Tag Archives: soft drinks

Diet and regular soft drinks linked to risk factors for heart disease – Study

I  have written repeatedly about the dangers of soft drinks, both sugary and artificial sweeteners. You can search the subject by punching soft drinks into the S E A R C H box at the right.

Drinking more than one soft drink daily — whether it’s regular or diet — may be associated with an increase in the risk factors for heart disease, Framingham researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

four clear glass cups

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“We were struck by the fact that it didn’t matter whether it was a diet or regular soda that participants consumed, the association with increased risk was present,” said Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., senior author of the Framingham Heart Study and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “In those who drink one or more soft drinks daily, there was an association of an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.”

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors including excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL “good” cholesterol) and high fasting glucose levels. The presence of three or more of the factors increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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How soda impacts your body – Infographic

I haven’t posted anything on soft drinks for a while, yet they remain popular. If you need more, check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks?

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Tony

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CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter Grades the Changing American Diet

Cheese Consumption hits All-Time High; Americans Still Consuming Too Much Beef & Soda Despite Declines, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to regular readers that the CSPI gives a barely passing grade to the quantity and quality of food we are consuming.

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Americans are eating too much of everything, and it’s not just how much, but what we eat, that needs work, according to a report card on the changing American diet published today in Nutrition Action Healthletter.  The average American consumes about 2,500 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.  That’s up from about 2,000 calories a day in the 1970s. (my emphasis)

(Ed. note:  CSPI is hosting a quiz about America’s Changing Diet. Take it now, if you like, since spoilers follow.)

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7 Foods That Might Be Making You Anxious

Some useful ideas here if you are looking to eat healthy.

Please check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for more on them.

french-fries

Tony

Our Better Health

A lifelong friend of mine suffered from debilitating anxiety for years. It was hard to watch her have panic attacks, knowing that people did not understand her behavior. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States, only about one-third of affected individuals receive some form of treatment.

From a young age, I read books every chance I got. Taking a particular interest in the human brain, it was only natural that I would go on to study psychology and neuroscience at a university. Focusing on both mental health and nutrition, I quickly realized how one’s diet influenced brain health and overall well-being  — my attention shifted and this connection has been the focal point of my research ever since.

Anxiety and food — what’s the connection?

Anxiety disorders are complex and although various factors play a role, chemical imbalances within the brain cannot be…

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The war on sugar

Really interesting post on the impact of sugar, especially fructose on our bodies.

To read more on the soft drink aspect, please check out my Page – What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

Tony

Focus on food safety

The sweetness of ice cream can be overwhelming. The sweetness of ice-cream can be overwhelming.

The sweet tooth seems to require a treat now and then. But why are most food manufacturers overdoing the sweetness thingy. You have an ice-cream treat and although it initially tastes nice, after half is consumed you feel the sugar molecules crawling in your mouth with the sugar taste lingering for several hours. The same with a blueberry cheesecake. The sweetness is just overwhelming.

I could go on and on. I am not after sugar replacements, I just want the sweetness to be toned down.

Trend to reduce sugar intake

Actually, reducing sugar intake has become a key concern amongst many consumers. In a recent 2,500-strong European consumer survey, a quarter of those asked preferred low sugar food products, findings that seem to confirm the continuing shift in consumer efforts to reduce sugar intake. They also found that more than 60% of those surveyed…

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Soft Drink Makers Again Adding Sugar – WSJ

A glance at the headers along the top shows the listing for my Page – What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks?

I am an equal opportunity analyst and I find fault with both the sugary soft drinks and the chemically-laden diet soft drinks.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that “Fewer people are gulping soft drinks. In the past five years, the volume of soda consumed in the U.S. has declined between 1% and 3% each year. Diet sodas have fallen especially sharply, between 2.5% and 6% annually, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York research and consulting firm.

So, apparently folks are backing away more from the diet sodas than sugared although sales of both are sliding.

To counter this trend, soft drink makers are selling a new angle for their beverages: “They contain sugar,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Talk about pick your poison. One is worse than the other for you. I think you are better off drinking something else, like, say, water?

