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Cutting back on fizzy drinks

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Have you got a fizzy drink habit? If you find yourself constantly reaching for a can, you may well need to be cutting back.

Sugary fizzy drinks aren't the best choice for health, so enjoy them occasionally as part of a varied, healthy diet. Better still, swap to low calorie alternatives.

We've looked at the research and come up with some healthier drinks for you to try out.

Sugary fizzy drinks

Sugary fizzy drinks just add extra calories to our diet, and their acidity and sugar content increase the chance of tooth decay. There’s some evidence that children who have fizzy drinks regularly are more likely to be overweight than children who drink them less often.

The British Medical Association supported calls for a tax on sugary drinks in its 2015 "Food for Thought" report. A sugar levy on drinks manufacturers was announced in the 2016 budget.

Professor Shelia Hollins, the BMA science chair, said: "While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are often of limited nutritional value and when people in the UK are already consuming far too much sugar, we are increasingly concerned about how they contribute to conditions like diabetes."

One report suggests that people who have 1 or 2 cans of sugary drink a day have a 26% greater risk of developing diabetes than people who hardly ever drink them, but the reason for this is unknown.

"It's recommended that only 5% of our daily calories should come from ‘added’ sugar and that equates to around 25g of sugar or roughly 7 teaspoons," says Rebecca Lawton, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. "Given that a can of sugary drink has around 9 teaspoons, one can already puts you over the recommended total daily limit."

She says: "Added sugars are a risk in terms of obesity, and the conditions that come with it like heart disease, so save a sugary drink if you have to have one for an occasional treat."

And don’t forget sports and energy drinks. Their sugar content is hidden behind their functional claim. If you want a fizzy drink, always choose the sugar free ‘diet’ version.

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