Posted by: Y | 2009-02-26

Carbonated soft drinks really that bad?

Dear DietDoc,

I have consulted a registered dietician in Cape Town. She recommended that I cut out all Coke Light and Sprite Zero (up to now I' ve been drinking about 4 glasses of the above per day, in addition to about 6 - 8 glasses of water), because of all the " phosphates and rubbish"  that it contains..

I' m not fond of hot drinks (i.e. coffee, tea, etc.), and balked when the dietician told me I have to switch to tea or coffee with 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar (not non-nutritive sweetener) and low fat milk. She then said I must rather drink home made ice-tea (about 3/4 rooibos tea and 1/4 fruit juice).

I' m enjoying the homemade icetea, but are worried that I' m now drinking too much fruit juice per day. Is Coke Light really so bad as part of a slimming diet?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Y
You need to discuss this issue in depth with your own dietitian. However, the problem with any of these cold drinks as your dietitian said, is that it is not really the non-nutritive sweetener that is problematic when used in moderate quantities, but the other artificial ingredients that are used. There is some evidence that the cola-type cold drinks do have a high content of phosphates that could affect your calcium intake. Her suggestion that you use home-brewed rooibos tea and 1/4 fruit juice is good. If you have 4 glasses of the mixture you would in total have a glass of fruit juice per day which would not increase your energy intake too much (i.e. 250 ml of apple juice would provide about 500 kJ which represents approx. 8,8% of your daily energy intake which is not excessive.
At the end of the day, we as dietitians can only give patients advice and it is up to them if they want or can follow the advice.
Best regards

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