Interestingly, fruit drinks aren’t a lot better. Across the pond – researchers from the University of Liverpool and colleagues from Action on Sugar have assessed the sugar content of over 200 fruit drinks marketed at children and have found them to be “unacceptably high.”

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The research, conducted by Professor Simon Capewell from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society and Action on Sugar has been published Thursday, 24 March in the online journal BMJ Open. Continue reading

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Soda Sales Continue Nearly Twenty-Year Freefall

Per Capita Consumption Drops More Than 26% From 1998 Peak


Regular readers know that I feel strongly about the dangers of soda, both diet and sugared. You can check out my Page: What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks? to learn more about it.

I was pleased to read the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) report that sales are declining.

Americans, eager to reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and tooth decay are continuing to cut down on their consumption of full-calorie soda, according to new data released by the trade publication Beverage Digest. Based on those data, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest says that Americans are drinking more than one-fourth less soda than in 1998, when consumption peaked. In fact, Americans are now back to drinking about as much as they did in 1985. CSPI is urging health officials at the local, state, and federal levels of government to enact policies to drive down soda consumption even further, perhaps to levels observed in the 1960s, when soda was an occasional treat served in reasonable portions.

“Drinking nine or 10 teaspoons of sugar makes no sense, and most Americans have wised up to what’s really in a single soda,” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson. “The soda industry, which for years has lectured the public about energy balance and moderation, has been marketing excessive consumption, both in terms of frequency and volume. A comprehensive government strategy to drive down consumption further could be a boon to Americans’ health and lower the healthcare costs paid by taxpayers.”

Lawmakers in California are proposing a two-cent-per-ounce health impact fee on sugar-sweetened beverages in that state. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney (D) is proposing a three-cent-per-ounce excise tax on sugary drinks to help raise $400 million over five years for universal Pre-K, parks, and other programs. In Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has offered legislation that would institute a tax of one-cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener. CSPI has estimated that a federal excise tax could raise $10 billion a year for prevention programs.

I don’t share the CSPI’s notion of getting the government more involved in affecting what private citizens eat and drink through raising taxes or any other way. This is still a free country. Let’s keep it that way. It seems like we are off to a good start judging from the fall off in sales in the past 20 years.

Tony

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Many U.S. Consumers Cutting Back on Sugar Consumption – NPD Group

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released every five years, were issued last month and one of the new guidelines’ strongest recommendation is something that consumers have already caught on to — limiting sugar intake, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Overall, U.S. consumers have indicated that sugar is the number one item they try to avoid in their diet and are eating less sugary foods and beverages, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research.

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The new dietary guidelines recommend that only 10 percent of daily calories come from added sugars. Although this may sound like a lofty goal, consumers have cut down on foods and beverages with high sugar content, like carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and juice, ice cream and frozen treats, and other sweet snacks. Consumption of sugar-free, unsweetened, or reduced sugar products, which is highest among young children and adults 55 and older, follows the trend in concern about sugar overall. Calories were once the top item consumers looked for on nutrition facts labels, but now it is sugar.

Cholesterol, the outcast of past dietary guidelines, is no longer a dietary concern according to the new guidelines.  NPD’s food consumption research shows that consumers are in line with this since their concern for cholesterol content has continued to decline since 2006. Eggs, which bore the brunt of the anti-cholesterol push, are back in vogue and consumption is up as consumers look for more sources of protein.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a perennial federal dietary standard and is still front-and-center in the new guidelines. There is good and bad news in regards to this standard. The good news is: consumers are eating more fruits and fruit is among the top growing better-for-you snacks. The bad news is: vegetables are still fighting to find their way into Americans’ hearts and stomachs.

“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”

For the record here are the key recommendations from the 2015 Guidelines:
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
•    Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
•    If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Remember, to live healthy, you need to employ two tools: eat intelligently and exercise regularly. You can’t have one without the other.

Tony

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Exercise to Burn off Soft Drink Calories

In case you have ever wondered how much exercise it would take to burn off something you were drinking, here is a graphic answer to your question.

