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Can Warning Labels on Soda Prevent Diabetes?
San Francisco has declared that soda companies now have to include health risks in sugary drink advertisements. Learn more about the decision and the health risks of soda below:
Lawmakers in San Francisco recently voted to become the first city in the country to place health warnings on sugary drinks and sodas. The lawmakers cited the risk between sodas and chronic disease as the reason for the labels. The labels would have similar warnings to the labels seen on cigarettes. In its infantile stages, the warnings could only be applied to advertisements for sodas. However, if the law passes at the state level,
California could soon require soda manufacturers to place warning labels directly on soda containers. The proposed advertisements would read, “Warning. Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.”
As long as no opposition to the law occurs, it will be signed into San Francisco law in late summer 2015. Additional proposals in San Francisco were also approved that would ban the use of city funds for the purchase of sugary drinks and would ban the advertising of sugary drinks on public property.
San Francisco lawmakers stated that this new law “makes clear that these drinks aren’t harmless – indeed, quite the opposite.”
The lawmakers in San Francisco are correct. According to research, the widespread consumption of sugary drinks costs Americans over $190 billion each year in health costs, mainly due to obesity. In addition to high healthcare costs, sugary drinks are linked to increased risks for heart problems, diabetes, bone loss, and other dangerous health problems. Find out more about the health dangers of sugary drinks below:
Soda and drinks with added sugars have been linked with dozens of dangerous and deadly health conditions. According to research, when a person drinks soda or another sugary beverage, the body creates insulin to counteract the large amounts of sugar present in the drink. Insulin moves sugar from the drink into the bloodstream, where sugar is converted to energy. The liver then turns any excess sugar into fat for later energy use.
After about an hour, the body crashes from the effort to absorb all of the sugar, which makes the soda-drinker feel sluggish and tired. This prompts many to drink more soda or eat more sugar, which starts the cycle again. Sugary drinks strongly influence health in five distinct areas.
In addition to the problems listed below, some research suggests that sugary drinks negatively affect tooth enamel, reproductive health, the respiratory system, and the kidneys. Read more about each health concern below:
People who drink soda regularly have an increased risk for developing diabetes. According to a study published in Diabetes Care in 2010, people who drink 1-2 cans a day have a 26 percent greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly enough, even if the person lived an otherwise healthy life and ate healthy foods, the increased risk for diabetes and health problems was still there, just at a slightly reduced rate.
A study on sugary drinks and diabetes conducted by the Black Women’s Health Study (with 60,000 participants) found that women were more likely to be both obese and have diabetes if they drank soda regularly. According to researchers, the high glycemic load present in sugary drinks is most likely what contributes to an increase in adverse health risks because of the constant strain on blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and chronic inflammation.
The Framingham Heart Study found that study participants who drink about one soda or sugary drink a day were about 25 percent more likely to have blood sugar issues and 50 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
A high concentration of sugary drinks in the diet also increases a person’s risk for developing heart disease. The Nurse’s Health Study (with nearly 90,000 participants) found that women who drink more than two servings of a sugary beverage daily have a 40 percent higher risk of developing heart attacks or heart disease.
Another study followed about 40,000 men for 20 years found that men who drank just one soda a day had an increased risk of developing heart disease of 20 percent.
It makes sense that drinking sugary drinks regularly would have an influence on body weight and diabetes (which is closely tied with sugar intake and body weight). However, a surprising health risk of drinking soda is the effect it can have on bone health. Soda contains high levels of phosphate and phosphoric acid. If the balance between phosphate and calcium is off, it can cause significant damage to the bones, such as bone softening, cavities, and osteoporosis. Phosphoric acid also blocks some absorption of all nutrients.
A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that when study participants consumed more phosphate than calcium, it deteriorated their bones. Calcium intake is particularly important during childhood and teen years while bones are still developing. If children exchange calcium-rich foods with soda, their bone health suffers. Milk not only contains calcium, but it also provides children with a variety of other nutrients that can build strong bones, such as B vitamins, protein, vitamin D, and in some cases, vitamin K2.
