It’s hot outside, and while sweet tea is one of the South’s prescriptions for the heat, it’s definitely not a prescription for good health! In fact, in light of the latest research linking sugary drinks to cancer, we thought it was a good idea to remind everyone that all sugary drinks are bad not only for your teeth, but your health.
According to Healthy Food America, a majority of Americans consume at least one sugary drink per day. And while consumption of sugary drinks peaked in 2000 and has been decreasing, that decrease may have flattened as sales of sports drinks, energy drinks, teas and coffees more than doubled between 2000 and 2015.
Here are six reasons to reduce or eliminate sugary drinks from your diet:
- The latest research. A recent French study that used information from 101,000 participants found an association between an intake of sugary drinks, including 100 percent fruit juice, and cancer overall, as well as breast cancer specifically. While the researchers can’t say that sugary drinks cause cancer, they point out that sugary drinks are known to cause obesity, which is a risk factor for cancer.
- Sugary drinks are strongly linked to weight gain. Studies show that people who drink sugary beverages consistently gain more weight that people who do not. People who drinks sugary beverages tend to consume more total calories each day because sugary beverages do not make you feel full.
- Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that drives glucose from your bloodstream into your cells. Drinking sugary drinks seems to make cells resistant to the effects of insulin, thus causing the pancreas to make more insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream, which causes insulin levels to spike. A 2016 study found that sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to the progression of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. And according to a study published in 2010, the risk of developing diabetes is 26 percent higher for people who consume one or more sugary drinks every day. Another study showed that for every 150 calories of sugar per day (approximately one can of soda), the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 1.1 percent
- Heart disease. Sugary drinks increase risk factors for heart disease, including high blood sugar, blood triglycerides, and small, dense LDL particles. One 20-year study of 40,000 men found that those who drank one sugary drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of having or dying from a heart attack compared to men who rarely drank sugary drinks.
- Dementia. Research has linked incremental increases in blood sugar to an increased risk of dementia. Animal studies have indicated that large doses of sugary drinks can impair memory and decision-making capabilities.
- Last, but definitely not least, your teeth. While the combination of sugar and acids in soda is particularly harmful for your teeth, sugar itself in other drinks is bad news. Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that gets energy from sugar and produces acids that can cause cavities to form or enamel erosion to occur. Sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. One glass of glass of apple juice can put people at their daily limit.
So, here’s the deal. Water is always the best choice, but unsweetened tea, milk, sparkling water and diluted juices can also be substituted for the sugary beverages. Set some goals for you and your family to reduce and eliminate sugary beverages from your diet. You’ll have healthier bodies and healthier smiles!