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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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