Study: Soda Consumption Increases Overall Stroke Risk

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According to a new study.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk.

The study — recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — is the first to examine soda’s affect on stroke risk. Previous research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and coronary artery disease.

“Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet,” said Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD, study author and Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases — including stroke.”

In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin which, over time, may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These physiologic changes influence atherosclerosis, plaque stability and thrombosis — all of which are risk factors of ischemic stroke. This risk for stroke appears higher in women than in men.

In comparison, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants and may reduce stroke risk. When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke.

Well, I always drink sugar-free sodas. But, I suppose I should limit the intake and if I need an additional caffeine bump during the day, I will drink coffee.


Food and Drug Administration Says Soda is Safe – Not Cancer Causing

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I am relieved and I am sure most consumers that love caramel colored soda are too.

U.S. regulators said soft drinks from PepsiCo Inc and Coca-Cola Co posed no health risk, contrary to a U.S. watchdog group that reported several popular brands contain high levels of a chemical linked to cancer in animals.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said it found unsafe levels of a chemical used to make caramel color in cans of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc’s Dr. Pepper, and Whole Foods’ 365 Cola.

The group asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban caramel coloring agents that contain the chemical known as 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI. This follows a similar plea last year.

“Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson. “If companies can make brown food coloring that is carcinogen-free, the industry should use that.”

The FDA said it is reviewing the group’s petition, but that the drinks were still safe.

“A consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents,” said Doug Karas, an FDA spokesman, in a statement.

Now, as far as the sugar is concerned with regards to obesity and diabetes, that is another story.

Moderation with soda whether it be regular or not is the best course of action anyway.


Banning Soda at School Ineffective In Curbing Consumption?

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State bans on sugar-sweetened drinks in middle schools didn’t have much impact on kids’ overall consumption, researchers found.

Although the ban significantly cut down on student-reported access at school, about 85% of students reported having at least one soda or other sweet drink in the prior week whether they could get the beverages at school or not, Daniel R. Taber, PhD, MPH, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues reported.

Bans on soda only had even less impact.

These results from surveys at schools across 40 states appeared online in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“School is only one aspect of a child’s environment,” Taber’s group noted, “and youth have proven to be very adept at compensating for individual changes to their environment.”

The Institute of Medicine and other organizations have urged a universal ban on selling or providing sweetened beverages at school, with the rationale that limiting access at school should reduce overall consumption because students spend a large portion of their day there.

But students who reported at least daily consumption actually slightly increased their intake when the drinks were banned at school, suggesting that they more than compensated with drinks purchased at convenience stores and other locations, the researchers pointed out.

“Any impact of state school-based sugar-sweetened beverages policies on youth dietary consumption may be modest without changes in other policy sectors,” Taber and colleagues wrote.

Schools have to accompany the ban on the selling of sodas with a comprehensive education plan that delineates the problems with obesity and the role of sugary drinks. Of course, the students will simply wait until 2:30 PM and then head to the nearby store and drink their daily sodas or energy drinks.

While I do think a ban on sugary drinks, especially at elementary schools is appropriate, if it is a ban only approach, the change in behavior of drinking more healthy products will not be realized.

It is all about teaching the students what drinking too much soda and energy drinks will do to your health – especially your teeth.