Published in El Pais, 11 August 2018.
Coca Cola never lied to us about how much sugar they contain, and everybody knows that drinking gas drinks is not the healthiest alternative when one is getting thirsty. Although Coca Cola makes a lot of publicity, you won’t catch them telling that it is healthy for you, instead they push it as something that makes you happy, brings the family together and they almost make us believe Santa Claus is their long-term delivery guy. But nothing says it is healthy, simply because it is not, due to all the sugar.
Currently I am working in project in Bolivia that analyzes the state of the nutrition of kids between 4 and 18 years and which types of intervention can improve that. Beside the fact that we discovered that in the urban area about 40% of the kids has overweight or is obese, it was found that barely any kid drinks sufficient liquid during the day. While trying to improve the intake of liquid the most favorite drinks for their breaks turned out to be Coca Cola and juice boxes. When asking which of the two was the healthiest, not surprisingly most said that the juice box was much healthier. After all it contains fruit!
Sadly, none of them are actually healthy alternatives. Juices lie to us! They mislead by telling they are made of fresh fruit, all natural and healthy, while in reality the Coca Cola, the juice box, the PilFrut, many soy-based drink, all contain nearly the same amount of sugar! Even the fresh home-made orange juice, although this one contains also real vitamins and fibers, which are inexistent in your Coca Cola.
A human being needs to drink at least 2 liters of liquids a day, but this can be more depending on the weight and activities. Fortunately, more and more people become aware that drinking more is needed, but it is unfortunate that many people think that drinking juices is a healthy option. If a woman drinks 10 glasses of orange juice a day, she already meets 50% of the needed calories. Well vitamin wise it is excellent, but not if you need to control your calorie intake.
You are better off eating some real fruit and go easy on juice and gas drinks. Better drink some real low-calorie drinks like water or tea when thirsty, and later really enjoy an orange juice or Coca Cola, knowing you are in control.