Fizzy drink fan? Research shows you’ll eat a bad diet too

a close up of a bowl

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You are what you eat as the old saying goes… and what you drink.

In a study jointly conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Exeter, researchers found a direct correlation between buying fizzy drinks and purchasing high-calorie, diet disaster food.

And it didn’t matter if the drinks were full-fat or diet, results showed that those who regularly reached for the fizzy stuff were at greater risk of obesity and tended to purchase less healthy foods, including a high proportion of energy from sweet snacks.

Nearly 9,000 British homes took part in the study, with results published in PLOS Medicine.

The data collected showed 48 per cent of households purchased medium-to-high volumes of sugary drinks and 16 per cent of households purchased high volumes of diet drinks. Other households mainly purchased fruit juice, water, or alcoholic drinks such as beer or wine.

Households purchasing high volumes of sugary or diet drinks were more likely to have low socioeconomic status, higher body mass index (BMI), and overall less healthy food purchases, characterised by a high proportion of energy obtained from sweet snacks – approximately 18 per cent.

“These households (who buy a lot of fizzy drinks) might additionally benefit from policies that target sweet snacks, as a way of reducing excess energy intake, and also helping to reduce socioeconomic inequalities – for example, by extending the UK Treasury sugary drinks industry levy to sweet snacks,” said lead author Dr Nicolas Berger.

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