In today’s world, we often find ourselves reaching for soft drinks when enjoying junk food like pizza, biryani, or potato chips. But it’s important to realize that these drinks, loaded with sugar, aren’t just contributing to obesity; they’re also linked to diabetes, cancer, and other health problems. The growing cases of cancers, especially breast cancer, should encourage us to reconsider our choices. Instead of soft drinks, let’s think about going back to healthier options like buttermilk or yogurt-based lassi. Our health deserves better choices!
Butter Milk (Yogurt Milk)
Lassi or butter milk is a popular yogurt-based drink, originates from the Indian subcontinent. It is prepared by blending yogurt with water and sometimes adding spices, such as cardamom or cumin, to enhance its flavor. It is known for its creamy texture and refreshing taste and is a popular beverage choice, especially during summer. It is rich in calcium, protein, vitamins, and beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which support gut health.
What is a Soft Drink
A soft drink, also known as a soda, pop, or carbonated beverage, is a flavored and carbonated non-alcoholic beverage. It typically contains water, sweeteners (such as sugar or artificial sweeteners), flavorings, and carbon dioxide gas, which gives the drink its characteristic fizziness. They come in a variety of flavors and are widely available in cans, bottles, and fountain dispensers. They are often consumed as refreshments and are popular choices in social settings and meals. However, due to their high sugar content and potential negative health effects, there has been increasing concern about the consumption of cold drinks and their impact on various health conditions.
The term “soft drink” distinguishes non-alcoholic beverages from “hard drinks” or alcoholic beverages. The word “soft” denotes the absence of alcohol in the beverage. In contrast, “hard drinks” denote alcoholic beverages, which contain varying levels of alcohol content.
Yogurt drink is a nutrient-dense probiotic food with unique properties, is associated with healthy dietary patterns. It contributes to improved diet quality and metabolic well-being when consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern. Further research should be conducted exploring the effects of yogurt consumption on nutritional status and health. Yogurt offers a simple and cost-effective means of enhancing the nutritional value, including the intake of live bacteria and their metabolites. Furthermore, yogurt’s versatility as a carrier for specific probiotic bacteria and prebiotic compounds presents additional health benefits.
One serving of the famous beverage, which is equivalent to 1 bottle (20fl oz), contains 240 calories. It has 0 grams of total fat, 75 milligrams of sodium, and 65 grams of total carbohydrates. The total sugars in one serving are 65 grams, which includes 65 grams of added sugars, contributing to 130% of the daily value. The beverage does not provide any protein. It is not a significant source of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. The caffeine content of this beverage is 57 milligrams per 20 fluid ounces.
Yogurt is widely used as home remedies for pancreatitis, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. It is recommended in diet charts for diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and paraplegia. Obesity, linked to chronic diseases in both developed and developing nations, can be mitigated through yogurt consumption. Yogurt is beneficial for individuals with lactose intolerance, constipation, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Evidence suggests that it may improve the health of obese individuals by enhancing gut health, reducing chronic inflammation, and regulating appetite.
Added sweeteners in regular cold drinks play a significant role in our diet, contributing to a considerable calorie intake. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), introduced in the late 1960s and 1970s, opened new avenues for the sweetener and soft drink industries. Caramel coloring, present in soft drinks, is rich in advanced glycation end products, leading to increased insulin resistance and inflammation. High fructose diets are linked to fatty liver, liver inflammation, and metabolic disorders. Cold drinks are associated with obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases.
Soft drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, particularly in women who consume it more than once a month. Its high caloric content contributes to higher BMI, obesity, and insulin resistance, and cancer. A dose-response relationship was observed, with a higher frequency of soft drink consumption and breast cancer. Interestingly, women who consumed soft drinks 10-12 times per month had lower odds of breast cancer. A positive relationship was identified between total soft drink consumption and mortality from colorectal cancer.
Aspartame in Diet Cold Drinks
Aspartame is a commonly used artificial sweetener in food and pharmaceutical industries. Studies suggest that its consumption is associated with diabetes, obesity, and alterations in gut microbiota. Aspartame may lead to mental health issues such as mood disorders and depression. It may be transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy relating to autism in children. Long-term intake may impact cerebral and cerebellar function, potentially leading to neurodegeneration and disruptions in learning and memory. The genotoxicity and carcinogenic potential of aspartame remains uncertain, but some studies indicate increased cell proliferation and markers associated with cancer.
The transition from butter milk or lassi, with its potential anticancer properties, to commercially available cold drinks raise concerns. Soft drinks, often high in sugar and containing additives, can promote carcinogenesis, insulin resistance and genotoxicity. Promoting healthier beverage choices through education, policy interventions, and collaboration within the industry is crucial for society.