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The Very Best Drinks for the Very Worst Health

You can call it pop, soda, soda pop, or even soft drink, but if your health is important to you, don’t drink it. While on the subject of beverages, 100% fruit juice is also on the chopping block. Most people are not under any illusions that soft drinks are nutritious. The same is not true for fruit juices. This misconception is resulting in an inexcusable number of malnourished overweight kids.

Despite the barrage of marketing, sales pitches and propaganda to the contrary, research does confirm a direct link between pop consumption, obesity and type II diabetes. Soft drinks are packed with high fructose corn syrup. After consuming high doses of any sugar, the body’s blood glucose levels spike, produce a surge of energy and feeling of euphoria. These levels stimulate an insulin release, causing glucose to be removed from the bloodstream and converted to fat. This ultimately results in low blood sugar, low energy, irritability, and fi nally, cravings for more of the former. Some have another pop, while others indulge in more refi ned goodies. That is why soft drinks are habit forming and lead to obesity and type II diabetes. In addition, the phosphoric acid in regular and diet pop dissolves calcium in teeth, interferes with calcium metabolism and actually leaches existing calcium from bones and blood. Now, let’s focus on why people gain weight when consuming diet pop. Artifi cial sweeteners are tens to hundreds of times sweeter than their
natural counterparts. Once ingested, the taste buds are temporarily satisfi ed, but the brain and body are waiting for the calories promised by the sugary introduction. These cravings sabotage even the most committed efforts. Consider the following study:

For regular pop drinkers,
the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

• 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
• 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
• 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
• 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day

For diet pop drinkers,
the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

• 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
• 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
• 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
• 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day

In conclusion, one can of diet soda a day
increases the risk for obesity 41%!!

Fruit is healthy. Fruit is natural. Therefore, 100% fruit juice must be naturally healthy. WRONG! Juice incurs the same risks for obesity and type II diabetes as pop. Juice and soda contain the same amount of simple sugars. The juice extracted from fruit contains all of its sugars (fructose). The rest of the fruit contains fiber and other essential nutrients necessary for the body to properly digest the sugars and absorb the nutrients. Without the accompanied nutrients and fiber, the body reacts to 100% fruit juice in exactly the same way it does soda (described above). “Juice holds no real value in a child’s diet,” says Dr. Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, an obesity researcher and pediatrician at the University of Minnesota. Studies suggest fruit juice offers no nutritional benefi ts for infants and detrimentally affects children’s health, as its consumption often replaces that of whole fruits and vegetables. Additionally, studies conclusively found juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.

So what do you drink? Clear water is best. Soy milk, reduced fat and skim milk are also great options. And, as you may have already concluded, to get nutrients available in fruits (and vegetables), eat the whole fruit (and the whole vegetable). For adults, see upcoming issues for the health benefi ts of coffee and certain teas.

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Written by Brooks Juneau

October 1, 2007 at 8:13 pm

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