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Soft drinks are hard on our bodies

Soft drinks are tasty and fun to drink and are not good for us.
Sparkling water is a better option than sugary soft drinks.

I have never really enjoyed soft drinks because the bubbles go up my nose, but I do acknowledge how popular they are and why.

They are tasty and fun to drink and consumers have their favourites to which they are loyal (or maybe addicted). Unfortunately, soft drinks, pop and soda (as they are referred to in the US) are some of the unhealthiest things we can put in our bodies.

I read a report several years ago, suggesting that the average American consumes 90 per cent of their calories as liquid (mainly from soft drinks, juice, sports drinks, iced tea and alcohol) but according to the World Health Organization the maximum sugar consumption should not make up more than 10 per cent of our daily caloric intake, we should not consume more six teaspoons of sugar daily. Soft drinks are full of sugar (37g or 10 tsp per 12oz can) and contain other ingredients like artificial colour, flavour, msg (also called ‘natural flavour’) etc.

Regular consumption of soft drinks may lead to a plethora of health issues including unwanted weight-gain and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, bone mineral deficiency, digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, hyperactivity, heart disease, kidney and/or liver disease, gout, GERD (acid reflux), metabolic syndrome and mood dysregulation, to name a few. US National Institute of Health reported in 2015 that 184,000 yearly deaths have been attributed to consumption of these sugary drinks worldwide.

Many soft drinks have addictive qualities which is why they are hard to give up. As the detrimental health issues are not immediate (except for the irritability or anxiety caused by the sugar spike followed by a sugar crash), many people don’t equate their long-term health problems to their lifelong consumption of sugary beverages. One pop a day considered as a ‘treat’ can have long-lasting negative effects on our bodies. If you have any of the above health problems, please consider that soft drinks and other sugary drinks may have contributed to the issue and choose to give them up.

Several decades ago, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin came onto the scene and were considered a Godsend for those who were concerned about all the sugar in their favourite soda. However, diet pop may be no better for you, as several research studies are trying to link the artificial sweeteners with serious health issues like Alzheimer’s, MS, cancer, depression, ADHD, migraines, dizziness, loss of tooth enamel and also weight gain. The jury is still out on this controversial topic with the manufacturers claiming witch hunts, and health advocates claiming that aspartame should never have been passed by the FDA because of its potential health dangers. Personally, I hate the metallic aftertaste of aspartame, so I avoid products containing it.

Teens are generally the main consumers of sugary drinks and soft drinks which may contribute to lethargy at school and irritability at home. Sugar crashes can cause depressive thoughts, anxiety and tiredness. Soft drinks are the most popular with teens followed by iced tea, fruit juice (boxes), sports drinks, energy drinks, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, specialty sweet teas, flavoured waters with added sugars… It is never too late to educate your kids about the detriments of these kind of beverages. Limiting or eliminating them from your home is a progressive step to cutting down consumption.

If you really want to have a fizzy drink, it’s healthier to buy plain soda water (no sugar) and add it to juice (1/4 cup juice topped up with soda). But keep in mind that most juices are also high in sugar. Sparkling drink makers are so popular but the flavoured syrups may also be very high in sugar or have artificial sweeteners. It is also important to note that fizzy drinks may still contribute to acid reflux and gastro-esophageal issues.

Water is the very best for our bodies and the only liquid our body needs or can process. I wrote an article about the body’s craving for simple water in August 2021. I cannot stress enough the importance of educating ourselves to the detriments of soft drinks and other high sugar drinks. There are some interesting studies on the following website:

To your best health and healthy habits.

Claire Nielsen is a columnist, health coach, public speaker, author and founder of The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health and medical advice. Please consult a doctor or other healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses and/or treatment.