Nine rea­sons to give up fizzy drinks

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LON­DON — We are drink­ing more soft drinks than ever be­fore — on av­er­age, about 113 litres each a year.

But what is it do­ing to our health? US re­searchers re­cently sug­gested that girls who fre­quently had fizzy drinks were more likely to start pu­berty early.

And it’s not just sug­ary drinks – diet ver­sions, even sparkling wa­ter, can have an ef­fect on health.

1. They speed up age­ing Peo­ple who drink the equiv­a­lent of two cans of full-sugar cola daily may age more quickly than peo­ple who never drink it, say US re­searchers.

Last year, sci­en­tists at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia found th­ese peo­ple had DNA changes that made their cells 4.6 years older - their telom­eres, the tiny “caps” that pro­tect the ends of our chains of DNA, were shorter. “Telom­ere length has an im­pact on cell re­pair and re­gen­er­a­tion and that is linked to the age­ing process,” says Dr Sa­j­jad Ra­j­par, a con­sul­tant der­ma­tol­o­gist at Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal in Birm­ing­ham.’

“A great deal of re­search is look­ing at how telom­ere length can af­fect that process.”

2. They trig­ger sugar crav­ings Drink­ing just two cans of sug­ary fizzy drinks a day dulls peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of sweet tastes and makes them crave sugar even more, says Dr Hans-peter Ku­bis, a phys­i­ol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­sity of Ban­gor who led a study into the ef­fects of fizzy drinks on the body.

‘Be­cause sweet­ness is strongly con­nected to the re­ward sys­tem in the brain, peo­ple may in­crease the fre­quency of their use of sugar as a re­sult.’ The bub­bles, too, could make you want more sugar.

Car­bon diox­ide acts as an acid which en­hances our re­sponses to other tastes, such as sugar, says Dr Ku­bis. “Though the sugar may cre­ate the crav­ing re­sponses, the acid­ity or fizz of the drink makes the pleas­ant­ness of the taste even stronger. This could ex­plain why peo­ple pre­fer car­bon­ated wa­ter over still.”

3. They have been linked to can­cer Women who have more than three sug­ary – fizzy or oth­er­wise — a week may have an in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer.

Last year, re­searchers from Laval Uni­ver­sity in Que­bec found that the more sug­ary and fizzy drinks con­sumed by women, the greater the den­sity of their breasts — a known risk fac­tor for can­cer. It is not clear how the two might be linked and more re­search is needed.

“Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of f de­vel­opin­gelop­ing can­cer be­cause there re are more cells that can be­come can­cer­ous,”rous,” ex­plains s Dr Anne

Trigg, gg, a med­i­cal on­col­o­gist at the he Lon­don Bridge e Hos­pi­tal.

“It can in­crease the risk fac­tor four-fold. fold. It may be linkednked to higher lev­els of oe­stro­gen, whichh is as­so­ci­ated with breast can­cer.”

4. They hey may dam

age bones Drink­ingk­ing large quan­ti­ties of cola could af­fect your bones, US re­searcher­srchers have sug­gested.d. This is be­cause they of­ten con­tain high lev­els of phos­phoric acid — added to cola-type drinks to give them a tangy taste, and tin­gle when swal­lowed.

A 2006 study by nu­tri­tional epi­demi­ol­o­gists at Tufts Uni­ver­sity in Bos­ton found that women who drank cola daily had lower bone min­eral den­sity in their hips than those who drank it once a week, re­gard­less of their age, to­tal cal­cium in­take or use of cig­a­rettes and al­co­hol.

The body nat­u­rally strives to main­tain bal­anced lev­els of cal­cium and phos­pho­rus - so when there is ex­cess phos­pho­rus, cal­cium is re­leased from the bones to cor­rect the bal­ance. Re­searchers didn’t find this ef­fect when women drank other fizzy drinks.

It’s pos­si­ble that the caf­feine in the cola had an im­pact, since caf­feine has been as­so­ci­ated with risk of lower bone den­sity.

The Na­tional Os­teo­poro­sis So­ci­ety says that while there is “no clear ev­i­dence” of fizzy drinks hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on bone health,hea women may want to mod­er­ate their int in­take.

The other prob­lem is that peo­ple pre­fer fizzy­fiz drinks to cal­cium-rich milk, adds Dr PeterPe Selby, an os­teo­poro­sis ex­pert based at Manch­esterM Royal In­fir­mary. 5. They cause bloat­ing When we have a fizzy drink, the gas – nam namely car­bonic acid — fills the stom­ach with air, cre­at­ing pres­sure which pushes the air back up the gul­let (or oe­soph­a­gus) caus­ing a belch.

A And if you suf­fer from bloat­ing, the ex­tra gas will make it worse, says Dr Steven Mann, a co con­sul­tant gas­troen­terol­o­gist at the Royal Fre Free Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don, as the air will sim­ply sit in the stom­ach.

