Category Archives: Sugary soft drinks
People underestimate the amount of sugar in drinks which are perceived to be “healthy”, research suggests.
The Glasgow University study asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks.
While many overestimated the amount in fizzy beverages, they underestimated levels in smoothies and fruit juices.
The research also found soft drinks could be accounting for a large chunk of their recommended calorie intake.
The British Soft Drinks Association says the sugar in soft drinks is not hidden because beverages carry clear labelling of nutritional content, including calorie and sugar content.
The reasearchers asked participants to assess their weekly drinking habits.
Their answers suggested 450 calories a day were being consumed – a quarter of the daily limit for women and a fifth for men.
But it was the lack of awareness about the sugar content of drinks that caused concern.
The participants were asked to guess the number of teaspoons of sugar in a range of popular drinks.
They underestimated it for pure apple juice and orange juice, a caffeinated energy drink and a smoothie by between two and four teaspoons.
And for a pomegranate-based drink, they underestimated the sugar content by nearly 18 teaspoons.
Unsurprisingly, many participants were not taking the calorie content of their soft drinks into account when thinking about their diet.
The team warned that the over-consumption of soft drinks was contributing to obesity and was a major risk factor for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Lead researcher Prof Naveed Sattar said: “What you drink can be as damaging to the body as what you eat.
“There is no question that consuming too many sugar-sweetened drinks can greatly contribute to obesity.
“Some varieties of drinks such as pure fruit juices and smoothies, which are perceived as ‘healthy’ options, are also very high in sugar.
“For many people struggling with their weight, reducing their intake of such drinks and replacing with water or diet drinks would be a sensible first target to help them lessen their calorie intake.”
We know the facts, but this brings perspective quickly, doesn’t it?
——- Each cube is a teaspoonful.
——- Each cube is a teaspoonful.
Sugary soft drinks linked to high blood pressure
By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News
Drinking too many sugary beverages appears to raise the risk of high blood pressure, experts are warning.
Findings suggest blood pressure goes up incrementally for every extra can of sugary drink consumed per day.
Drinking more than 355ml a day of sugar-sweetened fruit juice or carbonated drink can be enough to upset the balance, data on over 2,500 people reveals.
The study by UK and US researchers appears in the journal Hypertension.
The precise mechanism behind the link is unclear, but scientists believe too much sugar in the blood disrupts blood vessel tone and salt levels in the body. Non-sugar sweetened diet drinks did not carry the same risk.
The soft drink industry maintains that the beverages are safe to drink “in moderation”.
The American Heart Association says people should drink no more than three 355ml cans of soda a week.
For the study, the participants who were aged 40-59 from the UK and the US were asked to record what they had eaten in the preceding 24 hours on four separate occasions. They also provided a urine sample and had their blood pressure measured.
The researchers found that sugar intake was highest in those consuming more than one sugar-sweetened beverage daily.
They also found that individuals consuming more than one serving per day of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed more calories than those who didn’t consume sugary drinks – around 397 extra calories a day.
For every extra can of sugary drink consumed per day, participants on average had a higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6mmHg and a higher diastolic blood pressure by 0.8mmHg.
Overall, the people who consumed a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages appeared to also have less healthy diets and were more likely to be overweight.
But regardless of this, the link with blood pressure was still significant even after adjusting for factors such as weight and height.
Professor Paul Elliott, senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “It’s widely known that if you have too much salt in your diet, you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure.
“The results of this study suggest that people should be careful about how much sugar they consume as well.”
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Someone with a blood pressure level of 135mmHg over 85mmHg is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115mmHg over 75mmHg.
In the study, the link between sugary drinks and higher blood pressure was especially strong in people who consumed a lot of salt as well as sugar. Excess salt in the diet is already a known to contribute to high blood pressure.
The British Heart Foundation said more research was now needed to better understand the relationship between sugar and blood pressure.
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the BHF, said it was best to avoid too many sugary drinks because they add extra calories to our diets that can lead to obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association said: “This is another nail in the coffin for soft drinks.
“Not only do they make you obese but they may also put up your blood pressure. Drinking sweet soft drinks is not good news.”
A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said the study did not establish that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages in any way causes hypertension.
“Soft drinks are safe to drink but, like all food and drink, should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet,” he said.Wikio