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1 Aug
2012
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More Bad News For Soft Drink Drinkers

If you knew that something caused weight gain, heart disease, liver failure, high blood pressure and diabetes – would you consume it?

Bit of a daft question really. Of course you would. Smokers know all about the dreadful health problems that smoking causes and they still smoke.

We all know that sugar makes us fat and rots our teeth but apart from that, it’s ok isn’t it?

More and more research is highlighting the fact that our bodies just cannot cope with very much of a sugar load. A new piece of research, conducted by Bangor University, has found significant metabolic changes in individuals who consume as little as two cans of sugar sweetened soft drinks a week. One can every day definitely causes problems, and it does it very quickly indeed.

This trial demonstrated that regularly drinking just one can of soft drink a day (one can contains the equivalent of about 10 teaspoons of sugar) caused an increase in fat deposition by inhibiting fat metabolism as well as increasing blood glucose. What happens in the body when you consume too much sugar is that you train your body to burn sugar, rather than fat, for fuel. But this training doesn’t reverse itself very quickly when you stop consuming sugar. So the longer you continue to take in excess sugar the more screwed up your metabolism gets. Then it becomes more difficult for your body to burn fat and harder and harder to lose weight. During the trial the metabolic change took place in just four weeks with fit, healthy and lean volunteers.

Another problem is that excessive intake of sugary soft drinks alters the perception of sweetness. I’m not a soda drinker and my hot beverages, with the exception of an occasional hot chocolate, are sugar free. I don’t eat chocolate bars or other sweets any more, and I’ve noticed that my tolerance of sweetness is much lower than most other people I know. I was at a party a few weeks back with some friends. I had a small slice of a gateau which I couldn’t eat because it was far too sweet. My friends had no problem eating and enjoying it. A few years ago I was eating some Walker’s potato crisps – prawn cocktail flavour – and I thought they tasted sweet. I checked the ingredients and sugar was on the list. So I can certainly endorse the idea that sweetness becomes much less attractive once you cut down on sugar intake. When that happens you lose the desire to consume excessively sweet foods and enjoy foods with a much lower sugar content so there is no long-term hardship or sense of having to do without.

Sugar is causing a lot of harm and the sugar in beverages is hidden. If you want to stay healthy and lose a bit of weight, cutting down on sugar is the probably the biggest favour you can do for yourself. And just in case you are thinking of switching to diet beverages instead, check out my article Is Soda Pop at the Heart of the American Obesity Epidemic?

Michael

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