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Old 07-26-2007, 09:17 AM
veperez's Avatar
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Water is best, followed by green tea...
~ Vilma [img]smileys/smiley1.gif[/img]

Gulp! Another Reason to Can Cola Cravings

By Shawn McKee
Staff Writer

It's three in the afternoon, the yawns have started, and bleary-eyed I wander like a sugar zombie from my cubicle to search for the only thing that can help me slog through the rest of the afternoon. It's time to get extreme with some serious caffeine; it's time to "Do the Dew."

I pop the top and hear the sweet fizz of my favorite sugary soda. I pull a Popeye -- squeezing every last drop from the can and slamming my soda in one fell swoop. I'm instantly energized and ready to finish my day with a new found fervor.

I break-dance back to my desk and find an email about a new finding on sodas that totally harshes my buzz.

"1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease," reads the WebMD headline.

Could my afternoon Dew be jeopardizing my life, one little12-ounce can at a time?

That appears to be the case, according to a recent study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation. Those of us with a "soda habit" have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which tends to be a precursor to heart disease and diabetes.

The research is pretty clear that excessive soda slurping is not healthy. The large quantities of sugar in soda can increase insulin levels in the blood, which over time can lead to Type 2 diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and weight gain.

Additionally, phosphoric acid found in many sodas inhibits the proper absorption of calcium which can weaken bones and teeth, which may explain why Americans have the highest incidence of osteoporosis in the world.

An analysis of 88 separate soda studies found that those who got extra "liquid calories" from sodas did not eat less, and gained more weight than their soda-skipping counterparts.

"We found quite a clear association between soft drink intake and taking in more calories," according to study coauthor and research director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD.

Schwartz goes on to explain that people don't eat less because they are drinking soda instead of water, so they're not compensating for the excess calories.

But is just one soda per day that bad?

"Even one soda per day increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome by about 50 percent," according to Ramachandran Vasan, MD, senior author of the new study and a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

Vasan's team found that compared to drinking less than one soda a day, having one or more was linked to a 44 percent increase in risk for metabolic syndrome. Having a daily soda habit - diet or regular - may increase your future risk for heart disease.

Other research suggests that just one can of soda per day may increase your weight by as much as 18 pounds per year, according to certified health educator and personal trainer, Kathleen Aicardi.

"If you are going to pick one change to make in your diet, and you drink sugared soft drinks, that would be a great place start," suggests Schwartz.

Schwartz thinks it's important to note that U.S. soft drink consumption has grown almost simultaneously with the U.S. obesity epidemic. Americans drank 22 gallons of non-diet soft drinks per person in 1970, and by 1997, that number nearly doubled to 41 gallons per person -- and obesity ballooned 112 percent.

So I ride my sugary, caffeine rollercoaster to the end. The buzz is gone and now I face the startling reality that even my little afternoon pick-me-up is putting me at future risk for heart disease. I'll have to kick my "soda habit."

Tomorrow, I guess I'll switch to green tea. It may not be as extreme, but at least it won't kill me and it has caffeine, right?
Shawn McKee graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Journalism and has written for The Broward and Miami New Times.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:49 AM
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Im lucky I have never been much of a soda fan.. now if you tried to take my COFFEE away we would have a problem!
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:10 PM
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I've been soda free for 5+ years now and love it!
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:32 PM
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Be careful of Vitamin Water too- one bottle has 125 calories and more than 30 grams of sugar! The label states less until you notice that each bottle is 2.5 servings. That is definitely a lot of sugar for something that seems healthy!
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