Rethink Your Drink
With temperatures soaring, it is important to stay hydrated and drinking plenty of water (at least 6 -8 glasses each day) is the best way to prevent several health problems. However, often sweet or fizzy beverages are taken instead of water and it is easy to overlook the amount of sugar you consume daily. Ice creams and sugar rich snacks also add to the sugar load.
The health impact of sugar-loaded drinks
A number of health harms are associated with a high sugar intake, such as Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, Gout, Kidney Damage, Cancer and Sleep disturbances. Moreover, the acid in many sugary drinks including diet drinks causes tooth erosion increasing the risk of dental decay.
Identifying a sugar-loaded drink
Any beverage that has added caloric sweeteners is considered sugar-loaded (high in sugar content). High calorie sweeteners have many different names (e.g. cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, sucrose, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, agave syrup and honey) that are generally listed amongst the ingredients on the food label.
Examples of sweetened drinks include carbonated soft drinks, sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks, sweetened milk or milk alternatives, sweetened tea or coffee drinks and flavour-enhanced water drinks.
Be careful with Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are not only high in sugar but also contain high levels of caffeine. Other ingredients may include Ginseng, Guarana and Taurine which in high doses are believed to cause a number of adverse side effects such as nervousness, difficulty sleeping, stomach upset or diarrhoea, seizures, chest pain, and vascular adverse effects such as rapid heartbeat or altered blood pressure.
Young adults are particularly prone to negative side effects, and around half of those who experience these side effects only need to drink one energy drink before showing symptoms. It is therefore recommended that children and adolescents who carry out an average amount of physical activity avoid energy drinks completely.
Try making a simple swap…
Water contains no sugar, is inexpensive, and is available on tap! If you do not like the taste of plain tap water try chilling it in the fridge beforehand, or adding lemon, cucumber, and/or herbs (you may like to look up some ‘Spa Water’ recipes).
‘No added sugar’, ‘low sugar’ or ‘sugar-free’ drinks provide a good alternative to sodas and juice drinks. Low fat plain milk drinks are better than sweetened milkshakes.
For more information regarding the amount of sugar in your drinks, or in the foods you eat, download the free Food Scanner App by Change4Life.