Remember the sugar guideline. Every 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

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Tony

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Health Advocates Remake Famous Coke Ad – CSPI

It’s time to change the tune on Soda, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

Real people suffering from diabetes, tooth decay, weight gain, and other diseases related to soda consumption are starring in a remake of Coca-Cola’s iconic “Hilltop” ad. The new video is health advocates’ latest salvo in their campaign to reduce the incidence of soda-related disease in America and around the world.

“For the past 45 years, Coca-Cola and other makers of sugar drinks have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts. We thought it was time to change the tune.”

Soda and other sugary drinks are the leading source of calories in the American diet, and raise one’s risks of diabetes, tooth decay, and weight gain—conditions experienced by the Denver-area residents who participated in the film.

“Soda is just one of several contributors to diet-related disease, but it’s a major one,” said Dr. Jeffry Gerber, a Denver-area physician who appeared in the film. “As a physician who asks all of my patients about the foods and drinks they choose, I see the connection between soda consumption and chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity every day of the week. It’s hard to ask patients to practice moderation when all of the advertising, marketing, and overall ubiquity of soda rewires people to overconsume sugary drinks.”

The film was produced by Scott McDonald and Gavin Anstey of the Lumenati agency, and was written by Mike Howard of Daughters & Howard. Alex Bogusky, formerly of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, provided overall creative direction. Bogusky also served as executive creative director for The Real Bears, CSPI’s 2012 short film that showed an animated family of polar bears suffering the consequences of soda-related disease. Coca-Cola called it “irresponsible and the usual grandstanding from CSPI,” while Mark Bittman of the New York Times called it “Depressing, touching, and effective.”

CSPI is providing Spanish, Portuguese, French, Hindi, and Mandarin translations of the lyrics used in the new film as a resource for health advocates around the world, where Coke and Pepsi are investing billions of dollars a year to promote the consumption of their products.

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about soft drinks in general, both diet and sugary. Check out my Page – What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

Tony

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Diet Soda Linked to Larger Waistlines of Older Adults – Study

In a study of people over age 65 for a nine year period, individuals who drank diet sodas had a noticeably larger waistline than those who didn’t.

Lead author, Dr. Sharon P.G. Fowler of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said that research in other age groups has directly linked drinking diet sodas with higher risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and preterm birth.

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The article was published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Those people who did not drink diet soda gained an average of 0.8 inches in waist circumference over the nine-year period compared to 1.83 inches for occasional diet soda drinkers and more than three inches for people who drank diet soda every day, according to the results.

Reuters reported that ““It cannot be explained by the calories,” said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study.

People who drink diet soda may be more likely to overeat in other areas, he told Reuters Health.

“The main point is for those who drink a lot of soda, diet or not, there may be a relationship with obesity,” Lopez-Jimenez said.”

As regular readers know, I feel strongly that diet and sugary sodas should be consumed very sparingly. I, personally, don’t drink more than one a month if I can help it. There are chemicals in the diet drink that suppress the satiety response in humans which results in overeating and weight gain.

Please check out my Page What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks
for more details.

Tony

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Dehydration Damages Us – Infographic

I have written about hydration and the importance of water for our life and bodily functions. I thought this infographic put a lot of that info together in one place. I make it a point every morning to start with a glass of warm water. That seems so logical considering that I have taken in no water for the previous 7 to 8 hours.

Dehydration-Makes-You-Fat-and-Sick

Tony

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Possible Side Effects of Soda on You – Infographic

I have written repeatedly about the dangers of soft drinks, both diet and sugared. If you want to fill yourself in as opposed to filling yourself up, check out my Page – What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

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Tony

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10 Baby Steps Towards Better Health and Fitness

There are some good ideas here. I have always thought that major change is like turning an ocean liner at sea. It is best done in small increments. Just as she says here.

You can also check out my Page: How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off for more guidelines that I have learned in my successful battle of the bulge.

Tony

Our Better Health

By Deanna Schober

Change is best made in baby steps. As you have probably already learned at some point in your life, change that involves a complete overhaul is really tough to stick to and a pretty sure recipe for failure.

Habits are best changed one at a time. Try mastering one new habit every 2-3 weeks, then when it becomes a routine, you can start on the next one. Here are ten suggestions on where to start:

1. Avoid Fast Food

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know -”Fast food is bad for you”. But that’s an abstract concept, “bad for you” – do you know why it is? You may hear all about how high in calories fast food is, but what you may not know is how it is also full of MSG, horrible cancer-causing chemicals, and trans fats.

