In 2016, the BBC reported that in the UK alone, we got through 14.8 billion litres
of fizzy drinks the previous year, or 233 litres per person. To keep it simple, if we assume the average fizzy drink contains 10g per 100ml of sugar and therefore 100g per litre; that means the average person in the UK received 23,290g of sugar just from fizzy drinks. Grams are hard to visualise, so let’s keep it simple. Most dieticians agree that there are 4g of sugar in an average teaspoon, so in the UK the average person is consuming 5,822 teaspoons full of sugar each year, just from fizzy drinks.
According to Coke’s own website, they sell more than 1.9 billion drinks per day and, according to www.coca-cola.co.uk on the 19th November 2019, in a regular 330ml can of Coke Classic there are seven teaspoons (35g) of sugar. They also state, “Our original and iconic cola is still our top-seller. However, 43% of the cola we now sell is made up of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Life, which have less or no sugar”. Interesting isn’t it that they want to let us know that a lot of people are moving to the no- or low-sugar options?
Now for a little bit of maths. Let us assume that Coke drinkers around the world are similar to the UK and are consuming 57% Coke Classic. How much sugar is that? It works out as 1,080,000,000 drinks per day, which is approximately 37,800,000,000g of sugar. If you’re struggling to visualise this number, here is a comparison: the amount of sugar consumed in Coke Classic around the world each day weighs far more than the weight of 1,000 London double-decker buses!
To keep it simple, I have created the following chart. It shows how many teaspoons of sugar we consume in each standard-sized 330ml can. Admittedly some of the brands don’t actually produce a standard can, but I felt it the fairest comparison.
Soda Can sugar comparison
Dr Dan Maggs
If you take just one thing away from this health Results programme, it would be don’t drink sugary drinks!
Dr Jen Unwin
Is sugar addictive?
There is a lot of evidence and mechanisms to show that sugar is addictive. A lot of behaviours you see around food are indeed addictive behaviours. When we eat sugar, various things happen. Insulin goes up, and in the presence of insulin, other things happen. It’s much easier for tryptophan to pass the blood-brain barrier, and tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which is the happy hormone. So if you have a lot of sugar, you get a temporary serotonin happy boost. Because you are going to want to have that feeling, it is something you are going to want to repeat. The receptors then make it habit-forming. It then becomes all about short term pleasure and rewards, often at the detriment of long-term happiness.
Dr Jason Fung
Talking about the big fizzy pop manufacturers.
Knowing that they were fighting a losing battle in much of North America and Europe, they took aim at Asia to make up for lost profits. Asian sugar consumption is rising at almost 5 per cent per year, even as it has stabilised or fallen in North America. The result has been a diabetes catastrophe. In 2013, an estimated 11.6 per cent of Chinese adults had type 2 diabetes, eclipsing even the long-time champion: the US, at 11.3 per cent. Things are even more shocking when you consider that only 1 per cent of Chinese had type 2 diabetes in 1980. In a single generation, the diabetes rate rose by a horrifying 1,160 per cent. Sugar, more than any other refined carbohydrate, seems to be particularly fattening and leads to type 2 diabetes.
Dr Joanne McCormack
I have a slide in my presentation that I share with my groups and it says, “You wouldn’t feed your plants Coca-Cola, so why would you consume it yourself?”.
In Mexico, its obesity rates have tripled in just 3 decades! It is said to now have the fattest children in the world. Here is some frightening research highlighting the deadliness of sugar…
Published in International Journal of Obesity on 10th December 2019.
Background - In 2010, sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) were estimated to cause 12% of all diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and obesity-related cancer deaths in Mexico. Using new risk estimates for SSBs consumption, we aimed to update the fraction of Mexican mortality attributable to SSBs, and provide subnational estimates by region, age, and sex.
Results - In Mexican adults 20 years and older, 6.9% of all cause-mortality was attributable to SSBs, representing 40,842 excess deaths/year. Furthermore, 19% of diabetes, CVD and obesity-related cancer mortality was attributable to SSBs , representing 37,000 excess deaths/year .
In other words, the research is suggesting 37,000 people a year in Mexico, die from drinking fizzy pop!