Sugar (especially fructose) is the prime culprit behind the health risks posed by most soft drinks. Research has shown that the excessive consumption of sugary soft drinks leads to many health problems such as obesity and diabetes, which in turn lead to further problems.
Switching to diet soft drinks is a good start, because it helps eliminate the risk of obesity and associated health risks. However, depending on the sugar substitute used in the diet soft drink, other types of health problems may occur. For example, one controversial new study found that the risk of heart attack or stroke increased 48% for people who drank diet sodas every day. With new sugar substitutes coming onto the market all the time, researchers simply haven’t had enough time to study them all yet. However, many experts feel that Splenda is the safest artificial sweetener.
However, both diet and regular soft drinks come with other problems, such as artificial food colourings that, according to some experts, contain carcinogens that may contribute to certain types of cancer. These dark coloured soft drinks can also stain your teeth. Plus, any type of drink is typically a diuretic that can lead to dehydration.
In general, it’s best to avoid consuming foods and drinks with little to no nutritional value. It’s much healthier to drink water for hydration, but of course if you’re used to drinking soft drinks all day long, water can be boring!
The first step towards eliminating soft drinks from your diet is figuring out why you love them so much in the first place. If you rely on caffeinated soft drinks for an energy boost, consider replacing them with a natural source of caffeine, like tea. You can also try eating healthier foods that provide natural energy, such as bananas, so that you won’t end up in an energy slump in the first place.
If you like soft drinks for the flavour, consider replacing them with flavoured water. You can buy flavoured water by the bottle or else use powders to create your own quickly, easily, and cheaply. Flavoured waters have a tiny fraction of the calories of soft drinks, but some of them may still have the problems posed by artificial sweeteners.
If you just love the fizzy, bubbly sensation of soft drinks, consider making your own soft drinks with an at-home carbonation device like SodaStream. With SodaStream, you can add carbonation to any liquid you want. Jazz up that flavoured water, or even carbonate fresh fruit juice for a drink that is fun, healthy, and nutritious.
Even natural sugars such as may be found in fruit juices or smoothies can be harmful in excess. So no matter what soft drink alternative you choose, be sure to drink in moderation. Challenge yourself to consume fewer empty calories, and fewer soft drinks!