Soda, Sugar, and Weight Gain
Sodas and other sugary drinks have been getting a bad rap in the news for a while now, and for good reason. Read on to learn how drinking sugary sodas directly harm your health.
Sugary drinks such as soda are a well-known cause of weight gain and obesity. New research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation investigated the link between these beverages and the development of premature heart attacks and death. The study followed 42,833 men’s diet, weight, smoking, and exercise patterns for an average of 22 years. The primary finding of the study was men who drank one sugar-sweetened beverage per day had a 20 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
Independent Risk Factor Found
Large fluctuations in insulin levels may occur when you continually consume high amounts of processed sugar. Erratic fluctuation in insulin has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and weight loss resistance.
Sugary-beverage consumption “appears to be an independent risk factor for heart disease,” says lead author Frank Hu, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The consumption of sugary beverages has now been linked to several other risk factors that can contribute to heart disease as well. High triglyceride levels and low “good” HDL result from soda consumption. Both of these may increase the risk of suffering a heart attack.
Dietary Habits Linked
Obesity and genetics were once classified as the primary causes of heart disease, but the findings of the study suggest that it’s more related to the consumption of sugar and other dietary habits.
Sugary beverages have also been found to produce inflammation – a major cause of chronic health conditions. It has been found to produce internal visceral fat storage that strains blood circulation and overall organ function.
Additional lab tests in the study confirmed elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and leptin. C-reactive protein is the most accurate lab test that measures inflammation levels throughout the body. Leptin is a hormone that helps regulate your metabolism.
Unable to Burn Fat
Leptin is less well-known but is a very important lab test. This hormone tells your brain to burn fat. When you drink sugary beverages, the leptin receptors become less active. This decreased activity level may inhibit the body’s ability to burn fat. Weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease can result.
Consuming soda has also been linked to the following:
- Drinking two sodas per week can increase risk of pancreatic cancer by 87 percent.
- Drinking one soda per day may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 44 percent and a child’s risk of becoming obese by 60 percent.
- Drinking two sodas per day increases the risk of gout by 85 percent.
Reverse the Damage
Your body weight is approximately 60 percent water. Water is used in all of the cells, organs, and tissues in the body. Hydration is one of the best ways to remove toxins and harmful substances like sugary beverages. Studies suggest that, to counteract the effects of one soda, one must drink up to 32 glasses of water.
- To determine if you are dehydrated, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re in good shape. If it’s dark, you’re probably dehydrated.
- Eating a diet high in vegetables is another rehydration method.
- Limit caffeine — it’s a diuretic and can cause dehydration.
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