1. Phosphates in soda cause high blood pressure

    Hidden ingredient linked to heart risk

    It's an ingredient hiding in both diet and regular sodas. You'll also find it in everything from store-bought iced tea to canned and bottled coffee drinks.

    Unlike the additives that regularly make headlines for how bad they are -- like sugar and artificial sweeteners -- this compound gets almost no attention at all.

    In fact, the food industry is working overtime to make sure you never hear a peep about phosphate... and that you won't even know how much of it you're drinking.

    But it's time to change that.

    Phosphates stop the ingredients in drinks from separating. Without them, you might have to shake a soda before popping the top -- but of course that would leave you showered in soda rather than drinking it.

    But you're actually better off NOT drinking it at all, because the latest research shows how the phosphate used in soft drinks could set the stage for heart disease and an early death.

    The more of this stuff you get from food and drink, the higher your blood pressure, according to the new study on rats.

    Within just three months, getting double the recommended levels of phosphates -- an amount easy to reach, given how much it's used in soft drinks -- will stimulate your sympathetic nerves.

    And that isn't good.

    The sympathetic nerves are part of your body's stress response, which causes blood pressure levels to rise.

    While you may need that during times of true stress -- especially when the "fight or flight" response kicks in -- you don't need it the rest of the time.

    And if those levels remain elevated, you risk everything linked to chronic high blood pressure -- including heart attack and stroke.

    This new study was on lab rats, but your own stress response works in a very similar way, right down to the role that sympathetic nerves play in the process.

    And if you think that's bad (and believe me, it IS bad), wait 'til you see the other risks linked to folks who drink phosphate-laden sodas.

    This stuff can also suck calcium and magnesium right out of your body -- leading to joint pain and even osteoarthritis, especially in older women.

    You know what you need to do here: Give up those soft drinks.

    And it's not just sodas, either -- because it's time to give up bottled teas and coffees as well.

    Brew your own instead. It's cheaper, safer, and -- if you ask me -- tastes better, too.

  2. The true risks of soda

    Sugar is probably the most dangerous ingredient in most sodas -- but I have to say "probably" here, because it's got some pretty tough competition.

    Most sodas aren't drinks so much as water mixed with a collection of ingredients that seem like they belong in chemistry kits instead of food and beverages.

    And that includes the so-called caramel color.

    As I told you last year, caramel color isn't a simple food dye, and it's nothing like caramel candy like it's name implies. It's actually the byproduct of a pressurized treatment that combines sugar with ammonia. (Yes, ammonia!)

    One of the "extra" ingredients created by this process is 4-methylimidazole, a chemical with such strong links to cancer that California law requires a warning label on anything that contains certain amounts of it.

    And many sodas contain way more than those amounts -- up to eight times what the state considers to be the safe upper limit.

    Now, soda companies trying to avoid the warning label are starting to use a new version of the color that has less 4-methylimidazole.

    But is that really worth celebrating? Soda now has less of a cancer-causing chemical?

    And let's face it, even if they managed to completely do away with caramel color -- or at least the 4-methylimidazole -- soda would still be bubbling over with cancer risk, thanks to all the sugar.

    Diets high in sugar have been linked to any number of cancers -- and if you're unlucky enough to get the disease, sugar will actually help it to grow and spread. It's like food for tumors.

    Believe it or not, the risks don't stop there.

    Sodas often contain phosphates, which can pull calcium from your bones and leave you battling osteoporosis. They can also cause kidney stones and -- along with that sugar -- rot your teeth right out of your head.

    Some sodas even contain sodium benzoate, a preservative that can cause the kind of cell damage that leads to cancer, cirrhosis, and Parkinson's disease -- just to name a few.

    And the fake sugars used in diet sodas come with plenty of risks of their own -- they've been linked to everything from cancer to migraines.

    So don't waste any time looking at the ingredients labels, trying to figure out which soda might be better than the other. Just skip them all.

  3. Cola color in cancer link

    Soda is just about the most destructive blend of chemicals being sold for consumption today.

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