You may have read or heard health advisories that caution you against chugging too much alcohol or downing a can of cola (or whichever soft drink your choice of poison is). But are they equally harmful to your health or is one more dangerous than the other? Read on to find out.
Let’s use 4 key parameters to compare the harmful effects of both the drinks-
Drinking too much alcohol over a prolonged period of time can-
- Slow down the activity of your nervous system.
- Lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
- Inhibit the function of the kidneys and the pancreas.
- Cause ulcers of the stomach.
- Cut off blood supply to the heart and gradually weaken it.
- Increase the risk of contracting cancer.
What can soft drinks do to your body?
- Drinking soft drinks in excess will lead to the deposit of fats in your liver, and increase your risk of fatty liver disease.
- It can cause weight gain, especially around the tummy.
- It can adversely affect your heart health.
As far as toxicity is concerned, alcohol has more troubling implications on your health than soft drinks.
- Glycaemic Score
When you ingest a particular food or drink, it raises the level of sugar in your blood. This is the glycaemic index and a score between 0-100 is ascribed to all foods and drinks according to the sugar boost.
Distilled alcoholic drinks such as vodka, rum, brandy, or whiskey have a negligible glycaemic index. In that sense, they’re not very harmful.
But cola and soft drinks of that ilk are packed with sugar. They can cause a dramatic surge of sugar levels in your body. This could eventually lead to insulin resistance- the culprit behind Type 2 Diabetes.
So, on that score, alcohol is less damaging than soft drinks. However, cocktails- which are sugary alcoholic drinks, have the same effect on your body as soft drinks. So, drink responsibly in more ways than one.
- Weight Gain
It’s well known that both alcohol and soft drinks can be fattening. Moreover, people tend to consume both with fried, unhealthy snacks that do your weight-loss goals no favours.
Alcohol is a hunger stimulant. However, drinking in moderation- one drink if you’re a woman and two if you’re a man, will not lead to substantial weight gain.
But, the added sugars in soft drinks directly lead to drastic weight gain and eventually, obesity. And obesity, in turn, can be a magnet to a host of lifestyle ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
In fact, a standard can (330 ml) of cola contains as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar! So in weighty matters (both literally and metaphorically), alcohol emerges a clear winner.
- Nutritional Value
There’s not much to choose between alcohol and soft drinks when it comes to nutritional benefits. Neither drink has any dietary value.
However, studies have shown that infinitesimal consumption of alcohol can boost heart health and mitigate the effects of hypertension, Alzheimer’s or diabetes. Red wine contains antioxidants that can fight infections, keep the dreaded free radical in check, and even ward off cancer.
Soft drinks, on the other hand, do no favours to your body in terms of nutrition and can only have a ruinous effect on you.
Alcohol and soft drinks both have the potential to wreak havoc on your health. But, between the devil and the deep sea, alcohol is a little less dangerous than soft drinks simply because it has a handful of health benefits. But, only if it is consumed in moderation.