We all know that sugary drinks are bad for us. In fact, you can’t go a day without hearing or seeing something stating that sodas are unhealthy.
That said, do we really understand just how much these kinds of beverages are negatively affecting our health? The answer is no, as despite the fact that 184,000 deaths a year are linked to them, sugary drinks are as popular as ever.
The root of the problem is the sugar itself, which can cause a number of maladies and diseases when consumed in high amounts on a daily basis. Which of these do you have to worry about the most? Well, in my mind, sugary drinks should be avoided because…
1. They increase your risk of acquiring diabetes.
This one should come as no surprise. With the rise in popularity of sugary drinks, more and more people are at risk of acquiring diabetes. Indeed, researchers believe that around 133,000 diabetes-related deaths a year are caused by over-consumption of sodas and other sugar-laden beverages.
2. They can heighten your blood pressure.
Overloading your system with sugar has been known to spike blood pressure numbers, in part because sugar consumption is one of the major contributing factors to weight gain.
Why does this matter? Well, the CDC estimates that nearly 360,000 American deaths a year can be attributed in part to high blood pressure. While high blood pressure doesn’t sound as dangerous as diabetes, it’s perhaps even more deadly overall.
3. They can ruin your liver.
Most folks know that consuming lots of alcohol will damage your liver in the long run, but few realize that sugary drinks can do the exact same thing.
If you abuse your body with too much sugar over a lengthy period of time, your liver will become insulin resistant, which will lead to several other maladies, including diabetes.
And to make matters worse, it leaves you susceptible to liver disease, which is responsible for nearly 40,000 deaths a year.
4. They leave you vulnerable to cancer.
While sugar isn’t directly linked to cancer, weight gain linked to sugar consumption is.
Of all of the yearly deaths to cancer, researchers in 2010 found that 6,450 of them were a direct result of people’s intake of sugary beverages.
In this day and age, it’s probably a good idea to cut out all of the things that are heavily linked to cancer, especially since it seems like there are so many ways to increase your risk of acquiring it already.
5. They hurt your heart.
Each year, 45,000 cardiovascular disease-related deaths are linked directly to the consumption of sugary drinks.
What’s the connection, you ask? Well, the main one is that an above-average intake of sugar is directly linked to weight gain. And being overweight increases your risk of acquiring heart disease by an exponential amount.
For your own good, it’s best to do all you can to stave off heart disease, as it’s responsible for a quarter of all deaths in the United States every year.
So in some ways that “45,000” number referenced above is slightly misleading, as the true number of folks who succumb to cardiovascular disease is closer to 610,000 a year. While only a fraction of those were directly linked to sugary drinks, there’s no doubt that they probably played some kind of role in the majority of those deaths.
6. They clog your brain.
And I don’t mean in a metaphorical sense, either. Studies have shown that having high blood sugar greatly increases your chance of dying as a result of a stroke. That same study revealed that those with normal sugar levels had a much higher chance of surviving a stroke, should they have one.
Why is this? Well, excess sugar intake causes lactic acid to build up in your brain, which inhibits the flow of blood, causing a stroke. Therefore, having a stroke whilst also having high blood sugar is a bit of a double whammy…not only does a part of your brain lose access to normal blood flow, but it’s harder for those passageways to reopen after the fact, thus increasing the mortality rate compared to those with normal blood sugar.
This is important, because although nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year, only 130,000 lead to deaths. Limiting your intake of sugary drinks is therefore crucial if you want to better your chances of pulling through after something so traumatic.
You should now know that, not only are sugary drinks bad for you, but they’re directly linked to several of the top causes of death in the world. While you shouldn’t feel bad about treating yourself once in a while, just make sure that it doesn’t become a bad habit! The consequences just aren’t worth it.
Did this article make you want to chance your diet, at least in regard to your intake of sugary drinks? Sound off in the comments below!
Featured photo credit: Colorful Sodas/Michael Whyte via flic.kr