With scorching heat forcing citizens to stay indoors, cold drinks attract one and all irrespective of the age. But, even as we seek relief for the dried throat, seldom do we think that how healthy are these cold drinks.
“Today we are living in a situation, wherein kids prefer cold drinks over traditional cooling drinks like lassi, fresh juice or jaljeera, lime water, coconut water etc,” said Dr S k Shukla, former head of the department of Medicine,Motilal Nehru Medical college.
Talking about the harmful elements present in the cold drinks, Dr Manisha Dwivedi, head of the gastroentrology department, MN Medical College, told TOI that there are several elements present in these cold drinks, which eventually means that one is drinking carbonated, caffeinated, sugared, or artificially sweetened beverages which is harming the body. “Giving up soft drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health,” she said and added that soda is useless, as soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Many people either forget or don’t realise how many extra calories they consume in what they drink.
Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times, she added.
“Soft drink consumption increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk of liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have,” said Dr Dwivedi.
Senior medical officer, Dr Sam Meesum, said that anything, which promotes weight gain, increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes in making people fat, but it also stresses the body’s ability to process sugar. Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup put more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. When sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it.
Giving his opinion regarding the link between consuming soft drinks and weakening of the bones and risk of osteoporosis, Dr K D Tripathi, a city-based orthopaedic surgeon of the city said, “Frequent consumption of soft drinks may also increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich milk. In 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every 1 cup of sugary drinks and today that ratio stands reversed.”
Osteoporosis is a major health threat for Indians and experts say that the real culprit is soda’s displacement of milk in the diet.
About the consumption of cold drinks and its ill-effect on teeth, dentist Dr Sandeep Singh, said, “Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel. Researches say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay.”
Soda’s acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy. “We urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion, said Dr Singh.
One should also check how that many cold drink companies mention the compositions of the bottle. If one goes through it, one would find soft drinks contain a blend of sugar and phosphoric acid.
This sweet-and-sour cocktail might be gripping for the taste buds, but it is highly corrosive for teeth, especially children’s. “Young tooth enamel is quite porous and more easily dissolved by acids than mature enamel. One thing is for sure that consuming cold drinks having natural fruits like mango or lemon as their basic ingredient are quite safe. But, still they too uses preservatives and people go for it,” said Dr Sandeep.
“The number of persons consuming cold drinks increased with age to 45 per cent of 12 to 15 year and 57 per cent of 16 to 18 year olds,” said the eminent dentist. “When children’s teeth are frequently exposed to acidic drinks, this dissolves the calcium in tooth enamel and over time can lead to a crumbling of the tooth structure and tooth erosion,” Pandey said.
Parents should try to stop kids from consuming these drinks, which is a hard task, promote them to drink these cold drinks by using straw.” By doing so, the harmful things would not touch the teeth,” said Dr Singh.