Friday, August 20, 2010

Sugary drinks linked to Diabetes, but not only because they lead to weight gain

In a seemingly obvious way, sugary drinks (ie, non-diet sodas, juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc) lead to Metabolic Syndrome (ie, bad cholesterol, obesity, pre-diabetes) and full-blown Diabetes Mellitus. However, recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health found an association between these sugary drinks and "increased dietary glycemic load"...that leads to "insulin resistance, beta-cell dysfunction, and inflammation."

What this means is that these drinks not only cause you to gain weight, but they also disrupt the way sugar (glucose) is broken down and absorbed in your body, leading to excess circulating sugars and insulin (the hormone that enables the cells to take the sugar into cells, enabling its use) in the blood. Over the long term, this "impaired glucose tolerance" (as we say in the medical field) can wreak havoc on your pancreas, nerves and blood vessels, causing diabetes and/or it's complications, respectively. Medical practitioners have known this for a while, however, the concept gets lost in translation in the clinic...practitioners say 'don't drink sodas' but fail to explain exactly why or how they can negatively affect health. It is my belief, that this lack of understanding is what truly inhibits patients' willingness to change. So, here is yet another reason to avoid sodas and other fructose-laden drinks.

Not to mention...sugary drinks are AWFUL for your teeth : )

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