What to drink - are soft drinks soft on your body?

What to drink and what not to drink? Surely a soft drink is better for you than something alcoholic? An innocuous little soft drink can’t do much harm, can it? Just a little drink of orange squash must be satisfying at least part of your 1 of 5 fruit and veg per day, mustn’t it?

Well, no, it’s not. Usually it’s a glass of sugar, colourings, flavourings and chemical sweeteners immersed in water. You buy the sugar free brand? Then you have more chemical sweeteners in your glass, some of which have curious credentials. Did you know, aspartame, for instance, one of the most popular sweeteners was actually discovered as a drug intended to treat ulcers. This means that you are taking medication every time you have a soft drink with this chemical sweetener in it.

Acesulfame Potassium (K) is another commonly used chemical sweetener. It is true that studies carried out have been done on animals as human testing is still limited. However, in the case of rodent testing, lung tumours, breast tumours and some types of rare tumours on other organs were noted, along with chronic respiratory disease and several forms of leukaemia. Obviously, this is a very condensed example but enough, I hope, to inspire you to reconsider your choices of drink.

rhubarb tea Photo courtesy of Lara Ferroni

And what's the truth about colas and fizzy drinks? With the average can of cola containing 7 teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories, just giving up one can per day will save you 51,100 calories a year, enough to loose about 14lbs!! If you gain these benefits by giving up just one can of cola a day, imagine what taking this idea further will do for you!

Beauty secret: Cut out fizzy drinks and soft drinks.

So, if colas and juices are out, what should you drink? Herbal teas are often a good alternative. Fruit teas can be taken hot or cold, although some promise more than they deliver by way of taste, so don’t be put off by the first flavour you try if you don’t like it. If you are happy with dairy products, milk can be a good alternative (if you eat right, you won’t need to worry about calories) as can tea or the occasional cup of coffee. With recent reports that coffee may perhaps help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay, you have a good reason to drink it!

Photo courtesy of enat soya milk

My absolute favourite drink is redbush (Rootboosch) tea taken quite weak and black. It is caffeine free and so it’s just as good a bed time drink as any. Even my boyfriend, who used to be a big Pepsi drinker, now drinks redbush as his regular drink and he's even learnt to love it! Now that's what to drink!

I also love heated soya or oat milks as they are wonderfully comforting. When you are out and there really is nothing you can drink, take it as an opportunity to take in the best drink of all. Water. On a cold day, I just ask for a mug of hot water. Try revising your drinking habits for a month and see how much better you feel.

Beauty secret: Try redbush tea, soya milk or oat milk. And don't forget to drink plenty of water.

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