Saturday, 11 June 2011

Oh For F*#% sake

“Diet fizzy drinks linked with a higher risk of heart attacks & strokes. Find out more & tell us your view:

My views, you want to know my views?! I’ll tell you my frikkin’ views! You have got to be kidding me?!

Or so went my reaction to the recent twitter message by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Oh that is brilliant. So now we diabetics can’t drink diet fizzy drinks, regular (full-fat) fizzy drinks, fruit juice or milk in any sort of quantity, beer, wine and spirits (beyond the recommended daily allowance), tea and coffee with sugar (I assume you can have some throughout the day but not too much. I don’t drink tea so I’m not sure what the impact is of diabetes on tea drinkers – perhaps DUK can run a forum or you can respond to this blog and let me know). What the heck are we supposed to drink?

Well the BHF website offers the following wonderful suggestions:

“Healthier alternatives people can enjoy are water, un-sweetened fruit juice or low fat milk.”

But hang on just one minute – fruit juice and milk both raise my sugar levels – that’s fructose and lactose and we know that we can have some milk with our breakfast or a glass a day of fruit juice but I wouldn’t recommend them as alternatives to diet fizzy drinks, which leaves – water!

Water, water everywhere; nor any drop to drink – goes the rime of the ancient mariner. Water, water everywhere; it’s all we can drink – goes the tale of the annoyed diabetic.

So the next thing to check is how good was the study? Is it just another one of those ‘apples gives/cures cancer’ stories the Daily Mail are so fond of?

The first thing to note is that it is being promoted by the BHF and that is usually a sign that the study is credible – that said the Lancet published the fraudulent study by the now struck off Andrew Wakefield that MMR gives you autism (there is no evidence to back these claims, and Whittaker was set to make a mint off the controversy).

The study seems to look like it is ok. It was done by credible people, on a large scale and is being used by the BHF. Things we don’t know – is it repeatable? Are there contributing factors – such as many diabetics turned to diet drinks and they are just more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes? Until further research is done and an academic consensus is reached I’ll take my chances with the fizzy stuff (Dr Pepper Zero and Orangina Zero in particular). That said, I’ll keep eating balanced healthy meals and maybe walk up an extra set of steps or two – just as a comfort blanket.

I do quite like fresh mint tea.

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