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Sugar-Glazed Poison: Why Sugary Drinks Are Linked To High Death Tolls

Sugar-Glazed Poison: Why Sugary Drinks Are Linked To High Death Tolls

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Conclusions

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

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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