T Th­ese bub­bles even­tu­ally burst and get re­abs ab­sorbed into the blood, he adds. Fizzy drinks can also ag­gra­vate ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome, ada dis­or­der linked to di­ges­tive sys­tem prob­lem lems.

6. They attack your teeth Su­garSug reacts with the bac­te­ria in plaque (the stick­ys­tic coat­ing on your teeth) and pro­duces harm­ful­har acids that can cause de­cay, mak­ing su sug­ary fruit juices a threat to oral health.

But fizzy drinks may cause even greater dam­age.dam

A study by the Uni­ver­sity of Birm­ing­ham found­foun that full-sugar cola is 10 times as cor­ro­sive as fruit juices in the first three min­utes of d drink­ing, even though they con­tain sim­i­lar amountsamo of sugar.

It’sIt thought cit­ric acid added to give drinks theirthe tangy taste might be to blame. ‘Even diet co­las, though low in sugar, can be bad for teeth, be­cause of the cit­ric acid in diet and sweet­enedswe fizzy drinks,’ said Pro­fes­sor Damian Walm­s­ley, sci­en­tific ad­viser to the Bri­tish Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion. Fizzy wa­ter can also dam­age teeth be­cause it con­tains car­bonic acid, formed when car­bon diox­ide is dis­solved in wa­ter, which erodes tooth enamel.

‘Even one glass can cause mi­cro­scopic lev­els of the outer sur­face of the enamel to dis­solve, and when we con­sume some­thing acidic, the mouth stays acidic for 45 min­utes be­fore re­turn­ing to a nor­mal ph level,’ says Pro­fes­sor An­drew Eder of Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don’s East­man Den­tal In­sti­tute.

How­ever, you’d need to drink sparkling wa­ter on a daily ba­sis for years to suf­fer the ef­fect — w one or two glasses a week won’t hurt.

7. They bom­bard your liver Fizzy drinks with high lev­els of fruit juice have been linked to fatty liver dis­ease. A 2009 Is­raeli study found that peo­ple who have two cans of fizzy fruit drinks a day were five times more likely to de­velop the con­di­tion, a pre­cur­sor to cir­rho­sis (scar­ring of the liver) and liver can­cer.

The drinks have high lev­els of fruit sugar, read­ily ab­sorbed by the liver and con­verted into fat. And up­mar­ket fizzy drinks are no health­ier as sparkling el­der­flower and sports drinks can con­tain up to 13tsp of sugar, com­pared with around 9tsp in su­per­mar­ket cola, cam­paign group Ac­tion on Sugar said last year.

Although the ev­i­dence is in­con­clu­sive the study sug­gests diet drinks have a sim­i­lar ef­fect by trick­ing the body into think­ing it has had sugar.

8. They can harm a child’s tummy Flat cola or lemon­ade is a popular rem­edy for an up­set stom­ach, but it could ac­tu­ally be bad for chil­dren with stom­ach bugs. The lining of the stom­ach and in­testines are of­ten tem­po­rar­ily dam­aged by stom­ach bugs, and high-sugar drinks can make this worse, pos­si­bly be­cause bac­te­ria feed off sugar, says Dr Stephen Mur­phy, who chaired the com­mit­tee that wrote the NHS of­fi­cial guide­lines on treat­ing chil­dren’s stom­ach bugs.

Th­ese warned par­ents against giv­ing chil­dren th­ese drinks, say­ing wa­ter with oral salt so­lu­tion, such as Dio­r­a­lyte, is prefer­able as it con­tains the right min­er­als and sugar.

Diet drinks can be prob­lem­atic be­cause the sweet­en­ers may be dif­fi­cult to ab­sorb by the stom­ach, in­creas­ing the risk of di­ar­rhoea says Dr Peter Fair­clough, con­sul­tant gas­troen­terol­o­gist at the Lon­don Clinic.

What­ever peo­ple think, car­bon­ated drinks, fizzy or flat, won’t get rid of bac­te­ria caus­ing a bad stom­ach, adds Alas­tair Forbes, pro­fes­sor of gas­troen­terol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of East Anglia.

9. They may bring on pu­berty early Drink­ing more than one sug­ary drink a day could bring on a girl’s pe­ri­ods early, sug­gested U.S. sci­en­tists last week.

In a study of 6,000 ado­les­cent girls, re­searchers from Har­vard found that those drink­ing more than 1.5 sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages daily had their first pe­riod 2.7 months ear­lier than those who had two a week or fewer.

Drinks with added sugar raise lev­els of in­sulin — the hor­mone that mops up glu­cose from the blood — which in turn may lead to higher con­cen­tra­tions of fe­male sex hor­mones such as oe­stro­gen.

The re­searchers sug­gest this also put girls at higher risk of breast can­cer, as early oe­stro­gen ex­po­sure may in­crease the risk of cer­tain types of the dis­ease. — Daily Mail

IF you want to lose weight, give up your fizzy drink con­sump­tion.

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