English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...

English: idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals; in addition, effect of sugar-rich meal is highlighted; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RESEARCH suggests that just one fizzy soft drink per day could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 40%.

A 15-year study at Lund University in Sweden and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tracked the health of 8,000 men aged between 45-73 and found that men who drink at least 300ml of a sugary soft drink per day were at greater risk of prostate cancer. Those who ate large amounts of cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals were linked with a less serious form of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common men’s cancer with about 36,000 cases diagnosed in the UK each year (most aged 70 or over). Fizzy drinks are also linked to teenage aggression, as well as stroke, liver damage and premature aging.

The sugar in fizzy drinks and other sweet things is believed to release insulin, which may feed tumours. Excess sugar promotes extreme swings in your blood sugar levels that often feel like an energy ‘boost’ followed by a ‘crash’. To even out your blood sugar levels, it’s best to eat little and often, and to eat high fibre, unrefined, ‘slow release’ foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

It’s far healthier to snack on carrot and celery sticks (which taste surprisingly sweet), a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds, and to drink pure water, fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas. And don’t switch to diet fizzy drinks to avoid the added sugar, as the artificial sweeteners are just as unhealthy as the sugar.

That way, you won’t crave unhealthy stimulants to give you an energy boost.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Soft drinks, aspartame, and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease Am J Clin Nutr 2012 96: 6 1249-1251; First published online November 7, 2012.

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