Many fast food places even use…

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What are the Best and Worst Super Bowl Snacks?

Okay, the Big Day has finally arrived. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Yay! The Broncos and Seahawks square off late this afternoon for what many consider the grandest prize in all sports, the Lombardi Trophy. Unlike most other football games, we will all be staying on our couches and watching the numerous commercials that interrupt the action. And, while watching this afternoon we will be snacking, whether we are home, at a friend’s place for a party or out at a bar with a giant flatscreen. Therein lies the rub. I love watching the game and have struggled through the ups and downs of the past season to get here, but, like you, I love to snack while watching the game.

Boiled Edamame with a dusting of coarse salt.

Boiled Edamame with a dusting of coarse salt. Yum.

One of the best snacks that I will be munching on today, and I was surprised to learn that WebMD agrees with me, is Edamame, or soybeans in the pod. Costco sells them by the bag and it takes only five minutes to boil them up. Sushi places serve them with a dusting of giant salt crystals. You can match those by picking up some Coarse Kosher Salt at your supermarket. A four ounce serving of Edamame amounts to around 120 calories. There is also four grams of fat, no saturate fat or cholesterol, eight grams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, four grams of healthy vegetable fiber and 12 grams of body-building protein. The fact that the beans are still in the pod helps to make them a great finger food as you have to crack them out before you can eat the beans inside. For my money, this extra step adds to their appeal and it slows down my consumption to some extent.

On the negative side, one of the worst snacks according to WebMD, are Mozzarella Sticks. WebMD says, “There’s something about a stick of warm, gooey cheese that is irresistible — until you take a look at the nutritional facts. A typical order has 930 calories, 48 g of fat, and 2,640 mg of sodium. That puts mozzarella sticks pretty much on par with chicken wings.

For a slideshow of WebMD’s Best and Worst Appetizers click the link. The slideshow also gives the skinny on Onion Blossoms vs. Vegetable Kabobs, Spinach Artichoke Dip vs. Spinach Salad, Cheese Fries vs. Crab Cakes. Check out their entire spectrum at the link above to read them all.

Instead of beer or diet soda, do yourself a favor by drinking something healthy like coconut water or just plain ice water for something clean and healthy without any dangerous chemicals. Check out my Page – What’s wrong with Soft Drinks? also Snacking – the good, the bad, and the ugly for more on this topic.

Enjoy the game with a clean conscience.

Buon Appetito!

Tony

Are you pulling for the Broncos or Seahawks? I confess I am torn. As a long time NFL fan, I want to see Peyton Manning get his second ring. On the other hand on a personal basis, my former brother in law, Dan Quinn, who I have known since he was a teenager, is the mastermind of  the Seahawk’s defense, their defensive coordinator. I would love to see Dan get his first Super Bowl ring. 

Que sera, sera.

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Two Super Diet Tips from Harvard

I write about healthy eating all the time. Also, most folks think about what they are eating – to some extent. But, we have 60 percent of us overweight and 30 percent obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition. Obviously, we need help with our eating, whether routine or on a special diet.harvardlogo

Harvard Medical School offered the following two tips:

“To really optimize your diet, keep these two additional tips in mind.
1.    Limit liquid sugars. Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages can deliver up to 12 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, with no other useful nutrients. These beverages offer no health or nutritional benefits. Worse, regular consumption of these drinks can increase your chances of becoming obese or developing diabetes — both of which raise your risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. Unsweetened coffee or tea or sparkling water are better choices.”

I have written repeatedly about the dangers of sugary as well as diet sodas. Love hearing it backed up by Harvard. Also, regarding the 12 teaspoons of sugar mentioned above. Remember, a teaspoon of sugar amounts to just over four grams. I offer that conversion because the amount of sugar is usually listed  in grams and if you don’t know how many grams in a teaspoon, you might not realize how much sugar you are getting.

That teaspoon of sugar weighs just over 4 grams.

That teaspoon of sugar weighs just over 4 grams.

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