Many of you will already be aware that carbonated, or fizzy drinks such as coke, sprite, pepsi and fanta are not good for you. However, for the mos part we have completely ignored this fact and continued with our bad habits. Focusing instead on food rather than the fluids in our diet. However in this article I hope to remind and demonstrate to you, just why we should not ignore the warnings around ‘fizzy’ drinks.
For starters let me just clarify that it is not just the full sugar versions of these drinks that are not good for your health, but this discussion also includes the ‘diet’ and ‘zero’ versions as well. But I will do my best to draw your attention to this area later on in the article.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Carbonated drinks of all kinds have been linked to increased risk of developing diabetes. With people consuming 1 drink every day experiencing an increased risk of developing this disease when compare to those who consumed less than 1 a month on average (more than double the risk). This already is a startling fact to consider, especially when you understand just what a serious condition diabetes is an the fact that type 2 is entirely avoidable as long as you live a healthy lifestyle. The above comes from the Nurses Health Study and came after following the health of more than 90,000 women for eight years. A similar result was also seen in a study performed by a group of scientists including JR Palmer (et al.) and after following the lives of more than 60,000 Black women in America. With results showing not only another startling rise in the prevalence of diabetes in those women consuming 1 or more fizzy drinks daily, but also it had a direct impact on their body mass index, with all women who consumed 1 or more fizzy drinks daily having an increased BMI above normal healthy levels (24.9).
Coronary Heart Disease:
The Nurses health study also found that of the 90,000 women those who consumed 1 fizzy drink or more daily were 40% more likely to suffer a heart attack or develop coronary heart disease symptoms when compared to those who rarely consumed fizzy drinks. A similar study conducted by Dr. Koning (et.al) found that in the 40,000 men studied, those that consumed 1 or more fizzy drink per day were 20% more likely to suffer from CHD related illnesses than those who drank less than 1 a week. This 20% increase came after accounting for all other possible causes including increased BMI, smoking, high alcohol consumption, age, family history of CHD and their physical activity levels. Similarly they found that in the 40,000 men studied, 3,683 men suffered from heart attacks or serious CHD related diseases within the 22 year follow up of the study.
When it comes to bone health multiple studies have shown that fizzy drinks of all types can increase the risk of developing bone deficiencies. This is because most fizzy drinks contain higher levels of phosphate and this has an inverse relationship with bone health. When levels of phosphorus are too high the body will draw calcium from the bones to bind with the phosphate and this leaching of calcium from the bones leads to increased risk of developing rickets, osteoporosis and other bone related diseases. This problem is even more exaggerated in the presence of a diet low in calcium.
Micro-biome health (gut health):
The artificial sweeteners and chemicals added to soft drinks can have a serious impact on the health of our gut and more specifically the micro-biome of organisms living there. These bacteria are vital for healthy metabolism, digestion and absorption of foods but when they are not in good balance or are being killed or starved from a poor diet then this can pose a serious health risk. Studies are emerging to show that people who regularly consume artificial sweeteners are more likely to develop a high BMI, increased fasting blood sugar level ( a precursor to type 2 diabetes) and one study in particular from the University of Texas’ Health science centre showed that people who consumed 1 or more fizzy drinks per day added 3 inches to their waist line over a 10 year period.
All of this can be linked back to the damage done to the gut bacteria. The increased number of artificial sweeteners and chemicals leads to a type of cull of multiple strains of health beneficial bacteria and this gives rise to metabolic damage and a poor diversity developing with the gut micro biotia. As a result your body begins to absorb and process foods differently and over time this leads to long term health risks including all of the above mentioned conditions.
The vitamin and mineral drain:
Are you aware of the fact that your body actually stores vitamins and minerals? Some are obvious such as calcium in the bones and iron in your blood, but what about vitamins A, D, E and K which you store in your fat reserves, or the minerals such as potassium you store in your bones. All of these stored minerals are needed for a healthy life. However artificial foods and non-natural sugars are often referred to as leaching or debt foods as they contain no vitamins or minerals themselves and so must leach them from your own stores in order to be absorbed or metabolized in the body, leaving your body in a debt like state for those certain minerals. Over time the lack of abundance of these vitamins and minerals can lead to a wide range of health risks including under active thyroids, osteoporosis, jaundice and inability to clot the blood or increase risk of hemorrhaging.
Zero or Diet:
Lets bring the discussion back to the ‘diet’ or ‘zero’ products. From reading the above statements it should already be clear to you where the dangers lie but if you need more prompting then consider this. Although coke zero has zero calories it is not free from phosphate, or artificial sweeteners. If it was totally free of all chemicals then it would be water… As you already know from reading the above info, not only can the phosphate lead to serious bone health issues, but it along with the other chemicals in these products can wreak havoc on your gut bacteria and lead to a rise in diabetes, CHD related illnesses and even cause a drain on your vitamin and mineral supply.
In conclusion despite what the adverts may suggest the Diey or Zero froms of these drinks are no better for you than drinking the full or original versions. If you have any form of compassion for your body or are in any way health conscious then let this be the final alarm bell that wakes you up to the fact that these drinks have to right to be in the market place and you have absolutely no place for them in your diet or lifestyle. Instead focus on drinking water, or if you need something sweet, go for a homemade smoothie, filled with all the fibre, water, vitamins and natural sugars your body needs.
Research for you to check out:
- Palmer study of 60,000 Black american women – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18663160
- Nurses health study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19211821
- Koning Study for CHD – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22412070
- Phosphate and Bone health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461213/