Soft drinks, or cold drinks, as we more affectionately call them in South Africa are a health hazard as far as I am concerned. And Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees with me.
California lawmakers have passed America’s most far-reaching ban yet on soft drinks in schools. They have been banned from every secondary school in the US’s most-populous state, in addition to the ban in primaries since 2003.
During school hours, schools will only be able to stock milk, drinks with at least 50 per cent fruit or vegetable content and bottled water under the anti-obesity legislation, which awaits California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature.
So why are cold drinks so bad? Here’s the scoop:
They are loaded with sugar
A 340ml can of coca-cola for example, contains 40g of sugar- thats 8 tsp of sugar, or 3 slices of bread. Sugar is a major contributing factor to childhood and adult obesity, it causes dental caries, lowers the immune response and can increase diabetes risk.
They are acidic
Cold drinks are loaded with phosphoric acid. One of the major issues with this, is potential bone loss. Phosphoric acid competes with calcium for absorption in the gut, and acidity itself can upset calcium balance. Excessive intake of cold drinks could therefore pose a risk for osteoporosis.
Any flavouring added to your cold drink is artificial, not natural.
Many contain caffeine
Cola varieties of drinks, with some exceptions, all contain caffeine. Caffeine acts as a general stimulant and in high quantities can be over stimulating and causes anxiety. It also acts as a diuretic and urinary tract irritant. Adding to the fact that caffeine is addictive, high intakes have been linked to migraine headaches, osteoporosis, heart disease and pre-menstrual syndrome.
The artificial sweeteners are probably worse than the sugar
Many have turned to diet or lite varieties of cold drinks to prevent the adverse effects of excess sugar in the diet, only to have to worry about the effects on excess aspartame. Aspartame has come under some scrutiny over the years with suggestions that it may be responsible for a variety of different ailments, from autoimmune disorders to cancers. Although these effects are unconfirmed, there is evidence to suggest that aspartame (which can cross the blood brain barrier) can affect brain function. It has also been proven to cause sugar cravings and overeating.