Sugar Consumption and Junk Food


Earlier studies by experts at St Georges University London had earlier proven a link between teenage consumption of sugary drinks and impulses towards fatty and salty foods. They found that the stomach’s gut lining absorbed these food types more quickly and activated the brains pleasure centre quickly. Their brain then also dampened its impulses towards intake of vitamins and minerals.

These cravings or impulses as driven by the brain create the addictive effect towards sugary drinks and salty or fatty foods. UK research on rats has shown that sugar is as addictive to the brain as cocaine and there is a role in sugar intake in the creation of addictive impulses in humans.

sugar

 

Adults do not suffer strong sugar addiction withdrawal symptoms but this is not true in children who have been found to react and have bodily withdrawal symptoms of a stronger intensity. Tantrums, restlessness, sweats and distracted attention are noted behaviours.  Longer term studies are underway to explore the implications of these observations and findings.

The range of fruit and sport energy drinks are not immune from this discussion as many have higher sugar levels than some fizzy drinks, and as well may also contain addictive amounts of caffeine and related substances. Studies show that both these classes of drinks are more marketing hype than offering any benefit to users in sporting or a health context. Weight gain was determined as being the only likely outcome.

The other main concern about all these categories of drinks is the corrosive impact they have on childrens’ and adults’ teeth. Studies by dentists as reported in the UK British Dental Journal as well as the USA Oral Hygiene Journal both noted findings about cols and citric acids in drinks.

They respectively noted that citric acid which is a common “tangy” ingredient in all these drinks increased the risk of tooth erosion by 252 percent and that cola drinks are 10 times as corrosive as fruit juice in their first 3 minutes of teeth contact.

Many USA based health organisations are reviewing all the research and are calling for regulation  as well as a review of the whole drinks industry guidelines. Medical groups are linking the obesity crisis the western world in part to the habit forming roles around food and diet that soft drinks play in shaping recent generations’ health outcomes. Obesity is the new smoking crisis in these circles.

The average adult woman is supposed to have a daily intake of 90grams of sugar in their diet while a man can absorb 120 grams per day. Children are supposed to have a far lower intake. Many soft and fruit drinks provide that daily intake in one can or bottle.

The images of happiness, fun and health which dominate the marketing themes of the drinks industry are not supported by the emerging research findings across numerous types of studies being conducted on human health. These billion dollar industries are not likely to change their products or admit concerns willingly.

Coca Cola paid Olympic organisers more than 100 million pounds to become the official provider of soft drinks to the Olympics. The association between health and excitemen t(Olympics) to coke cola becomes entrenched by such opportunities. The burden on regulating these drinks falls down to families and individuals.

The role of emotions and stress in creating impulses for sugary food and drink intake is also revealed by several studies. In bodymind science we note that addictions and emotional issues including depression seem to accompany sugar cravings in many people. A soft drink can be an easy crutch to obtain when the impulse strikes.

The answer lies in education and discipline of choice. The declining mental, emotional and physical health in society of a wider cross section of the population has some of its roots in our choice of foods and drinks. We should be mindful of our choices and not assume that sugary drinks offer any benefit or that they are harmless choices for ourselves and our children.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

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