My formal ban on soft drinks, pop and fruit juices

Such is the power of advertising and peer-pressure that I felt, as usual, a tad of a meanie when I offered tea, coffee or water to Pete, who was fitting some bookshelves for me.

But I don’t have soft drinks or fruit juices around for myself or family. When we’re thirsty, we drink tap-water, next-to-nothing in cost and zero calories. Thirst-quenching too.

Yet . . .  it’s no wonder that we have an obesity problem in the United Kingdom.

As a population, we’re taking in calories, and lots of ’em. from sugary drinks — and that includes fizzy drinks, energy drinks and squashes and cordials, plus healthy-sounding fruit juices.

This is according to a draft report, Carbohydrates and Health by the prestigious Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

It’s a weighty tome, over 360 pages. But the nub of it all is in Section 12, an easier-to-cope with few pages (pp210-18).

If nowt else, take in these two paragraphs (my highlighting):

The evidence considered in this report endorses a dietary pattern concerning carbohydrates that is based on whole grains, pulses (e.g. kidney beans, haricot beans, lentils), potatoes, vegetables and fruits, but limiting the amounts consumed of table sugar and rich sources of free sugars, such as preserves and sweet spreads, fruit juice, confectionery, biscuits, buns and cakes. The report also provides evidence that sugars sweetened beverages should be consumed in minimal (i.e. infrequently and in small) amounts.

National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that, as a whole, the population consumes more than the recommended amount of sugars and the intakes of fibre are below current advice. With the proposed increase of the dietary reference value for fibre and the reduction of the dietary reference value for free sugars, the difference between recommendations and the population’s intake would become even greater for both. In order to address this imbalance, there needs to be a change in the population’s diet so that people derive a greater proportion of dietary energy from carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in free sugars and high in dietary fibres.

I now feel a heck of a lot better about not having pop and juices in my place. Matter of fact, I’m now going to have a formal ban on them.



  2 thoughts on “My formal ban on soft drinks, pop and fruit juices

  1. Hi Kate, I applaud this. Sugary drinks are not requried for hydration, and add no nutritonal value to the diet, just “emply calories”. And most of us don’t need additional calories.Even sugar free fizzy drinks are bad for our teeth.

    One small glass of fruit juice a day can help some people to meet their 5 A Day, and this should be consumed with a meal, to protect teeth from fruit sugar (fructose).

    When we eat saliva is produced, which gives this protection, which is why eating a piece of fruit is not damaging in the same way as drinking juice.

  2. Thanks for raising this important issue, Kate. Water is the best drink of all for our health. Some say it acts as a nutrient to the brain, not just a solvent from other nutrients (Batmanghelidj F 1992: Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Tagman Press).

    We have all the sugar we need from fresh fruit and vegetables and certainly don’t need more. As consumers, we should read labels carefully and look out for “juice-drinks” that contain added sugar or non-nutrient sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame. These may do as much damage as sugar.

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