The Best Thing That You Can Do For Your Health Is To Skip The Sugary, Highly Caffeinated Drinks...
Many of us regularly consume unhealthy drinks such as sodas, sugary coffees, and energy drinks at work. They give us the boost that we need in the morning, and keep us from getting too worn out in the afternoon. It’s not uncommon to drink more than a few cups of coffee, or to have multiple energy drinks throughout the day. These beverages have become a staple in daily life, but they’re actually doing more harm than good.
One of the biggest problems with consuming these drinks is all of the added sugar. Natural sugar found in foods such as fruit can be part of a balanced diet, but artificial sugars like those found in many sodas don’t do anything beneficial for your health. Sometimes sugar is listed plainly on the ingredients list, but a lot of times large amounts of sugar can be hiding in ingredients such as cane syrup, glucose, lactose, sucrose, or high fructose corn syrup. It’s important to check the ingredients and make sure you keep track of how much sugar you’re putting in your body. Many beverages, such as sodas, have more sugar than you might be expecting.
An average 20-ounce bottle of soda contains a whopping 17 teaspoons of sugar, and it doesn’t have much else. It has no nutritional value whatsoever, and is full of empty calories. All you really get when you drink a bottle of soda is sugar, and a lot of it. Sugar can be an addictive substance, and 75% of Americans consume too much in their diets. Just a single soda is more than double the recommended sugar intake per day, and it’s easy to keep exceeding that amount. When you drink a sugary beverage, it causes a hike in your blood sugar, giving you a quick burst of energy. However, that burst of energy is short-lived, and is followed by a big crash. This can create a vicious cycle of consuming more sugary drinks to get back to that “sugar high,” leading to very unhealthy amounts of sugar in the body and a bad habit that’s hard to break.
Sugar can cause a whole slew of health problems, including diabetes, asthma, heart disease, dental issues, acne, and even a possible increased risk of cancer. Studies show that just one sugary drink per day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25%. Diets that are high in sugar can cause insulin resistance and lead to obesity, both of which are risk factors for diabetes and some cancers. Consuming too much sugar can also wreak havoc on your teeth. It is well-known to contribute to cavities and tooth decay. The acids found in sodas, mixed with all of the sugar, eat away at teeth and can also cause erosion of tooth enamel. Dentists recommend staying away from sugary drinks as much as possible, a sentiment that is shared by many professionals in the medical field. A study done by doctors at Harvard found an alarming link between sugar consumption and heart disease. Through the 15-year study, individuals who got more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die of heart disease than individuals who got their calories elsewhere. This statistic was accurate across the board, regardless of weight, sex, age, or other factors.
The sugary coffee drinks from your local coffee shop aren’t much better. Unless you like your coffee black, you’re likely adding sugar. Some specialty coffee drinks contain as much sugar as soda, if not more. A large mocha can have around 18 teaspoons of sugar. Since these drinks give you a sugar high on top of your caffeine buzz, they can be even more addictive than either sugar or caffeine alone. Many people are consuming at least one of these drinks per day, if not more. They taste great, but it’s just due to all of the sugar. If you’re getting flavoring and whipped cream added to your coffee every day, it might be time to rethink your drink.
Energy drinks also have health risks. In recent years, there have been several cases of cardiac arrest after individuals consumed too many energy drinks. The only abnormalities in these cases were the extremely high levels of caffeine in the body. Experts agree that caffeine is safe in doses of up to 400mg per day. Some energy drinks have as much caffeine as two and a half shots of espresso, which is equivalent to 160mg per drink. After three energy drinks, the amount of caffeine in the body starts to reach dangerous levels.
Caffeine addiction is one of the most widespread addictions in society. If you’ve ever skipped your regular cup of coffee and ended up with a headache, you’re probably one of many people with a dependence on caffeine. The withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and also include drowsiness, muscle pains, trouble concentrating and nausea. 90% of Americans consume caffeine daily, and more than 50% consume more than 300mg per day, so it’s likely that most have at least a slight dependence.
For those of us who like to use caffeine to get through our day, teas are a much healthier option. Tea contains less caffeine than coffee, and can help lower caffeine dependence and reduce the crash that is common at the end of the day. It’s also rich in antioxidants and amino acids. Tea can reduce inflammation, benefit your skin, fight infections, improve your digestion, prevent heart disease, and may lower your risk of cancer. Studies done in Japan found that green tea can help you to live longer, overall.
If you’re looking to kick the caffeine habit, consider trying drinks that provide energy through natural sources such as fruit. You’ll be providing your body with nutrients and antioxidants that are lacking in other drinks, and they can still satisfy a sweet tooth. Make sure that you’re getting enough water, too! Water can help to flush out any toxins in your body, and make it easier to leave unhealthy habits behind. It’s recommended to drink around 2 liters of water per day. Teas, coffee and other beverages have a little water, but it’s not enough to meet the required intake. At least a few times a day, opt for simply water to quench your thirst.
The best thing that you can do for your health is to skip the sugary, highly caffeinated drinks. The benefits will be significant. Once you ditch the sugar, you’ll notice the difference. Beyond lowering your risk for many health issues, research has also found that those who consume less sugar are less likely to develop depression, and those who drink less caffeine are less likely to experience anxiety. Not only will you be healthier, you’ll feel happier, too. It’s worth the switch.
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