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Beware of fizzy drinks

Dawn Gibson
Monday, April 28, 2014

NOT many people understand the extent to which something as seemingly harmless as a single fizzy drink can impact their health, particularly if it's habitual to consume this drink — one a day means seven in a week.

And the misconception that a packet juice is somehow better for you than a carbonated one also needs to be addressed, and as NCD national adviser Dr Isimeli Tukana describes: "Just because it doesn't hiss when you open it, doesn't mean it's good for you."

Dr Tukana said Fijians, especially younger ones who are still growing, needed to get used to the idea of quenching their thirst with water.

"Water is made up of two hydrogens and one oxygen and is crystal clear. There is no carbon nor colour in water, as is present in most water-based, carbonated, multi-coloured drinks.

"Fizzy drinks have a few challenges and one is carbon — that hissing sound you hear when opening a bottle or can is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is supposed to be coming out of the body and not into the body."

He said a second issue was the hidden sugars in fizzy drinks and packet juice mixes.

"Fizzy drinks contain a lot of hidden sugars — some as much as 10 teaspoons of sugars in a can or bottle — too many simple sugars.

"Then the colour —Fijians don't need coloured drinks, just fresh, clean water. So, carbon plus too many sugars plus the colour is not good for health and wealth."

A senior nutritionist with the National Food and Nutrition Centre, Alvina Deo, said one of the biggest problems with packet mixes was the tendency to add extra sugars to the mix after it's made.

"Cordials and packet of juice mixes are just as bad as carbonated drinks.

Additionally, she said drinks which were advertised as being "sugar-free" should also be avoided.

"Sugar-free drinks have artificial sweeteners. It appears that by avoiding sugar and using artificial sweeteners, the body is not able to regulate hunger and appetite, which leads to increased consumption."

So, Dr Tukana and Mrs Deo suggest it's time Fijians take their health into their own hands and make the more difficult choice — consume the healthier drink and stick to it.

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