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Are You Drinking Liquid Candy?

Posted Jul 22 2013 2:26pm
As a healthy adult the only thing you should drink is water, seltzer, unsweetened tea, coffee and the occasional glass of wine. An argument can be made for milk and/or unsweetened milk alternatives like almond, coconut and hemp milk but in moderation.  Everything else is chock full of empty calories and sugar or it's straight up unhealthy.   This includes diet drinks too!

"On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years.....accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes (such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin) may also be at increased risk of ... metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."  - Trends In Endocrinology & Metabolism

The beverage industry wants us to drink other things than water and lots of it.  We don't need any other liquid to live a healthy life (breast milk is an exception but that's between you and your mom or girlfriend).  Food and beverage corporations have to show increased profits year after year by getting us to consume more product, regardless of the fact our bodies only need a finite amount of calories.   Many nutritionists and dieticians believe the human body has adapted to this lifestyle and become accustomed to higher caloric intakes.  Habitual over consumption of calories leads to all sorts of problems including the manipulation of satiety/hunger hormones. Scientists have known for a long time that calories eaten from solid foods give you a greater feeling of fullness than calories consumed in liquid form.  Normally your body will increase its metabolic rate and activity level in accordance with excess energy consumed.  Drinking calories will leave you feeling less full thus less likely to affect your physical activity levels. Coupled with a dysfunctional endocrine system (in charge of hormone regulation) and our penchant for keeping our chairs warm, we are now facing a looming obesity/health epidemic.  You can draw a straight line from our ill health too our sugar consumption and most of this comes from sweetened beverages.

5 Liquid Candy Factoids:
  1. Sugary drinks are the top source of calories in a teen's daily diet , beating out pizza and ice cream.
  2. In the 1970's sugary drinks made up 4% of the US daily caloric intake, today it is almost 10%! 
  3. People who consume 1-2 sugary drinks per day are at a 25% higher risk of developing diabetes and 20% more likely to have a heart attack
  4. A daily sugary beverage dramatically increases a woman's risk of gout by 75%!
  5. Tons of studies show that drinking 1 sugared beverage or diet soda daily (or more) is linked to an increased risk for many types of cancer, high blood pressure, kidney damage and obesity. 
The Worst Offenders & Why:
  • Sodas are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), high levels of acids that erode teeth, chemicals that leech essential micro nutrients + minerals from the body, caffeine and various artificial flavors/colors banned in other countries.  The caramel coloring in most soda is now listed in California as a known carcinogen. Sodas are arguably the worst of all the sugared beverages.
  • Diet Sodas contain the same bad chemicals and dyes as in regular soda plus artificial sweeteners that have been recently linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive decline. 
  • Sports & Energy Drinks are chock full of sugar, HFCS , caffeine, various other stimulants, empty calories and dyes banned in other countries. Some 'sports drinks' actually contain a fire retardant called BVO , which is highly carcinogenic.
  • Flavored + Blended Coffee Concoctions are empty calorie + caffeine bombs. Some contain more than 700 calories! Hold the whipped cream and packets of sugar please. Black coffee can be very healthy but once you start adding a bunch of other stuff to it, all bets are off. 
  • Smoothies In 5 minutes it is very easy to drink a1000 calorie smoothie and exceed your RDA of sugar.  Blending the fruit/veggies destroys most of the fiber and thus causes 'unnatural' insulin spikes.
  • Juices spike your insulin levels very quickly and have high amounts of fructose, the most advantageous sugar for expedited fat storage.  Juices contain little to no fiber.
Note: Most sodas and sugary beverages (and many water bottles) come in cans or plastic bottles containing BPA which has been shown to cause hormone disruptions and birth defects.  

1. Intake of Sugar-sweetened Beverages & Weight gain: A Systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2. Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition & Health: Meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health 3. Sugar-sweetened Beverages, Weight gain, & Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA 4. Liquid Candy: How Sugar Drinks are Harming American Health - Center For Science In the Public Interest
Doug Joachim - NYC
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