The 2007 study found than when children drank more sodas, they consumed less milk. When children drank more milk, they drank fewer sodas.
Gout is an extreme form of arthritis usually triggered by the presence of high fat concentrations in the body. In a 22-year long study of about 80,000 women published by JAMA in 2010, women who drank at least one soda a day had an increased risk of developing gout by 75 percent. A 2008 study published in BMJ of nearly 50,000 men found that men who consumed one or more sodas a day had similar risks for developing gout.
Researchers from Harvard have estimated that for each extra serving of sugary drinks a person has each day (a serving was listed as 12 ounces), their risk of becoming obese increased by 60 percent or 1.6 times. As one can of soda equals between 9 and 10 teaspoons of sugar, it is no wonder that drinking a lot of soda increases weight gain risk. Children who drink soda daily are more likely to be obese than children who do not drink soda regularly.
A 20-year study examining over 120,000 study participants found that when study participants increased their soda consumption by one 12-ounce serving for day, they gained an average of one extra pound every four years. Individuals who add more than one 12-ounce serving of soda to their diets are more likely to gain weight.
The easiest way to prevent the damaging effects of soda is to not drink the beverages on a regular basis. Reserve soda consumption for special occasions, such as a once-a-week treat. Limit children’s consumption of sodas and sugar-sweetened drinks (even juice-based drinks) to 1-2 times a week. Even while consuming soda and sugary beverages on occasion, there are steps you can take to counteract the damage that drinking sugary drinks does to the body. Follow the steps outlined below to protect your bones and overall health against the dangers of soda:
Calcium is not just in milk. Calcium is present in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, beans, and tofu. Many of these vegetables also have vitamin K and minerals which aid in the development of strong, healthy bones. Minimally processed milk contains more nutrients than pasteurized, homogenized milk, as many of the nutrients have been removed through the heating process.
Vitamin D is essential to bone health. When children worked in factories at the turn of the century, they developed rickets (a bone deterioration disease) from lack of sunlight. Health experts recommend getting about 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. A general serving of vitamin D supplement only contains about 400 IU, but about 20-30 minutes in full sunlight will give you about 1,000 IU. If you can’t get enough sun in a day, adding in additional vitamin D supplements can provide additional support.
Exercise builds bone health at all stages of life. Weight-bearing exercises (like jogging or weight lifting) are particularly beneficial to bone health. Exercise is important for young people, but it is particularly important for adults over 30. Once an adult reaches the age of 30, bones start to deteriorate without regular exercise and a healthy diet. Avoid Retinol One form of vitamin A, retinol, is actually damaging to bones. Many fortified foods contain retinol, which is damaging to bones. Instead, look for sources of vitamin A from beta-carotene. Beta-carotene has a positive effect on bones and will cause no damage to your skeleton.
The intake of soda and other sugary beverages also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although the best way to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes is to avoid added sugars, a few extra steps can help reduce your risk of developing the condition even further. Added sugars are present in many surprising foods, so taking steps to keep blood sugar low at all times will provide benefit even if you do not consume soda regularly.
A few supplements have been linked with a reduction in blood sugar levels. Use these supplements to keep your sugar levels in check:
Fats can help provide a sustained energy source that prevents sugar spikes. The consumption of fat slows the absorption of sugar, making it less likely to cause sugar shock. Eat healthy fats from nuts, avocados, cheese, butter, and olive oil. Avoid processed fats and hydrogenated fats.
A diet filled with healthy foods will provide a healthy base for avoiding many common health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Nothing is surprising here; just eat more vegetables, healthy fat, and protein than sugars and carbohydrates. Avoid added sugars as much as possible and reign in the consumption of desserts. A dessert once or twice a week is plenty.
If San Francisco starts to label sodas as a dangerous and unhealthy beverage, other states and cities are likely to follow. Sodas have been shown to be as damaging to health as cigarettes and alcohol, but their packaging is not regulated. Adding warnings to sugary drinks could help save lives and prevent damaging health risks such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. With just a small amount of effort, such as by eating a healthy diet and avoiding sodas, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes and other dangerous health problems.
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