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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can Sugary Drinks (Sodas) Be BAD For You?

What a week it has been for heart health news!  First the disgusting revelations about pink slime (which is in your children's school lunches), then the bad news for beef eaters and now the soda industry is taking the hit on the chin.  Just yesterday a new study was in the news which shows that men who drink one 12 oz. sugary beverage each day have a whopping 20% increased risk for developing heart disease.  You may be thinking that 20% isn't so much but if I could earn a 20% return on my investments, I'd be deliriously happy.

Let's look at this a bit closer.  A typical 12 oz. soda contains 10 tsp. of sugar but many people opt for the convenient 20 oz. bottle which ups the sugar content to 18 tsp.  And how many soda drinkers limit themselves to just one soda a day?  If you are a sweet tea drinker, don't start congratulating yourself yet.  I have no idea how much sugar is in an equivalent glass of sweet tea but I'm sure it's not in the healthy range either.  What about lemonade or other popular "fruit" drinks?  The point is that continually subjecting your body to high levels of sugar stresses the body's normal functions, resulting in heart disease and diabetes.

This is what 18 tsp. of sugar looks like.  Would you eat it with a spoon?  Why drink it then?

This study, done over 22 years, was only done on men but other studies show that women are just as much at risk; after all, our bodies process sugar the same way.  Less frequent drinkers of sodas and those who drink diet sodas did not show such an increased risk.  It is also possible that soda drinkers have other unhealthy habits that contribute to the increased risk for heart disease and diabetes such as not exercising and eating processed foods.

I have been harping for years to my family, friends and readers that you are what you eat.  If you stuff your body with chemicals, sugar and fat, you have to expect to get sick at some point, in some way.  Think cancer, heart disease, strokes, gout, diabetes, kidney disease.  Give your body what it needs: vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein!  It's an ugly battle to regain your health once you've wrecked it, one that you may lose at a painfully early age.  I am so thankful that I gave up Mountain Dew years ago and have mostly replaced it with water.  I am also thankful that I have never really liked red meat so the we don't eat it very often at all.  Most of all, I am thankful for my healthy body and that of my family.  I have seen first hand the financial, emotional and physical toll that disease takes on the whole family, and if I can help prevent that from happening again, I'm glad to do what it takes.

So what can you do today to be healthier?    

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