sugary drinks

  1. Soda scare: Sugary drinks linked to new heart risk

    Any time I use the words "soda" and "study" in the same sentence, it's never good news for soda. I can't recall a single study that shows soda benefits anything other than the bank accounts of the people who sell it.

    And the latest research is no exception.

    A new look at data on 42,883 men between the ages of 40 and 75 finds that those who drank the most sugary drinks had a 20 percent higher risk of a heart attack during the 22-year study -- a link that held even after adjusting for risk factors such as smoking, activity levels and a family history of heart problems.

    What's more, the researchers found that for each serving of a sugary drink you down in a day -- like one 12-ounce cola -- your risk of cardiovascular disease is boosted by 19 percent.

    In addition, the men who drank the most sugary drinks also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol -- that's the good stuff -- and higher levels of deadly triglycerides.

    Think that's bad? Hold on -- because the study in Circulation gets even worse: Men who drank the most soda had the highest levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP. That's an inflammation marker that can mean anything from heart disease to cancer to an autoimmune disorder.

    But none of this should be surprising, since all of these problems have been linked to sugar before -- and drinks are one of the biggest sources of sugar in the modern diet.

    A single can of soda, for example, has roughly 40 grams of the sweet stuff. That's like going to Starbucks and ordering a "tall" (or what the rest of us call a "small") 12-ounce coffee... and putting 10 sugars into it.

    It's an insane amount of sugar.

    For some incredible visuals on just how much of it is in each can, bottle, and Big Gulp, check out the images on the "Sugar Stacks" website.

    All that sweet stuff is bound to play havoc with your body. Along with all the risks I mentioned earlier, even a moderate soda habit can cause your blood sugar levels to spike -- eventually leading to metabolic syndrome and even diabetes.

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking you'll be any safer switching to diet either. Other studies have found that diet soda drinkers actually gain weight -- and at least one study linked diet soft drinks to an increased heart risk of its own, along with an increased risk of stroke.

    I'm not done with soda yet -- keep reading for more.

  2. A nation of sugar addicts

    No wonder we're fatter and sicker than ever and getting worse every day: New numbers from the CDC show that half of all Americans over the age of TWO YEARS OLD drink at least one soda a day.

    Notice the words "at least." Check out these numbers:

    • 70 percent of boys between 2 and 19 get an average of 273 daily calories from sugary drinks alone.
    • Men from 20 - 39 are a close second, at 252 daily calories from these drinks.
    • 40 percent of adult women between 20 and 39 getting an average of 138 daily calories from the beverages.
    • Teen girls take in 171 per day.

    Ready for the worst part? Five percent of Americans -- in real numbers, that's some 15 million people -- swallow 567 liquid sugar calories a day.

    That's like an entire meal made of soda.

    Of course, the beverage industry is spilling that tired old line about no link between their drinks and disease, and they're claiming that sugary beverages can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

    They even have the mainstream on board with this nonsense, with groups like the American Heart Association declaring that people can have three sugary drinks a week and still be "healthy."

    I wonder if that position has anything to do with all the soda companies on the AHA's Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel. (Take a look at the members here it if you're curious -- and remember, everyone on this list paid the AHA $10K to join.)

    The reality is that sugary drinks have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer.

    If you love your soda, you're not going to like hearing this -- but there's simply no reason to drink this stuff at all, and not just because of the sugar. These drinks are chemical nightmares. Even the coloring used in many sodas has been linked to cancer. (Read more here.)

    Whatever you do, don't switch to diet. As bad as the real stuff is, artificial sweeteners can be even worse. Aspartame, for example, has been linked to headaches, asthma, seizures, nerve damage, sleep disorders, mood problems, and more.

    If you need some fizz, stick to seltzer. Otherwise, make your drink of choice coffee or tea.

    Unsweetened, of course.

  3. Sports drinks are nothing but sugar

    Sports drinks perpetuate the myth that sugary drinks can be healthy if you just add a vitamin or two and give it a catchy name--and a new study shows how kids have fallen for that myth.
  4. Skip soda to lower BP

    There are plenty of great reasons to skip the soda and pass on all those other sugary drinks, and now there's one more: Doing so can help lower your blood pressure.
  5. Kids under assault... by sugar

    One new study finds that just two sugar-sweetened drinks each day is all it takes to make a kid overweight.
  6. Drinking disaster: Keep kids away from soda

    New research finds that replacing soda and sugary drinks with cool, refreshing water can help significantly reduce the number of calories kids consume each day.

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