Drinking your way to a diabetes epidemic: How sugar sweetened beverages are damaging your health
By 2050, 33% of Americans (1/3) will be diabetic (type 2). It is fair to say that consuming excess amounts of sugar is not the only cause of this devastating disease, but it sure is a gateway, towards a multitude of complications brought directly and indirectly by this disease.
A high blood sugar can cause a gradual build up of fatty deposits, clogging up arteries and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease. In fact, cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death for those with type 2 diabetes.
Some of the complications of T2DM:
2. Heart disease
3. Skin problems
4. High blood pressure
5. Eye related problems
5. Neuropathy (nerve damage)
6. Limb amputation
7. Gum disease
Let's discuss the many different kinds of sweetened beverages & their health damage:
1. Sugar sweetened beverages:
These drinks are sweetened with refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, including soft drinks, fruit juice, vitamin water, iced tea and energy drinks.
High fructose corn syrup:
Many studies have linked high fructose corn syrup to diabetes (type 2). It is estimated that HFCS is now a major source of fructose in USA. One might ask what fructose and HFCS have in common!
Although fructose is present in fruit, honey, and some other carbohydrate sources, the quantities consumed from these sources are not as large as is found in foods and beverages sweetened by HFCS, and this is why products with HFCS pose an even bigger health risk than foods with honey and fruit.
In another blog post I will explain the mechanism of fructose and high fructose corn syrup with respect to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, but respectively to this post, beverages with HFCS and refined sugars AS WELL AS 100% fruit juice do indeed raise your risk of T2DM.
> 1 serving of sugar sweetened beverage a day, increases the risk of type 2 DM by 13% as well as increasing adiposity/weight gain, and raising the risk of insulin resistance.
> 1 serving of 100% fruit juice a day, increases the risk of type 2 DM by 7%.
2. Artificially sweetened beverages:
These drinks are those with the label "diet" written on the bottle. They include diet Coke, diet Pepsi, diet 7-Up and even Coke 0.
What do coke zero and diet sodas have in common? Aspartame!
Aspartame and weight gain: a bitter paradox!
Most people are under the impression that choosing a beverage with "diet" written over it, will not contribute to weight loss. Surely, if you are on a diet, you do not want to gain weight, but what a scam would it be to learn that the very same products you are buying to help you lose weight, or maintain your weight, is actually indirectly making you put on the pounds!
Blame it on the lab created sweet "sugar", one of which is called Aspartame. Aspartame is most commonly used in today's food and beverage industries, in an array of diet and low calorie drinks.
The San Antonio Heart Study examined 3,682 adults over a seven- to eight-year period in the 1980s. When matched for initial body mass index (BMI), gender, ethnicity, and diet, drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs at the follow-up, with dose dependence on the amount of consumption.
These drinks actually:
1. Stimulates your appetite
2. Increases your carbohydrate intake/desire
3. Stimulates fat storage and weight gain
> 1 serving of artificially sweetened beverage a day, increases the risk of type 2 DM by 8% when adiposity is not at play (for those individuals who are not obese).
What should you do:
1. Drink more water
2. Opt out for no sugar in tea and coffee
3. It is OK to have some type of sugar- but limit your intake and DO NOT consume sweetened beverages everyday
4. Avoid artificially sweetened drinks
5. Exercise more often
6. Manage your blood glucose levels if you are pre diabetic or have DM T1 or T2.
7. Consume more whole grains and fiber (consult a dietician first about your personal conditions) - if you are interested, look into my recipes. My entire meal recipes are in my cookbook. Recipes that do not contain refined sugars.
8. READ LABELS!
9. Research for your own self
10. Share this with others
- I have diabetes type 2 running in my family, so it is important for me to keep my blood glucose levels at a normal range, and not consume sweetened (artificial or natural) drinks. I drink water, and caffeinated drinks without sugar (I have lowered my consumption of caffeinated drinks). I exercise often and do not consume grains if they are not whole grain.
- I am currently in a masters program towards obtaining my RD degree, and I plan on pursuing a diabetes certified training, post graduation!
Watch my video on refined sugar and do not forget to subscribe to my youtube.