Fizzy research no deterrent

16:00, Dec 06 2013
vending machine, soft drinks
BRAIN DAMAGE: Research suggests sugar sweetened drinks may do more damage than just adding weight.

Some Timaru consumers are not put off soft drinks despite research showing the effects of sugar sweetened drink could lead to Alzheimer's disease or cancer.

Analysis undertaken on rats by Sydney's Macquarie University behavioural neuropharmacology lab found sugar sweetened drinks could change proteins produced in the brain.

Twenty per cent of the proteins related to decision-making were different in the rats that drank sugary drinks compared to those rats that had been given water.

Jane Franklin and Jennifer Cornish who worked on the project found the sugary drink rodent group was significantly more hyperactive than the control group.

"Hyperactivity is a physical sign that something unusual is happening in the brain and is probably a reflection of changes being made to return the system back to its pre-sugar state, after it had adjusted to prolonged sugar consumption," Ms Franklin said.

Out of six people spoken to by the South Canterbury Herald, on the data, only one did not drink soft drinks. Gerald Winter said he gave up drinking fizzy drinks because he no longer liked them.


Timaru student Kevin Flowers drank soft drink every day but unless he had proof that the fluid was causing damage to his brain was reluctant to change his habits.

His mother Debbi Chamberlain consumes about three cans of diet coke a day. She said her grandmother had never drunk soft drinks and always ate healthily and now suffered with alzheimers.

"I do not think it (sugary drinks) make an impact," Ms Chamberlain said.

Cody Winchester a supermarket worker said he had been drinking fizzy most of his life and did not think he had been affected by it so was not concerned.

Other young adults approached and shown the research were not keen to make changes unless they saw definitive proof of its negative impacts.

Only apprentice hairdresser Sarah Curry said she may opt for milk instead.

While more work is needed to determine the exact effect of these changes, just under half of the altered proteins are known to be involved in the cellular function of the brain, including determining cellular life span, communication and DNA repair.

Thirty per cent of the changed proteins are linked with conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

South Canterbury