Health experts have been telling you for years that sugary drinks, soda pop in particular, have negative impacts on your health. Even those with artificial sweeteners have been linked to diabetes and weight gain. But a new study published this week in the journal Circulation, from the American Heart Association, links these types of beverages to premature death and gives a strong warning to women in particular.
Researchers studied the deaths of more than 36,000 people, notably deaths due to cardiovascular disease and cancers, who had been followed for research purposes since 1980. The study compared the subjects’ diets, with a focus on soda type drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks, all of which have either added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
The findings from this study found a clear relationship between sugary beverages and premature death, particularly in women. Men who had two or more sugary drinks each day were 29% more likely to die prematurely versus a staggering 63% for women. Furthermore, this study showed that every sugary beverage consumed each day can cause a 7% increased chance of premature death and a 10% increased chance for cardiovascular disease.
Lead study author Vasanti Malik, of Harvard University, wants to ensure people understand that water is still the very best choice of drink for everyone. “Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the healthiest choice,” he said. The study showed that risk is only slightly decreased in drinks with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.
Doctors have been telling us for years that drinking beverages high in sugar will increase weight gain, risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. This study further emphasizes the need for unsweetened alternatives in all diets.
Cutting out sugar is a strong wellness trend these days. There are countless sugar detox plans out there and many diets focus on removing as much unnatural sugar as possible from your eating plans. For some, sugar may feel like an addiction but there are ways in which you can help yourself wean off sugar.
When you are craving a sugary snack or drink, find a desirable alternative. Organic fruit, for example, can satiate a sugar craving without affecting blood sugar levels in the way that processed sugar does. Drinking peppermint tea is a good alternative to sugary beverages as it has a sweet flavor without the sugar, and also helps to make you feel revitalized. Try to avoid sauces and dips with your food and grill or steam your vegetables whenever possible. Make sure that you are reading labels properly, as sugars are often disguised in your food with many different names.
Initially, when you try to cut back on sugar, you may find that you are more irritable than normal. Studies have also shown that by increasing your physical activity, your mood is naturally boosted through endorphins, which is a much healthier alternative than reaching for a sugary snack which may bring you a temporary “high”. When you change your attitude towards sugar, you will be surprised how quickly you can change your diet in return. Your longevity will thank you!