Are certain calories more harmful than others?
Most people would probably assume that all calories are basically the same. However, this is not entirely true. Researchers have now found that calories from sugar-sweetened beverages are particularly unhealthy and harmful compared to the same number of calories in other foods.
The University of California, Davis scientists found in their current study that calories from sugary drinks are more harmful than calories from other sources. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Obesity Reviews".
Are calories all the same?
The general rule is that a calorie is a calorie, and excess calories from any source are likely to cause weight gain and increase the risk of illness. However, in reality it seems to be a little different.
Avoid consuming these drinks
Noteworthy is the warning that calories from sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, liqueur, fruit juice, energy drinks, and other non-alcoholic beverages with added sugar can be particularly bad for health compared to the same number of calories in other drinks or foods, the scientists say .
Sugary drinks are cardiometabolic risk factors
"Our research stream, which has extensive experience in the areas of nutrition and metabolism, comes to the conclusion that beverages sweetened with sugar represent special cardiometabolic risk factors compared to other beverages or foods," said study author Kimber Stanhope from the University of California, Davis.
Calories from bread and potatoes are healthier
Basically, the study provides information about how sugar-sweetened drinks are not particularly healthy due to the way they are processed by our body, especially compared to starchy foods such as bread or potatoes, the doctors explain.
Fructose particularly harmful?
The harmful drinks are sweetened with certain types of sugar: either fructose, sucrose, a 50/50 mixture of the simpler sugars glucose and fructose, or high fructose corn syrup, a mixture of glucose and fructose with a higher proportion of fructose. It appears to be fructose in these drinks that accelerates cardiometabolic risk factors because it is processed by the liver, the study authors suspect.
Increased health risk regardless of lifestyle
The health risk associated with sugar-sweetened beverages increases, even if people are actually eating a balanced diet in which the calories they eat and drink are burned by their physical activity. In other words, these people will not gain weight, but they will harm their health. The results are remarkable because the beverage industry often claims that consuming sugary drinks doesn't have a negative impact unless energy balance is balanced, the researchers say.
Sweetener also harmful?
But sweeteners such as aspartame are also blamed for weight gain and poor cardiometabolic health. So far, however, there are no reliable studies on people who can clearly prove this claim.
Which nutrition patterns are healthy?
The study shows how challenging nutritional science can be. It's basically impossible to make studies that can explain so many variables. A healthy nutritional pattern, which consists of minimally processed whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, clearly promotes health more than the typical Western diet. (as)