When we want to have a thirst-quencher, an array of sugary beverages comes to mind. However, sugary drinks come at the bottom of the drinks choices available in terms of health because they contain so many calories and no essential nutrients are present.(1)
- The consumption of sugary drinks has increased globally during the past few decades and is associated with the risk of several chronic illnesses, including obesity and cancer.
- Sugary drinks (also classified as sugar-sweetened beverages or soft drinks) refer to non-alcoholic drinks, which are less than 1% alcohol by volume, flavored and carbonated beverages, usually drunk cold.
- Sugary drinks include lemon, orange, and lime drinks or other fruit-flavored beverages, ginger, sodas, cocktail mixers, etc. Soft-drink ingredients are listed on the label in descending order of importance, which can be seen on the pack or can.
- The essential components of most soft drinks are purified water, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, or a combination of the two to achieve the desired sweetness; carbon dioxide creates the bubbles that stimulate the palate and heighten taste sensations and some sodium with flavoring agents.
- Few of the ingredients mentioned in percentage by weight like carbonated water (87-89), Sugar(10-12) and Acids, coloring, and flavorings (1.0)(2)
Hidden Sugar In Thirst-Quenchers Or Soft Drinks:
You might be surprised by the fact that 4.2 grams of sugar contains a single teaspoon. Imagine scooping up 7 to 10 teaspoons full of sugar and pouring it into your 12-ounce glass of water.
List of few soft drinks with amount of sugar it contains:
- 600 ml cola has 16 tablespoons of sugar
- 600 ml sports drinks contain 11 tablespoons of sugar
- 600 ml lemon squash has 11 tablespoons of sugar
- 500 ml Iced Tea includes 8 tablespoons of sugar
- 250 ml Energy drink includes 7 tablespoons of sugar(1)(7)
How Do Sugary Drinks Make You Obese?
The pancreas releases insulin to convert the sugar, which enters the bloodstream as glucose for energy. Over time, If you are overweight or obese, the cells that use glucose become resistant to insulin, resulting in too much sugar in the bloodstream called hyperglycemia. If blood glucose levels remain higher, sugar is not converted to glucose for energy, and the body can’t use it, which is likely to develop type-2 diabetes.
The liver metabolizes the excess sugar and converts to triglycerides, to get absorbed by fat cells. Hence when we consume more sugar, it’s stored as fat.
Resistance to insulin and overconsumption of sugar contributes to weight gain and obesity. Obesity plays a role in the development of cancer, which has been associated with 13 types of different cancer including mouth, pharynx and larynx, esophagus (adenocarcinoma), stomach (cardia), pancreas, gallbladder, liver, breast (postmenopausal), ovary, endometrium, prostate (advanced) and kidney.(8)
Reality Checks To Sugary Beverage Lovers But Hates Gaining Weight!!
The average can of sugary beverages or artificially sweetened drinks contains about 150 calories, mainly derived from added sugars. You could gain 5 pounds in a year if you don’t cut back on calories and drink just any of these sugary drinks every day.
Adults who own one sugary drink or more per day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than non-drinkers.(1)(9)
The Potential Link Between Sugary Drinks and Carcinoma:
A shred of study evidence steered by The BMJ reports a possible association between consuming sweetened drinks and the risk of cancer. Sugary beverages are known to cause obesity, which has dramatically increased the risk of 13 types of cancer.
The obtained results indicate that consumption of sugary drinks 100 mL/ day was related to an 18% accumulated risk of overall cancer, with a 22% accumulated risk of breast cancer.
When the cluster of sugary drinks was categorized into fruit juices and different listed sugary beverages, the consumption of both types of beverages was associated with a higher risk of overall carcinoma.
Association was not found just in prostate and colorectal cancers, but the number of cases is limited for these cancer locations.(5)(6)(7)
Other chronic health conditions are also associated with sugary drink consumption, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.
1 to 2 cans of sugary drinks a day or more have a 26 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely consume. The chances are even higher for young adults.
Consumption of soda increases the risk of cavities twice in children, and so in adults, if untreated, it can lead to pain, infection, and tooth loss. People who drink one can of a sugary drink a day, especially men, have a 20 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or may die from a heart attack than the men who rarely consume sugary drinks.(9)
This knowledge supports the connection of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption and 100 percent fruit juices, moreover as policy actions, like taxation and selling restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which could probably contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence.(3)
Cutting Back On Sugary Drinks:
“It is easier said than done” when you love soft drinks a lot, but it is highly recommended to think about the following listed options too.
It is good to drink water, or you may have unsweetened drinks, such as tea or coffee, with no added sugar. There is evidence that coffee protects against cancer developing in the liver and endometrium.
If it’s the carbonated drink you like, give a try to sparkling water. If the taste is bland, give a try to naturally flavored sparkling water. If that’s too much of a jump, you may add a splash of juice, sliced citrus, or add some fresh herbs in it.(1)(4)
The consumption of sugary drinks has significantly increased worldwide in recent decades, contributing to an increased risk of carcinoma. The best thirst-quencher can be the consumption of water. An era where the prevalence of the chronic disease is high due to the availability of fast and processed food with sugary drinks more prominently preferred among people’s trendy lifestyle. It is highly recommended to have a second thought as prevention is better than cure before taking any sugary beverages as obesity, diabetes, and rising risk of cancer incidence are published in the articles and warned of American institute’s safety concerns for cancer research. To ensure good health and physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. For this, eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and always maintain interest for health and life should be a mantra nowadays.
- The nutrition source: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/
- Soft Drink- an overview https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/soft-drink
- Possible links between sugary drinks and cancer: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190710193917.htm
- One soft drink a day could increase your risk of cancer: https://www.cancervic.org.au/about/stories/soft-drink-increase-cancer-risk.html
- Does soda cause cancer? https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2019/11/soda-cause-cancer/