Or ‘carbonated beverages’ here in the states. They’re evil.
The research, by Bangor University and published in the European Journal Of Nutrition, reported that soft drinks actually alter metabolism, so that our muscles use sugar for energy instead of burning fat.
It seems that exposure to liquid sugar causes genes in our muscles to change their behaviour, perhaps permanently.
Not only do we pile on weight, but our metabolism becomes less efficient and less able to cope with rises in blood sugar, say the researchers.
This, in turn, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
‘Having seen all the medical evidence, I don’t touch soft drinks now,’ says Dr Hans-Peter Kubis, a biological scientist and expert in exercise nutrition who led the research.
‘I think drinks with added sugar are, frankly, evil.’
In fact, the Bangor study is only the latest in a long line of reports warning of the link between soft drinks and serious health problems.
A study in March, for example, warned that men who drink a standard 12oz can of sugar-sweetened beverage every day have a 20 per cent higher risk of heart disease compared to men who don’t drink any sugar-sweetened drinks.
The research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, followed more than 42,000 men for 22 years.
Blood tests found soft-drink fans had higher levels of harmful inflammation in their blood vessels, and lower levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
The study suggested this may be a result of the sugar rush these soft drinks cause.
This increased sudden sugar load on the body may also explain research which found just two carbonated drinks (330ml each) every week appears to double the risk of pancreatic cancer, reported the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Meanwhile, soft drinks with high levels of fruit juice may cause severe long-term liver damage, according to an Israeli study.
People who drank two cans of these drinks a day were five times more likely to develop fatty liver disease — a precursor to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Dr Kubis believes that liquid sugars not only alter our bodies, but also foster addict-like responses.
‘The body absorbs liquid sugars so much faster because they are more easily taken into the stomach lining, and this rapid intake fires up the body’s pleasure responses,’ he says.
‘At the same time, your brain reduces its desire for the taste of nutrients such as vitamins or minerals,’ says Dr Kubis. This is what makes these sugary drinks so habit-forming.
‘In lab experiments, even rats who have been made addicted to cocaine will prefer to have a sugary drink instead of cocaine.’
A study in the British Dental Journal found four cans of fizzy drink a day increased the risk of tooth erosion by 252 per cent.