You’ve probably heard that drinking sugary drinks or consuming too much of sugar harms your teeth and puts you at a higher risk for type-II diabetes. But what if we told you that consuming sugary drinks could cause damage to your hearing? Let’s first understand what are types of sugar drinks that can cause harm to your body.
Types of Sugar Drinks
There are several sweetened beverages available in the market, including carbonated drinks, packaged fruit juices, sweetened milk, shakes, and many others. All of these beverages are sweet in nature, and a lot of sugar is added to make them taste good. Many research articles have been published on how sugary drinks can induce tooth decay and cardiovascular illness, but fewer research findings have been published on how they can potentially cause hearing loss. In this article, we are going to discuss the same using data based on relevant research papers and trusted sources and give you an insight into how harmful sugary drinks are.
Impact on your ear health
Consuming sugar does not directly link to the deterioration of ear health. It effects your sense of hearing in a variety of ways: –
- Displacing nutritional foods: It all starts with displacing the essential nutritional foods with non-essential ones. All these sweet beverages are widely accessible in the market and quite economical when compared to homemade natural fruit juice. People like these beverages owing to a busy and chaotic lifestyle, as a result of which they skip those key foods or drinks that have nutritional content and are extremely beneficial to health. These bottled beverages solely consist of simple sugar, which only offers them calories but no nutritional benefit.
- Weakening the immune system: Because you are missing healthy foods, your body fails to receive the vital nutrients that it requires in order for the immune system to function effectively. As a result, the body’s defense mechanism gets hampered. Excess sugar consumption inhibits the ability of white blood cells to engulf and eliminate harmful pathogens, compromising the overall immune system.
- Otitis media: The bacteria residing in the body takes advantage of the weakened immune system, causing it to proliferate fast, increasing the risk of ear infections such as otitis media. It is an infection that occurs in the space behind the eardrums causing inflammation and pain in the area.
- Tinnitus: This is an illness in which ringing and buzzing sounds begin to show up in the ears. One of the causes for this is changes in how blood travels through surrounding blood vessels. Sugary beverages can have an impact on blood flow and circulation in the body. Blood flow changes to the auditory system might possibly alter tinnitus perception. More study, however, is required to determine the precise mechanisms involved.
Are there any good alternatives for sugary drinks?
Yes, there are numerous sugary drink alternatives available. Consuming these can help to minimize sugar consumption, which can benefit your general well-being. Some of the alternatives are: –
- Regular Water: When an individual is thirsty, the best way to hydrate themselves is plain water. This is the safest and affordable option for restoring the body’s hydration levels.
- Naturally Sweetened Infused Water with Zero Calories: Sometimes plain water is not enough to quench thirst, the desire for sugary drinks is at peak at that point. The best alternative is water flavored with natural sweeteners such as stevia or fruit extract, which has fewer calories compared to conventional sweetened beverages.
- Unsweetened Tea or Coffee: If you want something hot and refreshing, try black coffee or unsweetened tea. You may add some stevia if you want to make it sweeter.
- Natural fruit juice: It is preferable to extract fresh fruit juice at home rather than purchasing packaged juices. In doing so, you consume a drink with nutritious content that is also extremely beneficial for the body.
Has sugary drink consumption decreased in recent years?
Yes, there has been a significant decline in consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB’s). The major reason for this is because people are becoming more aware of harmful effects of sugary beverages. New entrepreneurs are offering extremely nice alternative drinks at cheap prices, and customers have shown a lot of support for such startups.
The implementation of a sugar tax is the second most important factor. According to a recent study, placing a high tax on Sugar beverages reduced their overall consumption by 33.4%. The government has imposed a high tax on such sweetened beverages, causing their costs to rise dramatically. As a result, the prices of SSB’s and natural drinks have become nearly equivalent. As a result, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in unsweetened and natural alternatives.
Does the reduction signify a positive change?
Yes, the reduction signifies a positive change but there’s a twist. Whatever drop in consumption of SSB’s occurred, it was largely among individuals above the age of 30. However, in the (18-24) age group, these figures are still the same. This suggests that a significant portion of the population still uses artificial sweeteners.
This means further efforts are needed to lower intake and promote healthier beverage options. This involves continued public health efforts, tougher restrictions, and more access to less expensive and more appealing alternatives to SSB’s.
Tips for maintaining healthy ears and reducing sugar drink consumption
- Check total sugar amount: When purchasing any sugary beverage, first check the label for the “Total sugar” content. This figure indicates how much sugar will be present in the entire drink, including natural sugars and artificial sugars. Always choose beverages with a low sugar content.
- Be aware of alternative sugar names: Some companies use a different word for sugar in the ingredient list. As a result, you should be wary of sugar substitutes such as sucrose, fructose, maltose, glucose, dextrose, and corn syrup. If you feel the amount of any of these sugars to be excessive, avoid taking it.
- Serving size: Take note of the serving size mentioned on the label. The sugar level may appear lower at times; however, this is due to a smaller serving size. To acquire an accurate sense of the sugar content, consider the portion size you regularly consume. For example: – There are two brands Brand A and Brand B
Brand A: Serving size: 8 fl oz (240 ml), Total sugar: 10g
Brand B: Serving size: 4 fl oz (120 ml), Total sugar: 6g
You will discover less sugar in the brand B, but your opinion will change when you examine the portion size. Then you’ll realize that Brand A has 2 grams of less sugar than Brand B.