15 Oct 2021 • 3 min read
We’re bubbling over with information about fizzy drinks and why they’re considered less healthy for you.
We’ll get into it properly, but the simple explanation is this…
The most popular soft drinks often have high levels of sugar and calories.
If a regular part of your diet, may affect dental health, weight gain, resistance to certain hormones, and difficulties sleeping.
So, you may be thinking… Are fizzy drinks bad for you?
We’ll take you through 9 reasons that healthier alternatives may be preferred.
Like most things, fizzy drinks are not necessarily bad when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
Fizzy drinks often contain high levels of sugar and calories without any additional vitamins or nutrients, meaning that you are getting no real benefits from drinking fizzy drinks.
You might already know that eating less sweets and chocolate can help with this but have you thought about drinks?
As you’ll see from the reasons to avoid fizzy drinks below, sugar-filled fizzy drinks and sugary soft drinks can increase your risk of weight gain, poor dental health, and cardiovascular diseases.
By drinking fizzy drinks every day, you may be at increased risk of these unwanted side effects!
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The NHS recommends that anyone aged 11 and over should only have about 30g of sugar per day1—you can remember this as approximately 7.5 teaspoons or 7 sugar cubes, if that’s easier!
When you realise that many fizzy drinks contain around 6 teaspoons of sugar in just one 330ml can, it’s easy to see how fizzy drinks can easily take you over your recommended sugar intake for the day.
How exactly can you make meaningful changes to your sugar intake without missing out on your favourite foods and flavours?
So now you know more about fizzy drinks, here are 9 reasons as to why you may want to drink less.
A long-term study of people over the age of 40 was carried out by the Tufts University in Massachusetts.2
This study ran for 12 years in total, with examinations carried out every four years.
These examinations included blood samples and weight tracking, searching for links between diet and blood fat levels.
It was found that those who were drinking soda or fizzy juice regularly were 53% more likely to have increased triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease.
This same group also had a 98% chance of having low levels of “good cholesterol”—high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—which help the body to remove bad cholesterol from the blood.
Fizzy drinks are often filled with a simple form of added sugar, called fructose.
Fructose reacts differently in our body to glucose, a type of sugar that’s found in starchy foods like pasta and potatoes, which also helps us to feel full.3
Glucose does this by interacting with the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and the liquid sugar in fizzy drinks doesn’t do this,4 meaning it’s easy to intake an increased amount of calories without realising, which may lead to weight gain unless you’re balancing your diet elsewhere.
Leptin is a hormone that your fat cells produce, and they also help you to regulate the number of calories you eat and burn.5
However, the fructose used in the most popular soft drinks may increase resistance to the effects of this hormone—this is called “leptin resistance.”6
Further study is needed in humans, but research into fructose intake in animals has supported the findings that large amounts of fructose may cause leptin resistance.7
Then, when these same rats were switched over to a zero-sugar diet, this leptin resistance disappeared, suggesting that no sugar drinks are better for you, even if they’re fizzy.8
We’ve been talking about sugar a lot, and there’s a reason for that.
The answer to the question of “are carbonated drinks bad for you” is not really, it’s the sugar inside them.
As we learned earlier, anyone aged 11 and over is recommended to only have about 7.5 teaspoons of sugar per day.9
However, a 330ml can of a full-fat fizzy drink can contain up to 6 teaspoons of sugar. In one can!
That’s why sugar-free fizzy drinks or “zero sugar drinks” are often considered to be more healthy fizzy drinks. No added sugar, same favourite flavours!
All that sugar we just talked about? It’s awful for your teeth.
Fizzy drinks are often acidic, something that erodes the protective enamel on our teeth over time.10
Then, when combined with the high sugar of fizzy drinks, this helps the bad bacteria in your mouth to harm your teeth.11
Another resistance that increased fructose in your diet can cause is against insulin, the hormone that’s responsible for moving glucose from your bloodstream and into your blood cells, where it becomes energy.
When you have an excess of sugar in your blood, your cells naturally become more resistant to the effects of insulin12
This may mean that your pancreas creates even more insulin for the body’s desired process.
This is linked to insulin spikes in the blood, which may lead to cardiovascular diseases later in life.13
Put simply, sugary fizzy drinks contain almost nothing that our bodies actually need.
In the most popular fizzy drinks, there are no vitamins, minerals, or fibre—only unwanted sugar and calories on top of your day-to-day diet.
One study even found that people who drank sugary fizzy drinks alongside their normal diet consumed 17% more calories than before.14 100% no thanks!
Many people turn to fizzy drinks for a quick burst of energy, and while this may be fine in moderation, caffeine and sugar have also been linked to sleeplessness and agitation.
Fluctuating energy levels throughout the day—not managed by a balanced diet, but instead as a result of high-sugar soft drinks—can be difficult for the body to adjust to.
This may leave you feeling tired when you need to be awake, and alert when you’d prefer to be heading to bed.
When it comes to hydration, nothing beats water.
It has no calories, no hidden additives, and is gentle on our teeth, body, and mind.
Our bodies need and love water, and it’s the easiest way to get our recommended 6-8 glasses of fluid a day.
If you’re someone who just can’t get excited about water, though, you’ve come to the right place!
How and why water is important to your health and happiness, including 13 ways to drink more water and the potential side effects if you don’t.
Are you absolutely fizzing with new information on fizzy drinks? So are we!
As you’ve seen, fizzy drinks can be bad for you, but only if they contain high levels of sugar and calories without any added benefits for your body.
Last updated: 15 October 2021