1. Soda linked to diabetes & metabolic syndrome

    We all know people who drink soda day and night, yet somehow manage to remain slim and trim.

    Don't envy them--because that stick-figure waistline alone doesn't mean they're healthy. In fact, that soda habit is almost certainly doing real harm on the inside.

    A new study finds that sugar-sweetened drinks can increase your risk for diabetes, which isn't surprising. But what might stun you is that even soda slurpers who never gain an ounce have a higher risk for the disease.

    Looks like bad habits will catch up to you no matter what size jeans you squeeze into.

    Researchers examined data from 11 studies involving 310,819 patients. Eight of the studies focused on type 2 diabetes, while three looked at metabolic syndrome.

    The studies used food frequency questionnaires--generally not the best way to examine the health effects of specific foods, since they rely on memory and estimation.

    But since most people have a pretty good idea of how much soda they drink each day, this one can't be dismissed as easily.

    In any case, the researchers found that those who drank one or two sugar-sweetened drinks a day had a 26 percent increase in diabetes risk, and a 20 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to those who drink little to no sugary drinks.

    That's overall.

    But the researchers also found that while the risk wasn't as high when they adjusted for body mass, it didn't disappear, either. In fact, it only fell by around half, according to the study in Diabetes Care.

    In other words, even people who keep the weight off and "reward" themselves with a sugary drink or two each day still have an increased risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

    That's because soda can cause quick spikes in glucose and insulin levels. If your levels spike too quickly too often, say a couple times a day when you suck back a soda, you can develop the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes--no matter what you weigh.

    And if that's not enough to get you off soda and other sugary drinks, consider everything else these bad beverages will do to you.

    Soda can increase your risk of heart disease, hypertension, liver problems, tooth decay and has even been linked to the cell damage that leads to conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

    And men, soda might even reduce your sperm count. (Read more about that here.)

    Diet soda isn't much better for you--studies have found that those who make the switch can still gain plenty of weight. What's more, those drinks contain artificial sweeteners that can actually be far worse for you than plain old sugar.

    If you need some fizz, try seltzer with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

    And if you want to drink something sweet, end your day with a glass or two of wine instead.

  2. The rising toll of diabetes and obesity

    It's one of the most frightening "coming attractions" I've ever seen: By 2050, up to a third of all U.S. adults will be diabetic.

    That's triple the current rate of 1 in 10, and--depending on our population growth--could mean more than 100 million diabetics facing long-term health problems and expensive care.

    It sounds like a disaster movie in the making, and not nearly as unbelievable as a flick with a giant asteroid or massive super-storm.

    And we don't need to wait until 2050 to see the film -- we're living in the sneak preview right now.

    We already have more than 23 million diabetics in the nation today, including up to 5 million people who have the disease but don't know it yet. Another 57 million are pre-diabetic--so close to the disease they can almost taste it with each trip to IHOP.

    And you can bet that most of these people will get worse, not better.

    Some are so unhealthy the only question is whether they'll live long enough to get diabetes--or die of something
    else, like a heart attack, first.

    The shame of it is, this didn't have to happen--and it doesn't have to happen to you.

    Basic lifestyle modifications, such as eating right and getting some regular movement, can help anyone avoid diabetes. And those same changes can bring the disease to its knees if you do happen to get it.

    Apparently, for millions of us, that's just a little too much to ask--and we're paying the price.

    In fact, obesity alone--the prime cause of so many cases of diabetes--now swallows up 17 percent of all U.S. medical costs. That's $168 billion a year total, or up to $2,800 per year in extra medical costs for each overweight patient.

    Another new study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that obesity-related medical expenses such as sick days and health-related productivity losses cost U.S. employers $73 billion a year.

    Put those last two studies together and you get a bill of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars a year--or more than $800 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

    Clearly, this isn't just a health crisis anymore… it's a financial disaster, too.

  3. Diabetes hospitalizations on the rise

    Too many young adults are spending too much time in the hospital.
  4. Key mineral may help beat diabetes

    Magnesium has long been linked to diabetes prevention--and a new study confirms it. Researchers have found that those who get their share of this crucial mineral have a dramatically lower risk of the disease.
  5. The real cure for diabetes

    Many diabetics treat their condition as a lifetime sentence to drugs and insulin--but it doesn't have to be that way for you.
  6. Chilis for chubbies

    If you're overweight and plan to stay that way, then I hope you like your food hot – real hot.
  7. Lifestyle to blame for diabetes epidemic

    A new study shows the direct – if obvious – connection between lifestyle and diabetes.
  8. Keep kids off meds

    More kids are taking more drugs, including powerful meds to control conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
  9. Diabetes: Even worse than you thought

    The latest data links the disease to an increased risk of Alzheimer's, and shows how diabetes appears to help dementia take hold faster once it sets in.
  10. Diabetes in a can

    A long-term study sponsored by the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University showed that women who drank more sugar-sweetened drinks were at greater risk of developing diabetes.

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