Ceasing drinking sweetened beverages and switching to drinking water is not an easy task. In fact, it is a process of detoxification. Why should I even bother? And maybe it is important, but not to me, maybe there are alternatives to sweetened beverages? And are there recommendations on how to make the change?
Questions about the harm of sweetened beverages and the real quantity of sugar in sweetened beverages
- If I am not diabetic, can drinking sweetened beverages cause me harm?
Certainly. Drinking sweetened beverages can cause many various damages including dental caries, overweight, obesity, fatty liver, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some types of cancer.
- My father is diabetic and recently had a leg amputation The doctors explained that it was caused by diabetes. Is there a connection?
Indeed. Unfortunately 80% of amputations in Israel are performed as a result of the complications of diabetes.
- How much sugar enters our body when we drink a can of sweetened beverage (330ml)?
- Each 100 ml of sweetened beverage contains about 2.42 teaspoons of sugar and therefore a can contains 8 teaspoons of sugar.
- A glass of sweetened beverage contains about 5 teaspoons of sugar in.
- A small half-liter bottle of sweetened beverage contains 12 teaspoons of sugar.
- A 1.5-liter bottle contains more than 30 teaspoons of sugar!
- I usually give my children 100% natural juices without added sugar, and this way my children both drink and enjoy the vitamins as if they eat fruit. Is this recommended?
This is not accurate. Drinking juices, natural juice concentrates such as natural apples and even squeezed juices (100% natural fruit) – causes a rapid and significant leap in blood sugar levels, as occurs after drinking to sugar-sweetened beverages. Therefore, these juices are not recommended. It is recommended to eat fresh fruit but not drink juices.
- I drink sweetened beverages because it is important to drink a lot of fluids and sugar gives me energy. Why is it not good?
Sweetened beverages are indeed an important liquid for the body's water balance, but it is a drink without any caloric value and therefore does not replace nutrients. Sugar and the sweet taste are addictive, so it will increase the need for sweets of all kinds. A large amount of sugar is consumed and, the sugar levels raise at once and then drop quickly.
Questions about solutions and habits
- I drink water during the week but in the weekend I drink sweetened beverages. Is that bad?
Since the harm of sweetened beverages accumulates over time, we may not notice it immediately, but in the long run even people who only drink sweetened beverages in the weekend are at risk of diabetes, caries, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. Even if you drink just one or two glasses during a meal in the weekend, about 24 teaspoons of sugar enter your body, from the drinks alone, in a short period of time.
- So maybe the solution is diet drinks, they are sugar-free. Can you drink them without concern? And maybe they will also help me maintain a healthy weight?
In recent years, the scientific research on the consumption of sugar substitutes and the related health damages has been established. Studies have found a connection between the consumption of sugar substitutes and an increase in the risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and an increase in overall mortality. Additional studies have shown that some of the sugar substitutes have a negative impact on the "good bacteria" in the intestine, thus harming our health.
One more thing: in the past we thought that drinking beverages with sugar substitutes (the various "diet" drinks) help reduce weight, but today nutrition experts believe that the intake of sugar substitutes make the consumption of a sweet taste a habit. It actually increases the consumption of additional sugars and causes unwanted caloric supplementation.
Find out more: Diet drinks – substitute for sugar, not for health
- And what about the children? They want something sweet and it calms them down!
Just as anyone else, children are harmed unfortunately. Sweetened beverages can cause many damages such as dental caries, lack of concentration, excess weight and more. Sweetened beverages will often come at the expense of the some of the food, so children will drink more and eat less healthy food. The calm following such intake of "something sweet" is sometimes replaced by hyperarousal. Give babies and children water only and set a example that will affect the whole family.
- Is tap water safe?
Certainly. Tap water in Israel undergoes quality control processes.
Find out more: Tap water – clearly healthy
Questions and recommendations on quitting sweetened beverages
- Is there any practical advice that can help stop drinking sweetened beverages? It is difficult to suddenly stop.
Indeed, it is difficult, but for those who are used to drinking sweetened beverages, it is advised to gradually reduce the number of drinks you buy (including sweetened beverages, diet drinks, natural concentrates and flavored water) and gradually reduce the number of glasses of sweetened beverages consumed or dilute sweetened beverages with water until finally you get used to drinking water only.
Another piece of advice: do not bring sweetened beverages home at all and make sure sweetened beverages are not available as much as possible.
- What can you drink instead of sweetened beverages?
Water, of course. Get a reusable bottle and fill it with cool water, make sure water is available all the time, drink throughout the day and do not get to the point where you are very thirsty. You can add mint or lemongrass leaves etc.
- And if tap water does not taste good?
The taste of tap water is different in different places and the palate gets used to changes in taste over time. Replacing sweetened beverages with tap water contributes not only to health, it saves money and reduces environmental damages. You can also put the water in a reusable container in the refrigerator: when the water is cold, it tastes better.
- In weekends and when we host, the guests expect a treat. What to do?
Quite the opposite, it turns out many guests do not want unnecessary temptations and prefer water. The recent survey conducted for the Ministry of Health by the Government Advertising Agency found that 70% would like a healthy drink to be served. An impressive meal does not necessarily include sweetened beverages. You can upgrade the water pitcher and add lemon or orange slices, mint or lemongrass leaves and even cucumbers, and might also drink soda.