sugar sweetened drinks are not only associated with progressive increase in weight but also with the development of Type 2 diabetes. Drinks in this category include
soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports
drinks, energy waters, sweetened tea, cordials, squashes and lemonade.
Scientific research has shown that those who drink at least one sugar sweetened drink a day have a greater risk of developing diabetes than individuals who
drink less than one such drink in a month.
Fructose which is present in large amounts in these drinks is known to promote accumulation of fat
inside the abdomen which has significant untoward effects on health and general wellbeing.
Fat accumulation in the abdomen is known to significantly reduce
the effectiveness of insulin in keeping the blood sugar level within normal range, thus greatly increasing the propensity for
developing diabetes and other diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. Millions of Africans; both young and the young at heart currently indulge in the habit of consumption of these drinks. These drinks are ubiquitous; from Cape to Cairo, mansion to mud huts.
They are sweet and quite very affordable, but the price that may be paid years later is quite a
heavy one. It is said that these drinks were once thought to be an innocent source of refreshment, but science has proven this to have been a costly misconception.
The world over, consumption of
sugar sweetened beverages has been on the increase and it is believed to be one of the reasons why many more individuals are
becoming overweight and obese.
Consumption of any such drink after a meal further places the insulin producing cells in the pancreas under further stress in that they need to increase their output of insulin to combat the increased load of calories. Intake of these drinks is known to promote weight gain because
of their high added sugar content.
They also have a low
satiety potential in that after individuals have taken such
drinks, they still will take their usual quantity of food not taking into cognizance the earlier calorie consumed in the sugary drink.
It should be known that the average can of soft drink sold in
the United States contains the
equivalent of ten teaspoons of
This fact has been corroborated
by Bakari and Onyemelukwe;
Nigerian researchers who posited in their paper titled “ Simple sugar and caloric contents of soft drinks in Nigeria” that Nigerian soft drinks they analysed contains significant amount of refined sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose.
They also posited that during periods of aggressive promotion by the marketing companies of such drinks, increases in drinking occur as promises of rich rewards are made to the population.
Part of their submission was that
high intake of soft and malt drinks may lead to and aggravate
obesity, a known risk factor for diabetes, hypertension and other non communicable diseases. The effect of intake of sugar sweetened beverages is more in women.
A scientific study that followed up for more than eight years women who drank one or more than sugar sweetened drink per day concluded that they have a greater risk of developing diabetes.“Diet” soft drinks may be a viable though controversial
From the foregoing, it is not only imperative but wise for individuals to greatly limit their
intake of sugar sweetened beverages and drink water instead in order to reduce the risk of becoming fat and developing diabetes and diseases of the heart. An ounce of prevention, it is said, is worth more than a pound of cure.
The drive in Western countries to replace conventional soft drinks with sugar free alternatives
ought to be emulated in Africa.