I sit there sometimes, watching how people guzzle down sugar-laden drinks with their food, and can’t help but remember how I used to be one of them. Many of these people are my friends (you know who you are!), they don’t seem to listen to me, maybe this article shall be an eye-opener.Just about everyone has a tap for drinking water at home, right? Well we had a coke tap. We had an inventory of coke in our basement and later in our garage, so much so that when my friends would visit I would show them the amount of bottles we had. They would always be gob smacked and in awe (the awe part was usually when we were younger), “…you’re so lucky…” they would utter.
I saw the light, or maybe a light, that clearly showed me the truth of what I used to imbibe carelessly.
The effects of such drinks is somehow overshadowed (conveniently). How? I really don’t know? Though I think it would be fair to surmise it has something to do with the Benjamins – if you know what i mean
What if I told you that people can actually become addicted to sugar, similar to the addiction experienced by smokers, maybe that may offer some insight into the popularity of a billion dollar industry.
So how can you become addicted?
Simply put, sugar triggers the production of the brain’s natural opioids (a substance that has a morphine-like effect on the body, though not as strong as morphine or heroin), as a result of this, the body (or more specifically the brain) starts to get addicted to its own opioids.
Well we all know that there is a lot of sugar in these drinks. How much you ask? Well typically, a 330ml can contains approximately 36 grams of sugar – which is 7 ¼ tsp. Want to get high?
Drinking these types of drinks from a long-term perspective can have detrimental effects on one’s health. When sugary drinks are consumed, the pancreas has to churn out insulin to utilise the surge in sugar in the bloodstream and thereby bring the body back into homeostasis (i.e. the maintenance of internal stability). Over time, if the pancreas is put under constant pressure to meet the demands of a high-sugar diet, the person shall inevitably face insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. What’s that? Insulin resistance means that the body has to produce more insulin than usual to assimilate the sugar in the blood stream, hence the effects of insulin are not as optimal as they used to be and therefore a greater demand is placed on this organ.
There is also a good correlation between consuming large amounts of sugary drinks and obesity. There are numerous studies done on this relationship. Too much sugar that is not utilized by the muscles and livers gets deposited into adipose tissue (i.e. as fat). The body’s ability to produce fat cells is limitless.
Lets talk about the well-known addictive substance called caffeine. Don’t pretend you haven’t heard of it! Caffeine is classed as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system (CNS). Most can readily identify the short-term benefits they experience with caffeine intake – being more mentally alert, losing the “fatigue feeling”, mood elevation and helping with a mild asthma attack (caffeine is part of the same family of drugs used for asthma medication).
However, few know the negative effects, some of which are: headaches, disrupting the sleep pattern, dizziness, jitters and many more. These effects are not experience by everyone, but more so by those who consume it on a regular basis (e.g. daily).
Now if you withdraw abruptly from consuming caffeine, you are almost likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms, such as severe headaches, temporary depression, irritability and aching muscles.
Caffeine can also cause you to urinate more (aka as a diuretic), hence it can have a mild dehydrating effect. Calcium and potassium loss can result due to a high caffeine intake, this is so the body can combat the acidic nature of caffeine by neutralising it with alkalising minerals (and therefore attempting to bring the body back into homeostasis), this similar acidic reaction can also occur with phosphoric acid – usually found in fizzy drinks.
I can hear someone saying that they drink caffeine-free and sugar-free beverages. Well done in regards to the caffeine-free part, though the latter is not a great substitute and solution to sugar. Okay, so they don’t put sugar in the drink, however they put something just as bad, if not worse. Yep, you guessed it, artificial sweeteners.
This really is opening a Pandora’s box! These sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose – yes, even sucralose etc.) cause very serious problems in the short and long term. It is too in-depth and beyond the scope of this article to mention and discuss all of the negative effects and consequences, though some are mentioned for your benefit: headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, memory loss and joint pain. Though some of these seem extreme, they have occurred and reoccurrence is a possibility.
Did you know that even with artificial sweeteners you stimulate an insulin surge. This is because the brain cannot differentiate between artificial and natural, therefore if you consume artificial sweeteners your body will release insulin and expect there to be a load of carbohydrates to deal with, that’s why the caffeine is there to give you a temporary boost. The brain feels cheated and as a result you feel a craving for carbohydrates. In one study, a group was given drinks containing artificial sweeteners (AS) and another group given artificial sweetener-free drinks (SF). The AS group consumer 3 times as many calories as the SF group!
So you’re wondering how you can rid yourself of this habit?
Well you could….
Substitute refined grains (e.g. white rice, white bread etc.) with whole grain varieties, this will keep you satiated for longer and regulate blood sugar.
After this transition, it is much easier to slowly wean yourself off the sugar drinks! If you were to just instantaneously stop yourself from consuming sugar, you would surely feel negative effects of withdrawal. Also, sugar cravings are commonly associated with the following deficiencies: chromium (broccoli, cheese, chicken), phosphorous (chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, legumes), sulphur (onions, broccoli – and all cruciferous vegetables), carbon (fruit), tryptophan (lamb, spinach, liver).
Simply put….avoid these drinks!
References available on request.
- Fructose and Fat gain Study
- Blast from the Past!
- POM Wonderful Review
- Deodorants, Coffee And Artificial Sweeteners Not Linked To Cancer?
- Ten Reasons to THROW OUT your Microwave Oven
- Effects of caffeine on productivity and mental fatigue
- Pomegranate juice increases quality and quantity of Sperm!
- Fruits rich in Polyphenols protect against Alzheimer’s
- Fasting: to exercise or not to exercise?
- Ramadan: A Nutrition Solution?