Study: Diet Soda Linked to Heart Risks
As reported by the Associated Press (7/07), a large but inconclusive study found that people who drank more than one diet soda each day developed the same risks for heart disease as those who downed sugary regular soda,. The results surprised the researchers who expected to see a difference between regular and diet soda drinkers. They suggest, the data may indicate that even no-calorie sweet drinks increase the craving for more sweets, and that people who indulge in sodas probably have less healthy diets overall.
The study's senior author, Dr. Vasan Ramachandran, emphasized the findings don't show diet sodas are a cause of increased heart disease risks. But he said they show a surprising link that must be studied. "It's intriguing and it begs an explanation by people who are qualified to do studies to understand this better," said Vasan, of Boston University School of Medicine.
The research comes from a massive, multi-generational heart study following residents of Framingham, Mass., a town about 25 miles west of Boston. The new study of 9,000 observations of middle-aged men and women found those who drank more than one soda per day (diet or regular) had an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to those who drank less than one soda. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk for heart disease including large waistlines and higher levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats called triglycerides. At the start of the study, those who reported drinking more than one soft drink a day had a 48 percent increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared to those who drank less soda.
Of participants who initially showed no signs of metabolic syndrome, those who drank more than one soda per day were at 44 percent higher risk of developing it four years later, they reported. Researchers expected the results to differ when regular soda and diet soda drinkers were compared, and were surprised when they did not, Vasan said.
Nutrition expert Barry Popkin, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said that result isn't that surprising. He said much of the market for diet sodas are people who have unhealthy lifestyles and know they need to lose weight, with the other portion being thin people who want to stay that way. That means many people drinking diet sodas have unhealthy habits that could lead to increased heart disease risks, whether they drink diet soda or not.
In studies in which some users were randomly given diet sodas and others were given regular soda, diet soda drinkers lost weight and regular soda drinkers gained weight, Popkin said. In a statement, the American Heart Association said it supports dietary patterns that include low-calorie beverages. "Diet soda can be a good option to replace caloric beverages that do not contain important vitamins and minerals," the association said, adding further study is needed before any association between diet soda and heart risk factors would lead to public recommendations. Vasan also said poor overall health habits may be one reason diet soda drinkers did not show lower heart disease risks in the Framingham study, but there hasn't been enough research to say for sure. Another possible reason is a controversial theory called "dietary compensation," which holds that if someone drinks a large amount of liquids at a meal, they aren't satisfied and will tend to eat more at the next meal, Vasan said.
There is no substitute for drinking...just plain water.
Other beverages may contain water, but have to be metabolized before the body can use the water. Caffeinated sodas, coffee, tea, and alcohol tend to counteract the positive effects of the water they contain. These drinks dehydrate the body, resulting in headaches, fatigue, indigestion, and even dry skin.
You know that you should drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, but how do you know that the water you drink is a health benefit...and not a health risk?
Over 2,100 contaminants have been identified in U.S. drinking water, while the EPA only regulates 80. Contaminants of health concern, which may be in your drinking water, are lead, volatile organic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, parasites, and disinfection-by-products.
Bottled water usually tastes better than tap, but you can't always be sure of its quality. Many bottled water companies simply use a chlorine removal filter, which leaves many contaminants of health concern still in your water.
A good water treatment device will prove to be your best choice. Check NSF International's web site at www.nsf.org for a listing of different manufacturers and to find out what contaminants are reduced by the various filters.
(reprinted with permission from Deanna Delong, Multi-Pure associate)
The True Summer Coolant
Water is your body's coolant, regulating your body temperature through perspiration. Sweating keeps you from overheating-especially during exercise or hot weather. Heat exhaustion can occur when your body doesn't have enough water to regulate your body temperature. Symptoms include excessive perspiration, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and vomiting. As little as 3% weight loss from water results in serious health problems. A 15% water loss can result in death.
Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
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