Diabetes and Soft drinks

If I can get readers to make one significant change to improve their health today  – Stop drinking soft drinks (and juices.)  These high sugar containing drinks are more than just empty calories, and this one small change can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes!

(P.S.)  Substituting for diet drinks is no improvement since diet sodas etc. have been linked to an increased incidence of strokes and high blood pressure (HTN) – switch to coffee, tea or water!!)  Coffee has even been shown in several studies as reducing the risk of diabetes, pancreatic disease.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup was a uniquely American product that was initially created as a result of a government subsidy for farmers which has since spread to the UK, Japan and several other nations.  With these government subsidies, corn syrup became a cheaper sweetening agent in comparison to cane sugar.  This led to the pervasive use of corn syrup in many American food products.   Today it is used extensively, and avoiding this additive requires considerable effort and extensive examination of product labeling.  One of the main products that uses large amounts of high fructose corn syrup are soft drinks such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

As the American obesity (and corresponding Diabetes) epidemics continue unchecked, multiple researchers have attempted to pinpoint causes for these phenomena.  High fructose corn syrup has emerged as a likely culprit.  (However, even this scientific research is politically charged, as mega-corporations attempt to discredit findings that hurt their bottom line, similar to tobacco manufacturers in the past[1].)

Stanhope & Havel (2010), researchers at UC Davis recently compared the effects of fructose ( high fructose corn syrup is a mixture of fructose and sucrose) to sucrose (regular table sugar.)  They found that fructose use increased visceral adiposity (fat around internal organs), dylipidemia and decreased insulin sensitivity.  Decreased insulin sensitivity is a hallmark of the development of diabetes and is one of the ways that Diabetes in Americans differs from diabetes in other countries.  This means that people need more insulin to do the same job (transport nutrients into the cells).  This is also why we see people requiring more insulin that ever before.  In the past, patients could often be managed with 5 units of insulin (per meal).  Now, more commonly, due to this insulin resistance, similar patients are requiring 50 units of insulin (per meal).

But the problem isn’t just high fructose corn syrup – it’s our overall sugar consumption in general – Americans are just consuming WAY, WAY too much sugar – in “energy’ drinks, colas,  designer coffee drinks, ‘sweet teas’ and the so-called ‘healthy fruit juice.’  [I cringe every time I see a parent give their child juice as a ‘healthy alternative.’]

This sugar is KILLING us, by causing a myriad of health problems which in turn have a domino effect causing even greater health problems..  Sugar —->  Obesity/ High cholesterol ——>diabetes , hypertension,  atherosclerosis ——-> coronary artery disease (heart attacks), renal failure, vascular disease (ischemia/ limb loss/ strokes)..  The obesity epidemic, and sugary drink consumption has also been linked to fatty liver disease.

Now Malik, et. al. (2010) over at Harvard/ Brighams performed a meta-analysis on this subject.  Now if it’s been a while since you’ve read a lot of scientific literature, then let me remind you that meta-analyses are fairly high-powered studies because they take  ALL of the existing data, compiled it, and report the findings.. This is much stronger evidence that some six person study looking at cinnamon and diabetes.  (Yet – the media blazed that study everywhere – so  now plenty of people are putting cinnamon in everything.)


Starting today – I want you to care about your health, more than drinking that coke, pepsi or kool-aid.  Don’t try to cheat – with ‘diet’ options – because you are only cheating/ fooling yourself..

Make this one change:  switch to water, coffee (not loaded down with sugar/ cream) or UNSWEET tea.

Try it for at least thirty days..  and let’s start from there..   Just this one small change, not because I asked – but because you love yourself.  (And if you don’t love yourself – we need to work on that too!)

Additional references:

This study says diet sodas don’t cause diabetes but does link it to strokes..   It’s from MSN health which is an ‘okay’ site for consumer health information (articles are not always well written.)

Four reasons to avoid sodas – Health content from Yahoo! – it’s actually a reader’s digest article, which I typically avoid because they are usually poorly written, and not factually based.

[1] A good rule of thumb:  Whenever an industry starts advertising for their product (versus individual brands) than strong scientific evidence has probably emerged implicating the product in serious health conditions.  Think of the recent corn syrup ads, and “Beef – it’s for dinner,” and other campaigns in the past.

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