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Fizzy drinks – the sweet poison

Fizzy drinks can lead to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

In 2015, scientists issued a warning over fizzy drinks, claiming that they cause a death toll of 184,000 adults every year.

Everyone knows that fizzy, sweet drinks are not really such a good thing, but people keep drinking them and letting their children drink them.

But now we have a “number” that explains it well. The number is “2”. A study found that two or more fizzy drinks a day could raise the risk of heart failure by 23%. The study did not include natural fruit juice and sugary tea and coffee.

Full of sugar, chemicals and (usually) with zero nutritional value, fizzy drinks are something that we have been warned against on countless occasions, even if they do look appealing when the sun comes out.

And it is not just the ‘full-fat’ versions, as diet fizzy drinks can also have extremely harmful effects.

It must not be forgotten that people who drink a lot of sweetened drinks often have a poor diet overall, which is more of a determinant of ill health than any one component.

Soda tax, sugar tax or soft drink tax

Several countries have decided to introduce a specific tax designed to reduce overall sugar consumption, the growing economic costs of obesity and also to discourage the production, importation and purchase of carbonated, sports and energy drinks, with excess levels of added sugar. It is easy to imagine that it is probably a lost war. Fighting the fizzy drinks’ businesses is not an easy job as they are powerful and not simple to deal with.

Researchers at Oxford University calculate that a 20% tax on soft drinks would reduce obesity in Britain by 1%, roughly 400,000 cases across Britain.

Cancer? Really?

There have been many studies that have looked at the links between various types of cancer and fizzy drink consumption. They suggest:

▪ Drinking just two sugary soft drinks a week increases the amount of insulin that the pancreas produces and can double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
▪ Drinking just one fizzy drink a day could increase the chance of developing prostate cancer by around 40%.
▪ Drinking just one-and-a-half cans a day causes early puberty and can increase breast cancer risk due to an increase of about 3% in breast density.
▪ Some chemicals that are used to colour soft drinks can cause cancer.

Interesting statistics!

▪ People who consume sugary drinks regularly, one to two cans a day or more, have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
▪ A study that followed 40,000 men for two decades found that those who averaged one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks. A related study in women found a similar sugary beverage/heart disease link.
▪ According to scientists, sugary drinks can cause weight gain and long-term health problems if drunk regularly for as little as a month.

Teeth should not be forgotten

A study in the journal General Dentistry, found that cola is 10 times as corrosive as fruit juice in the first three minutes of drinking. The researchers took slices of freshly extracted teeth and immersed them in 20 soft drinks. Teeth dunked for 48 hours in cola lost more than 5% of their weight. Another study found that drinking four cans of fizzy drinks a day increased the risk of tooth erosion by 252%.

What more bad things can fizzy drinks do?

Besides all the bad things enumerated above, a study from 2009 strongly suggests that drinking just two cans per day could lead to liver damage.

Another study carried out on teenagers found a link between drinking fizzy drinks, violence and the likelihood of them carrying a weapon. The researchers found that even teenagers who drank just two cans a week were more aggressive towards their friends and those who drank five or more cans a week were also more likely to have drunk alcohol or smoked at least once in the previous month. Several studies have shown that females who regularly drink carbonated drinks are three times more likely to have thinning of their bones (osteopenia).

Other studies suggest that they cause premature birth in pregnant women, premature ageing and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Frightening? Indeed and that is exactly how it should be, this is the feeling that has to be “absorbed” by everyone, into daily reality.
Have water as the main drink in your family.
When life gives us water… and lemons…
What else do we need?

Best health wishes,
Dr. Maria Alice

By Dr Maria Alice
|| [email protected]

Dr Maria Alice is a consultant in General and Family Medicine. General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service / Medilagos. Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve