Dangers of Soft Drinks for Personal Training Vancouver
Guest blog by Michael Fuhrman, D.C.
Growing up as a child, packets of Kool-Aid were as ubiquitous in my life as yesterday’s meatloaf and driving without seatbelts (I still marvel at my mother’s ability to drive with her knees while applying makeup in the rear view mirror). Packets of the brightly colored soft drinks were a nickel a pack and came unsweetened (before the invention of artificial sweeteners), with sugar having to be added at home. Those were the days, right?
While Kool-Aid surprisingly still exists today, the beverage industry, especially for kids, has absolutely exploded with every permutation of taste, color, bubbly or not, and caffeinated or not, under the sun available for indiscriminant consumption. It may be a minor miracle that my siblings and I came out of those years healthy with no one displaying signs of diabetes or metabolic syndrome. But there is a significant percentage of the population that is not so lucky. The current modern American diet, high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, is directly responsible for the skyrocketing epidemic of diabetes and obesity, with soft drinks playing a significant role.
Just recently, at one of my son’s open house nights at his intermediate school, the principal actually made it a point to discuss the potential hazards of high-sugared beverages and energy drinks and their possible adverse effects on our children. What was surprising is that these kinds of issues have now reached a saturation point both in our conscious and in the media. This has evolved to the point where they are now being expressed openly, without fear of someone being labeled as overreactive.
While we correlate the tsunami-like surge of pathogenic weight gain directly to the ingestion of snow shovel-sized amounts of sweeteners, there appear to be other health issues associated with chronic soft drink consumption that most of us may not be aware of.
For instance, a recent study found that teens who drink more than five cans of non-diet, carbonated soft drinks every week are significantly more likely to behave aggressively, including carrying a weapon and perpetrating violence against their peers and siblings.
These sugary drinks also appear to have a negative impact on pulmonary health. A new study revealed that a high level of soft drink consumption is associated with asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Increases in the risk of experiencing a stroke in women have been implicated with soft drink ingestion while not only increasing pancreatic cancer risk but also increasing prostate cancer risk in men as well.
Many readers may be aware of The Singapore Chinese Health Study, which suggested a significant increase in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer in those individuals consuming two or more soft drinks a week on a long term basis (yes, alarmingly, that’s per week, not per day).
Diet drinks are not exempt
While excess sugar consumption is essentially agreed upon as a culprit for a myriad of related health conditions, diet soft drinks also come with their own unhealthy baggage, even without the overload of sugar. This study found a potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and the risk of cardiovascular events.
I personally know several people who find the thought of drinking water revolting and will not drink it unless every other option has been eliminated. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is acquainted with non-water consumers and this goes to show how extreme this situation has become. Getting our children used to drinking pure clean water while they are very young is a good step in the right direction, as the health deficits acquired as a consequence of long term soft drink consumption are indisputable.
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