Hidden Carbs – the Liquid “Fructose Hit”

The water alternative

Watching what you drink is not just about alcohol consumption.  The so-called “fructose hit” – the daily consumption of sweetened drinks – is a major change in the carbohydrate consumption of millions of people worldwide.  Are you aware, for example, of the number of calories you get from the liquids you consume?  Fruit juices, soft drinks (sodas), sweetened tea and coffee, alcohol, etc.  together with sucrose, fructose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are difficult to avoid unless your main drink is water.

The current fashion for sugary drinks is said to be one of the main factors driving the obesity epidemic. It’s not just about the calories.  Could this change in sugar consumption patterns be fuelling both the obesity epidemic and a range of chronic illnesses linked to heart disease, including high cholesterol?  So it would seem.

Do we need to take this seriously? When conservative institutions like The American Heart Association start recommending that only 5% of daily calories should be consumed as added sugar (which is way down on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010), it would have to get you thinking.

Perhaps it gets you thinking about what your kids and grandkids are drinking.  Did you know that some children never drink water, and at least fifty percent of preschool children now consume some calorie-sweetened beverage every day.   This is doing nothing for the longevity prospects of our young people.

Adequate fluid intake is essential, particularly for those following the type of high fat and/or high protein diets that are presently in vogue.  There’s no substitute for good quality water.

If you enjoy a cocktail hour first check to make sure you’re well hydrated.  The old saying of not drinking alcohol on an empty stomach applies equally well to an adequate intake of water.  Why not make the first drink a cool sparkling mineral water with fresh lemon or lime juice, and perhaps a drop of angostura bitters and a drop of stevia if you have a sweeter tooth?

Here’s some up-to-date information about how the choice of drinks can actually benefit our health, reprinted with permission from  “Love your Cholesterol” by Dr Robert Buist Ph.D.


Inadequate water intake can cause cholesterol levels to rise, and making sure you drink enough water can help to lower cholesterol.  Mineral waters are excellent, especially if they are high in magnesium and relatively low in sodium,  Read The Watercure.com

Green tea

Rich in flavonoids, it is a potent antioxidant which lowers cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the protective HDL.  Importantly it prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.


Tea with the added phytochemical benefit of spices.

Green Drinks

Green vegetables are an absolute dietary must, but most people don’t eat nearly enough.   Green drinks can be the answer for some.  They’re high in soluble fibre, cholorophyll and magnesium with the benefit of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene which protect against heart disease.  Fresh from the garden, green vegetables provide enzymes and natural probiotics.  Unlike fruit juices, vegetable juices have a much more moderate effect on blood sugar.

Take advantage of the benefits of celery, spinach, cucumbers, parsley, kale, wheat grass and other sprouts, avocado, garlic, radish, cabbage, coriander and so on.  Try adding spirulina or chlorella.

Use cabbage, broccoli and kale less frequently as these brassica vegetables can inhibit thyroid function, especially in their raw state.  

Red Wine

Resveratrol is one of the best known antioxidants, and receives large amounts of publicity due to its presence in red wine.  Resveratrol helps decrease oxidation of fats and is possibly linked with activating our longevity genes. Moderate consumption advised.

Watermelon Juice

Animals studies (Purdue University) have shown regular consumption of watermelon can significantly reduce the build-up of fatty acid deposits in the arteries.  It is thought that the active ingredient responsible for this effect is citrulline.  Also consume in moderation, on an empty stomach.  Not suitable for those with blood sugar problems.

Bone Soup

Don’t waste good bones, especially from an organic or pasture fed animal.  Heart healthy soup bases can be made from the bones of chicken, fish, beef, lamb, oxtail, duck, etc.  Bone marrow is high in monounsaturated fats.  Bone broth could almost be described as a type of alchemy.  Prepare soup by long, slow cooking with the addition of a handful of herbs and a dash of cider vinegar or lemon juice – a little bit of acid helps release minerals from the bones.  Minerals from the bones and phytonutrients from the herbs will all become more bioavailable through the process.  Bone broth is an excellent aid to digestion.  

Hot and Spicy Soup

The herbs and spices that Asian cultures add to bone soup are particularly healthy for heart and cholesterol protection.  Benefit from the cholesterol-lowering properties of real stock infused with chili, ginger and garlic and other anti-inflammatory herbs like thai basil and mint.  Packaged stock and cubes may be too high in salt for those on a cardio-friendly diet.

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage is a great diet food, as many lovers of the cabbage soup diet have found.  Cabbage helps lower cholesterol by preventing fat absorption after a meal.  Red cabbage is high in antioxidants.

Cider Vinegar Drink

Little research has yet been done on this traditional cholesterol cure, however animal studies do suggest that vinegar may in fact lower cholesterol.  The traditional dose is 1 teaspoon diluted in a glass of water, half an hour before meals, once a day or more. 

Naturally Fermented Beverages

It’s not just boutique beer breweries which are currently enjoying a revival.  Kefir and kombucha are traditionally fermented drinks which are currently in vogue, as many people seek to improve their gut microbiome with the range of probiotics they contain.  It’s a topic that deserves to be approached with both enthusiasm and caution.  I endorse this style of drink when produced with care and knowledge.  Pay attention to avoid added sugars in commercial brands.




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