Staying trim and maintaining a healthy weight seems to be increasingly difficult as food quality continues to deteriorate and access to nourishing food vs. life sucking processed foods seems to decline by the minute. However, it may be what you are drinking that could be significantly contributing towards weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes.
We all know that coca-cola and pepsi are horrible for you, but what about the "healthy" line of beverages these company peddle to help support your health and well being. These companies are only good at one thing, and that is making their shareholders extremely wealthy, and they will go to whatever unscrupulous means needed to satisfy their shareholders. It has recently come out that Coca-Cola has been paying off prominent scientist to lie about the etiology of obesity. Coca-cola has promoted that the current obesity crisis is due to physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle vs. a poor diet and overconsumption of sugar. Whereas in reality obesity is primarily driven by poor diet as Dr.Fung has clearly detailed in his excellent book The Obesity Code.
However, what is more pernicious than drinks such as coca cola or pepsi, which are clearly poison for the human body, are the new wave of "healthy" drinks that are loaded with sugar, but which is ignored due to the deceptive marketing about these products. For example Coca Cola's Vitamin Water is the biggest scam there is. It is just as bad as having a can of coca cola!
So a 20oz bottle of Vitamin Water has practically the same amount of sugar as a 12 oz can of coca cola. So essentially Vitamin Water is just an overpriced and expertly marketed sugar water drink with a random assortment of synthetic vitamins thrown in with dubious nutritional value. Let's take a look at the ingredient list of Vitamin Water more closely to see if it further supports this story. Absolutely! The top three ingredients (ingredients are listed in descending order of the amount in the drink) are water sugar and more sugar! The reason I am so vehemently opposed to Vitamin Water and other drinks of its kin such as Coca Cola's Odawalla brand or Pepsi's Naked brand is that unlike coca-cola which essentially everyone knows is terrible for your health, these drinks are being guzzled down with the mistaken notion that they may support your health and well-being.
So what is the big deal about all this overconsumption of overpriced sugar water? Researchers from Cambridge University have found that consumption of one sweetened sugar beverage per day increases the risk of the development of diabetes by 13% independent of adiposity (1). Therefore in layman's terms that means if two individuals who have the exact same body weight and body fat % and one drinks one sweetened sugar beverage per day they would have a 13% increase in the risk of developing diabetes. Further, they estimated that on average 8.7% of the expected 20.9 million new diabetes cases in the United States over the next decade are attributable to the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (1). Therefore, around 1.8 million cases of diabetes in the United States could be prevented solely by stopping the consumption of these sugar sweetened beverages (1).
So what should you drink then? Are fruit juices or artificial sweetened drinks okay? The evidence is building up against these drinks, but the science becomes a lot more complicated and nuanced. However, the simple answer is NO. Stick to water and potentially UNSWEETENED full fat grass fed milk or milk substitute (ex. coconut milk/almond milk) if it is appropriate for you. You will never go wrong just drinking water and potentially some unsweetened milk as its something we as a species have been doing for thousands of years. Just remember a lot of these 'healthy' drinks are just clever marketing, and an exorbitant amount of sugar intended to get you hooked to these drinks so you keep coming back for more.
- Ignore the clever but deceitful marketing by many of these untrustworthy beverage companies and instead focus on the nutritional info. Stay away from drinks with high levels of added sugar.
- Drink water, it is as simple as that if you want to give yourself the best chance at staying fit and trim and avoiding metabolic disease.
If you can’t sustain it, it’s not worth it.
1 Imamura, F., O’Connor, L., Ye, Z., Mursu, J., Hayashino, Y., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Forouhi, N. G. (2015). Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 351, h3576. https://doi.org/10.1136/BMJ.H3576
I am a medical student who is obsessed with the Be Activated Muscle Activation Technique, mastering movement and understanding what makes humans thrive.