“Soft drinks are chemical soups, not foods”
I’ve always said that soft drinks are chemical soups, not foods. Researchers are beginning to agree. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, in a study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, concluded that one daily soft drink — with calories or not — is associated with a 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a key predecessor of heart disease and diabetes. Sodas have been linked previously with increased obesity and high blood pressure.
“Metabolic syndrome – a cluster of symptoms”
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms including excessive abdominal fat, high blood-glucose levels, high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides and low levels of highdensity lipoprotein (good cholesterol). People with three or more of these symptoms have double the normal risk of heart disease and diabetes.
It may not be any one ingredient that causes this, but rather that people who drink soda eat less nutrient dense foods and may have an overall lifestyle that is less health oriented, according to the lead researcher, Dr. Ramachandran S. Vasan of the Boston University School of Medicine. People who drank sodas were also more likely to eat foods higher in calories, higher in saturated and trans fats, and to be more sedentary than people who didn’t drink sodas. But even when these lifestyle habits were factored out, people who drank sodas still fared worse.
Those who drank at least one soda a day had a 44% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome during the four years of the study.
Those who drank at least one soda per day also had:
- A 31% greater risk of becoming obese;
- A 30% higher risk of having a larger waist line;
- A 25% higher risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high blood sugar;
- A 32% greater risk of having low levels of good cholesterol;
- A trend toward an increased risk of high blood pressure.
The Take Away:
I usually drink water.
- If you love the taste of something carbonated, why not have some club soda with an ounce or two of 100% juice to give it some flavor.
- Or just squeeze a lemon or lime into some club soda.
- Or try some herbal iced tea sweetened with a bit of juice.
- Make some homemade lemonade with fresh lemons, water, and some honey. If you want it to sparkle, use club soda or mineral water.
- Remember that some brands of bottled mineral waters also can supply 10% of your minerals in a glass—water can be a great source of minerals.