It is the staple drink of people of all ages nowadays – soda or cola drinks in different containers, forms and flavors. An alarming trend is the increasing consumption of sweetened drinks among adolescents and children. But how does cola, normal, light, diet or zero affect our health?
Here some latest findings:
It doesn’t matter whether it’s glucose or fructose. The sweeteners in the drinks you consume lead to metabolic syndrome that increases risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to a study at University of California Davis.
Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, including soda, in children result in about 110 to 165 excess calories per day, leading to an energy imbalance, e.g. more calories taken in than calories expended for growth, bodily function, and physical movement. The result is weight gain and eventually obesity. This is according to a study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Excessive cola consumption can result in hypokalemia or severely low blood potassium, according to Greek researchers. It is characterized by mild weakness to severe paralysis of the muscles. Hypokalemia is caused by excessive consumption of glucose, fructose and caffeine – all found in cola drinks.
Here is a case study:
A 21 year-old woman was consuming up to three litres of cola a day… complained of fatigue, appetite loss and persistent vomiting. An electrocardiagram also revealed she had a heart blockage, while blood tests showed she had low potassium levels.
German researchers have observed that cola consumption, but not other carbonate drinks leads to softer bones in women. This was true for normal as well as diet cola, but also for decaffeinated cola.
It is undeniable that sweetened drinks, regardless of the type of sweetener used, pose health risks especially when consumed in large quantities.
It is estimated that the worldwide consumption of soft drinks in 2007 was 552 billion liters, which translate to about 83 liters per person per year. This is expected to increase to 95 liters per person per year by 2012. In the US alone consumption has already reached 212 litres per person per year (on average).
Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece
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