the single most important dietary cause of obesity and heart disease". Having naturally sweetened alternatives instead of sugar-loaded fizzy drinks could greatly reduce your risk of these conditions.

Artificially sweetened drinks not a healthy alternative

Contrary to common perception, artificially sweetened drinks can cause the same conditions as regular drinks. Various studies have confirmed that these sweeteners – such as aspartame and saccharin – can increase one's risk of stroke, heart attack, peripheral artery disease and aneurysm (which could be fatal).

A person who consumes two artificially sweetened drinks per day will gain 500% more in the waistline than someone who drinks pure, clean water. This is because fatty tissue cells have a receptor for sweetness. So although artificial sweeteners do not contain calories, they could cause weight gain by stimulating the development of new fat cells, according to research.

Furthermore, sweet foods are naturally full of calories, so one's body prepares metabolically to burn these calories. But when sweetness is present without calories, one's metabolism slows down significantly. The body is 'tricked' into eating more, and more calories are stored as fat because metabolism is slowed. Storing fat can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even arthritis.

Dr Ludwig says artificial sweeteners should be used "only as a transitional aid to wean people off sugary beverages".

Sugar substitutes are best

A sugar substitute such as Xylitol and Stevia is an artificial food additive that mimics the taste of sugar, but which has less actual nutritional value.

Stevia is much sweeter than sugar and has no harmful side effects as artificial sweeteners do. It can be used safely in the management of type-2 diabetes.


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