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Dangers of Sugary Soda.
I’ve been warning you of the dangers of soda since I started this site
over 16 years ago, and the list of reasons to avoid this beverage just keeps
getting longer. Americans in particular get most of their daily calories from
sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and
other sweetened beverages.
Half of the US population over the age of two consumes sugary drinks on a
daily basis,1 and this figure does not even include 100% fruit juices,
flavored milk or sweetened teas, all of which are sugary too, which means the
figure is actually even higher.
Many people mistakenly believe that as long as you are drinking fruit
juice, it's healthy even though it's sweet, but this is a dangerous
misconception that is fueling the rising rates of weight gain, obesity, fatty
liver disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in the United States
and other developed nations.
It’s important to realize sugary drinks, soda and even fresh squeezed
fruit juice, contain fructose, which has been identified as one of the
primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems
—in large part due to its ability to turn on your “fat switch.”
So-called “enhanced” water products are another source of hidden
fructose, and/or artificial sweeteners, which can be even worse for your
health than sugar. I recommend drinking plenty of pure water as your primary
beverage of choice instead.
Sugary Drinks Linked to 180,000 Deaths Annually
Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s
Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013
Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages are to blame for about 183,000
deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart
disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths.
Among the 35 largest countries in the world, Mexico had the highest death
rates associated with sugary beverage consumption. There, the average
consumption of sugary beverages was 24 ounces per day.
Bangladesh had the lowest death rates. The US ranked third, with an
estimated 25,000 annual deaths2 from sweetened drinks.3 (Many might have
expected the US to come in first place, but remember that American processed
foods contain far more sugars than other nations, so Americans also consume a
lot of “hidden” sugar in products other than beverages.)
Interestingly, and quite disturbingly, the death rates associated with
sweetened beverages were highest in those under the age of 45. According to
the featured article:4
“[W]hile the connection between excess sugar and chronic disease is
well-known, the latest research is the first to quantify deaths correlated
with sugared drinks worldwide.
...To reach their conclusion, the scientists analyzed data from the
2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study and recorded how much sugar-sweetened
beverages people drank, dividing up the data by age and sex. Then, they
figured out how the various amount corresponded to obesity rates.
Lastly, they calculated how much obesity affected diabetes, heart
disease and certain cancers and determined the mortality rates from these
diseases, ending up with the number of deaths that could be attributed to
consuming sugary beverages by age and sex.”
Co-author Dr. Gitanjali Singh told Time Magazine:
“Our findings should push policy makers world-wide to make effective
policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages, such as taxation, mass-
media campaigns, and reducing availability of these drinks... Individuals
should drink fewer sugary beverages and encourage their family and friends to
do the same.”
As you may recall, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently tried
to ban the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces in restaurants, food carts
and theaters, but the day before the ban was scheduled to go into effect, a
Supreme Court judge overturned it.5 Bloomberg has stated he intends to appeal
Personally, I believe the most appropriate strategy is to educate people
on the facts about sugar consumption, and encourage personal responsibility.
Taxation and eliminating sweet drinks from schools and other venues may have
a beneficial effect, but to really put a dent in the problem, you need to be
properly informed about the consequences of your choices. Voting with your
pocketbook and avoiding purchasing these products will cause them to
disappear from the marketplace as companies will not produce items that don’t
Scientific Statement from American Heart Association about Sugar Consumptionand Heart Disease Risk
In 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific
statement6 about sugar intake and heart health, pointing out that there is
evidence for a relationship between the two. According to the abstract:
“High intakes of dietary sugars in the setting of a worldwide
pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease have heightened concerns about
the adverse effects of excessive consumption of sugars.
In 2001 to 2004, the usual intake of added sugars for Americans was
22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories per day). Between 1970 and 2005, average
annual availability of sugars/added sugars increased by 19%, which added 76
calories to Americans’ average daily energy intake. Soft drinks and other
sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in
Americans’ diets. Excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with
several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as
shortfalls of essential nutrients...
[T]he American Heart Association recommends reductions in the intake
of added sugars. A prudent upper limit of intake is half of the discretionary
calorie allowance, which for most American women is no more than 100 calories
per day and for most American men is no more than 150 calories per day from
How Much Sugar Do You Eat or Drink Each Day?
Let’s start with soda. One hundred calories isn’t much. Just one 12-ounce
regular soda contains about 140 calories; the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of
sugar. Similarly, one eight-ounceglass of orange juice has about eight full
teaspoons of sugar, and at least 50 percent of that sugar is fructose.
Drinking just one eight-ounce glass of orange juice will wallop your system
with about 25 grams of fructose, which is more than you should have the
Fructose has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the
meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems, and while the majority
of the problem is caused by the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup
added to so many processed foods and sweetened beverages, naturally-occurring
fructose in large amounts of fruit juice is also a problem. Fructose is also
a likely culprit behind the millions of U.S. children struggling with non-
alcoholic liver disease, which is caused by a build-up of fat within liver
cells. Fructose is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking
Around 100 years ago the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of
fructose a day, primarily in the form of whole fruit. One hundred years
later, one-fourth of Americans are consuming more than 135 grams per day
(that's over a quarter of a pound!), largely in the form of soda and other
Fructose at 15 grams a day is unlikely to do much harm (unless you suffer
from high uric acid levels). However, at nearly 10 times that amount it
becomes a MAJOR cause of obesity and nearly all chronic degenerative
diseases. As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL
fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, for most people it
would actually be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, as
it is virtually guaranteed that you will consume “hidden” sources of fructose
from most beverages and just about any processed food you might eat.
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
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