Courtesy of Men’s Health News via, here are some scary facts about the health effects of drinking soda:

  • Weird Fat in Weird Places — Danish researchers have discovered that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Diet-Soda Belly — Surprisingly, even diet soda will pack on the pounds: Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70-percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year span of the study.
  • Caramel Cancer-Causers — We touched on this in an earlier Syfo News post last year when the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the artificial caramel coloring used to make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas brown. The reason: Two contaminants in the coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been found to cause cancer in animals.
  • Accelerated Aging — All colas contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak acid that gives colas their tangy flavor and improves their shelf life. Too much phosphoric acid can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, and one study suggests it could trigger accelerated aging.
  • Water Pollution — Researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies and wastewater-treatment plants don’t catch them before they enter waterways. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin.
  • Mountain Dew Mind — Dentists have long had a name for the mouthful of cavities they see in kids who drink too much Mountain Dew — “Mountain Dew Mouth”.  Now “Mountain Dew Mind” may be the next medical condition that gets named after the soda. An ingredient called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics, is added to prevent the flavoring from separating from the drink. It has been known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large quantities.
  • Whacked-Out Hormones — It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems, it can also be the cans they’re packaged in. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and some forms of reproductive cancers.
  • Dead Birds — It’s not only soda cans that can cause problems, but the parts of bottles that are not recycled have created the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a mass of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean that floats just beneath the surface of the water. Birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife mistake the debris for food and eat large quantities of the plastic, which they are unable to digest.
  • Unknown Side Effects of GMOs — Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn, much of it genetically modified. In independent studies, GMOs (genetically-modified crops) have been linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility.

You can view this entire slideshow on the Rodale website here.

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Last year we posted an article on how reducing calories can slow down the aging process. Now new research suggests that reducing calories may also help to prevent memory loss among older people.

According to an article on the Laboratory Equipment website, the study showed that consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older. The study divided 1,233 people in this age range who were free of dementia into three caloric intake groups — 600 to 1,526 calories per day, 1,526 to 2,143 per day and 2,143 to 6,000 calories per day.

The odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education and other factors that can increase the risk of memory loss.

Staying away from sugary beverages and drinking Syfo is a healthy way to reduce calories at any age. For more on the calories and memory-loss study, visit the Laboratory Equipment website.

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Is your drinking water safe?

A non-profit, consumer advocacy group, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), analyzed almost 20 millions records from state water officials for the period 2004 to 2009. They have compiled a national drinking water database which allows you to enter a zip code or water company name to access EWG’s analysis of your community’s water.

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This New York Times article illustrates how food and beverage makers can use a mix of ingredients — such as fats, sugars and salt — to create desires in us and draw us to food and beverages that are unhealthy for us. By combining these ingredients in different ways, the producers of these products can create pleasurable sensations and an almost insatiable desire to consume, even though our hunger is satisfied or we know that it’s bad for us.

We’ve seen this in the beverage industry with sugar-laden soft drinks. These syrupy drinks are very high in sugar, can be unhealthy to drink and lead to conditions such as obesity or diabetes, yet people are conditioned to enjoy the sugary sweetness.

One way to eat and drink healthy is to know what drives your appetites. You can read the entire New York Times article here.

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From the June 2009 issue of Nutrional Outlook, here’s an article on the use of hexane in the use of some organic soy products.For a quick overview read the highlighted insert in this article. This article helps to explain why the system isn’t perfect regarding products that are Certified Organic. Hexane a by-product of gasoline refining is used by some food manufacturers as a solvent to extract edible oils that are used in many products including those that carry Organic Certification. Look for products that don’t use Hexane in the extraction process.Read the full article here.

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