Summer’s here and the weather’s gradually getting warmer. Maybe you’re swopping hot drinks for something cold and fizzy – but beware – those fizzy drinks can play havoc with your metabolism, teeth and bone health, due to their sugar content and acidity.
We all know that fizzy drinks are sugary, but do you know how much sugar is in your refreshing chilled drink? A 12oz can of coke contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of liquid sugar, which is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. This can alter your metabolism, leading to cravings and weight gain, not to mention an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and inflammation. On top of all this, it can weaken and erode your teeth, making fillings more likely.
But before you reach for the diet coke, read on! Substances like Splenda and aspartame may have zero calories, but your body isn’t fooled. When it gets a “sweet” taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn’t occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that may actually lead to weight gain. Professor Helen Hazuda, sums it up by telling us fizzy drinks “… may be free of calories but not of consequences.”
Various studies have been undertaken that suggest that waist size in “diet drinkers” increases between 70 – 500% more than in non diet drinkers. Also that obesity risk increases by 41% for each can of diet drink you consume in a day.
But it’s not just your weight and metabolism that’s affected by fizzy drinks. They also contain Phosphoric acid, which is added for its tangy flavor. It’s not normally found in the food chain, but when ingested, it causes your blood acidity to increase. To adjust the blood’s pH and bring this acidity down, the body draws calcium out of bones and into the bloodstream. Over time, this can weaken your bones, increasing your risk of fracture and osteoporosis in later life. Fizzy drinks have an even worse effect on children who are still growing. If they drink too many fizzy drinks, their bones will never reach their full density. Grace Wyshak, Ph.D., from the Harvard Medical School, found that girls who drank carbonated drinks had approximately three times the risk of bone fracture than the group that didn’t.
Acids in fizzy drinks can also worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcers. Phosphoric acid from these drinks is in fact an “anti-nutrient”, as it affects the hydrochloric acid in your stomach and destroys your body’s capacity to absorb essential elements like iron, calcium and magnesium.
So if you want to lose weight, keep your bright smile and lower your risk of fractures, stay away from carbonated drinks!
By Sophie Driver, Nutritional Therapist