I had a different post planned for today, but then I saw the latest study about the adverse health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and I got annoyed.
One of the latest findings to come out of the long-running Health Professionals Follow-Up Study is that men who drink as little as one sugar-sweetened beverage (like non-diet soda) a day have a 19 percent greater risk of developing coronary heart disease. A similar finding, among women, from the Nurses’ Health Study found a 15 percent increased risk of heart disease. I think anyone who drinks SSBs needs to ask themself: Is it really worth it?
Sugar has no nutrition. It’s just calories. Calories that taste good (to most of us), but empty calories nonetheless. If you’re going to ingest sugar, why would you waste those calories on a beverage that’s down the hatch before you know it? Why wouldn’t you rather have your sugar in something you can chew or at least savor, like dessert?
There is absolutely no redeeming value to sugar-sweetened beverages. You could make the weak argument that ice cream has some protein and calcium from the milk, and cookies have a small amount of protein from eggs, plus maybe some oats or raisins or nuts or something. But what do sugary sodas have? Sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup (six of one, half-dozen of the other from a health point-of-view) plus a lot of artificial ingredients. Gross!
Soda, or pop, depending on what area of the country you are from, is a hard habit to break. I had a hard time breaking the diet soda habit. The biggest obstacle for me was that I was so used to having a can of diet cola at lunch, and another during the mid-afternoon slump. It was the habit of having the beverage, more than the beverage itself. I have maybe one diet cola a year now. It sort of tastes good, but more in a nostalgic sort of way. But it never tastes as good as I remember it tasting. When I’m done drinking it, I always think, “Yeah, I really don’t miss that at all.”
Water. It’s all about water for me now. Flat water, sparkling water, water with lemon, water with lime. Nothing is more refreshing…or more vital for good health. About 60 percent of our bodies are made of the stuff, after all.