Initially used to mop up periods of excess, the consumption of soft drinks has increased steadily over the years. What are also called “soft drinks” are non-alcoholic beverages that attract millions of consumers around the world every day. However, studies have shown the danger of these drinks or their “light” equivalent. According to an article in the Dailymail, consuming two or more glasses a day increases the risk of premature death by 17%.
Also known as “liquid sweets”, these drinks can be very harmful to health and should be consumed in moderation. They consist of carbon dioxide, water, artificial products and colouring agents, sometimes caffeine, but above all a lot of sugar, all of which are unhealthy for the body. Their over-consumption can eventually lead to high health risks and even increase the risk of premature death, according to a study conducted by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
Numerous studies have proven the harmful effects of these drinks and their possible correlation with the risk of premature death. Indeed, a study conducted between 2005 and 2011 in 47 Japanese prefectures showed that the consumption of soft drinks was linked to heart disease. That’s because, in addition to harmful components such as colorants or artificial products, some soft drinks can contain up to 30 g of sugar per can, or 10 teaspoons of sugar. This large quantity of sugar can cause heart problems but also promote the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension in addition to the risks for dental health namely caries or the attack of tooth enamel because of the acids they contain.
All these reasons should normally be enough to slow down the over-consumption of these beverages. However, the average North American would consume nearly 182 liters per year while Europeans are dangerously close to this amount. The NHS has reportedly stated that 20% of the sugar added to the adult diet comes from soft drinks and fruit juices. The experts of the European Society of Cardiology in Paris have strongly recommended to eliminate these drinks from our diet and replace them with water, or to consume them in moderation while some countries such as the United Kingdom have even advised to tax sweetened drinks in order to prevent overconsumption of soft drinks and health risks. Researchers from Oxford University estimated that this tax, which was introduced in April 2018, would have a 9.8% drop in child obesity.
Are light drinks a good alternative?
It is important to read the ingredients before consuming a food. You will notice that in soft drinks, sugar is present in the majority since it appears at the beginning of the list. However, more “dietetic” alternatives have appeared such as the “light” or “zero” versions. This type of drink can be just as dangerous as “normal” drinks. Sugar is actually replaced by chemical substances such as aspartame or other sweeteners which are low in calories, but whose effects are just as harmful, especially for heart health.
These sodas sold in supermarkets can be replaced, for example, by sparkling or fizzy water, mixed with fruit.