Regular, reduced-sugar, or diet - Water is best.

June 24, 2015

If you haven’t already seen it, a 1971 ad for Coca Cola has been reworked. The new video by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) parodies the famous and successful Coca Cola ad. Instead of sharing Coke with the world, the new ad wants to share a drink that doesn’t cause disease. Called Change the Tune, the video reinforces the idea that people should change their choice of drinks.

Using real people, the parody highlights the problems caused by sugary drinks: diabetes, obesity and tooth decay being the primary concerns.

While we know that sugary drinks are not the only problem with a typical Western diet, they form the largest caloric intake for some groups – most particularly for teenagers.

Unfortunately, despite the calories sugary drinks have little effect on satiety and so people eat just as much food. The overall effect is that the person’s daily caloric intake is much higher than it would be without the drinks, and they are no more satisfied.

Sugar has been shown to cause cravings and addiction-like behaviours, causing the consumer to drink more. It can be hard to reduce the amount consumed and of course harder to stop completely. No matter how hard, however, it’s important for long term health to stop.

Some people find it easier to stop if they change to diet drinks, but these can have problems of their own including, of all things, obesity.

A better strategy is to put up with the short-term cravings and discomfort of giving up sugary drinks, and gradually adjust the palate to enjoy foods and drinks that are not sweetened. To begin with it may be that food tastes bland, but over time the taste buds recover from their sugar overload and start working again to allow you to savour the delight of real foods.

Long-term health depends on it.