Most adults have a glass of alcohol or a sugary drink with a meal. Sugar-sweetened beverages make up 60% of the calories in the US diet. These fructose and high-fructose-corn-syrup fruit smoothies, fruit juices, sodas, bubble teas, cordials, pops and fizzy drinks as well as artificial sweetener-sweetened drinks are associated with increased obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and decreased mood and mental health and memory. They have changed our taste buds to make simple water taste unpalatable. Yet tap water and mineral water are high in magnesium which helps increase energy from food and is essential for cognition and mental health. Wine is a depressant and sugar a stimulant and both cause emotional highs and lows. Why not stick to water for your teeth, vitality, sleep, immune system, memory and mental health?
When did simple tap water or mineral water with a meal become unpalatable and unpopular? Why is having a glass of water when you go out seen as boring and dull? Alcohol is a depressant, which unbalances the GABA to Glutamate ratio in your brain, causing mood disturbances and anxiety. It also is a central nervous system depressant and causes blood sugar highs and lows, ultimately draining you of energy. It also is broken down to acetaldehyde which is a toxic metabolite which compromises the immune system and the liver's detoxification capacity and ability to store glucose and so decreases insulin sensitivity and your ability to get energy from your food and vitality. The liver also stores magnesium, iron and vitamins A, D, E and K and B12 and is needed to convert T4 into active T3 thyroid hormone and alcohol compromise this ability. As magnesium, iron and B12 and thyroid hormones are needed to make energy and for metabolism, this decreases metabolism. It also causes widespread inflammation, including in the memory centre of the brain, which makes you forgetful and emotional. Alcohol is an energy drain and makes you fat and mentally slow and less intelligent.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are unnecessary too. When we pulverise all the fruit cellulose cell walls and breakdown the fibre in fruit to leave nothing but the fructose sugar in fruit juices and smoothies or add sugar and preservatives to fruit in fruit juices from concentrate fruit juices, we destroy most of the benefits of the fruit. Fructose in fruit and High Fructose Corn Syrup drinks (including those with glucose syrup) is stored not in the muscle and liver like table sugar sucrose sugar drinks, but directly as fat. It also doesn't turn off our gut Ghrelin hunger hormone when you drink it and causes sugar highs and lows, so leaves you hungry, increases your diabetes risk and makes you fat and tired. It also rots your teeth and causes (AGE) advanced glycation endproducts which cause inflammation and damage proteins and the collagen in your skin and cause endothelial damage to blood vessels and damage muscle and protein, increasing wrinkles and worsening joint health and increasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Sugar-sweetened beverages need to be swapped for water at a meal.
Honey or cordials or “agave nectar” (or whatever “healthy” healthwashed sugar alternative the marketing team at some health store want to sell you) and natural and artificial sweeteners are no improvement. Diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, sorbitol, stevia and others which can be up to 2000x sweeter than sugar and change our taste buds' sensitivity to sugar and our insulin sensitivity, making us crave sugars more and make less sweet things such as plain water and bitter green vegetables, taste less delicious. This is wiring us to want processed, high sugar and fat foods, all of which then go on to give us a Dopamine buzz and crave sugar more. Kids rarely go a day without some sugary treat, and there are no non-sugar drinks available to buy at corner shops or supermarkets or on the menu in restaurants. The shopkeepers say “we sell what people want to buy” and people want sugar. They want sugar because it's what they are used to.
Yet we can change this. It is time to change the fashion. To ditch the sugar-sweetened beverage and go back to the beauty that is simple water. Water contains magnesium which helps promote energy formation, helps balance mood and plays a vital role in our circadian rhythms and sleep. Water is needed by every cell in our body and is good for our skin and hair hydration. It is free! It is essential and you can have it hot to soothe you, cold, or fizzy if you want it carbonated. Carbonated water is associated with increased Bohr shift (the process which picks up oxygen from cells) and so helps to spread oxygen around the body and give energy. However, like all fizzy drinks, it is bad for teeth as it causes acid erosion, but is better than fizzy pop as it hasn't got the sugar on top. Feed your children water with a meal instead of fruit juice. Fill their water bottles with water, not fruit squash, and you will find with time they want sugar less. They eat what their brains are programmed to eat and with less sugar comes less sugar. Water does wonders. Water your children and they will grow into beautiful plants without the sugar-low tantrums and will be able to learn and concentrate more efficiently. Drink water in meetings and you won’t get the mid-afternoon energy slump and will be more efficient all afternoon.
Follow science. Listen to nature. We don’t need a sugary drink. We need water.
- Schulze, M. B., Manson, J. E., Ludwig, D. S., Colditz, G. A., Stampfer, M. J., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2004). Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Jama, 292(8), 927–934. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.927
- Te Morenga, L., Mallard, S., & Mann, J. (2012). Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. Bmj, 346, e7492. doi:10.1136/bmj.e7492
- Vartanian, L. R., Schwartz, M. B., & Brownell, K. D. (2007). Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health, 97(4), 667–675. doi:10.2105/ajph.2005.083782
- Juul, F., Parekh, N., Martinez-Steele, E., Monteiro, C. A., & Chang, V. W. (2022). Ultra-processed food consumption among US adults from 2001 to 2018. Am J Clin Nutr, 115(1), 211–221. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqab305
- DiNicolantonio, J. J., & Lucan, S. C. (2014). The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease. Open heart, 1(1), e000167.
- Delpino, F. M., Figueiredo, L. M., Flores, T. R., Silveira, E. A., Silva Dos Santos, F., Werneck, A. O., . . . Nunes, B. P. (2023). Intake of ultra-processed foods and sleep-related outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition, 106, 111908. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2022.111908
- Peters, T. J., & Preedy, V. R. (1998). Metabolic consequences of alcohol ingestion. Novartis Found Symp, 216, 19–24; discussion 24–34. doi:10.1002/9780470515549.ch3
- Wu, D., & Cederbaum, A. I. (2003). Alcohol, oxidative stress, and free radical damage. Alcohol Res Health, 27(4), 277–284
Copyright Laurentia Campbell 09/05/2023