A Cure for Addiction to Sweet Drinks

April 14, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Soda, sweet drinks, linked to obesity
Consumption of sweet drinks such as soda is one of the major causes of obesity and obesity-related diseases. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The great rise of annual sugar consumption from five pounds per person in the 1800s to the present 132 pounds per person is having grave effects on our health.

Sugar has no nutritive value unless you eat it from sugar cane. Sugar replaces vitamin C in one’s white blood cells, immediately weakening the immune system and causing one to gain weight.

The effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on triglycerides, obesity, and blood sugar are greater than the effects of ordinary sugar, or sucrose. As a result, the introduction of HFCS has led to the present epidemic of chronic disease among all ages, including children and babies.

Dr. Robert Lustig’s video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” (which went from 500,000 hits to more than 2 million hits in two weeks) includes his treatment for obese children. It consists of four steps:

• Eliminate all sweetened drinks, including fruit juices, from the household. Replace them with water and milk.
• Eat carbohydrates with fiber.
• Wait 20 minutes for second helpings.
• Balance screen time and play time (screen time should not exceed playtime).

It is better to eat fruits whole than to drink them. Eating the whole fruit, ideally organic, provides fiber, which slows the uptake of fructose into the system. Often, the parts just under the skin have the most nutrients, such as the anti-oxidants in apples. The white part of an orange skin has bioflavonoids, which complement vitamin C.

Presently even water has additives. Tap water is usually laden with chlorine, which can be filtered out with charcoal filters. Fluorine, a poison, needs a more complex filter. Bottled water is often fluoridated tap water unless it has been through the process of reverse osmosis. Bottled spring or well water is often sold in glass bottles, which is expensive, but one then can avoid drinking plastic.

Dr. Lustig suggests diet soda although without enthusiasm. Diet sodas usually have aspartame. Although deemed by the FDA as being safe, this sweetener can have very adverse neurological effects.

Joseph Mercola, D.O., in his book “Sweet Deception,” tells of one man who experienced altered vision while driving on a highway. He felt he was driving in the sky while the other cars were driving above him on the road.

He managed to pull over and call an ambulance. The ER doctor recognized the symptoms of aspartame poisoning and asked if he drank diet soda. He was drinking two diet sodas a day. He immediately gave this habit up.

There are some sodas that use stevia as a sweetener. Stevia powder comes from a very sweet leaf used for hundreds of years by South Americans to sweeten their maté drinks. So far, no adverse effects have been noted for stevia.

Any beverage, including lemonade and hot or iced tea, can be sweetened with stevia. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so be sure not to use too much.

If one prefers flavor to straight water, there are herb teas such as mint, clover, ginger, and many more that could be explored as alternatives to fruit juices and sodas. Teas should be varied to avoid medicinal effects, such as irritability from frequent use of chamomile.

HFCS is not only in fruit drinks, but also in almost all processed foods. Just read the labels.

Dr. Lustig sees sugar as addictive and explains clearly that HFCS has similar physiological effects to ethanol. He suggests draconian measures to keep HFCS-laden drinks out of the hands of our youth.

This is Part 2 of a series on fructose. Read Part 1: Fructose, the Low-Fat Fattener.