The potential health effects of excess sugar consumption include an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Artificially-sweetened, low or no-calorie drinks were introduced as a ‘healthier’ choice, yet the weight management effects of artificially-sweetened drinks are contradictory. Some studies record modest weight loss, whereas others say that they may actually promote weight gain because a sweet taste with no calories may interfere with the body’s regulation of appetite and encourage cravings, particularly for other sweet foods. Additionally, various research suggests an association between artificially sweetened drinks and both type 2 diabetes and hypertension. These non-nutritive (no-calorie) sweeteners are artifical chemicals, and people have been known to react to them in different ways, such as suffering headaches. So, if asked to choose between diet drinks or sugary soft drinks, I’d say neither are healthy. Water is ultimately what the body requires – but if you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding fresh cucumber, mint or lime to it, for example, or drink herbal teas or kombucha, which is a fermented tea drink.”
the expert: Yuwa Aghedo lectures at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). Visit for more details.
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