Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program.We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.
GREEN TIP: Most of us know there are a myriad of reasons to avoid drinking soft drinks but did you know that the sugar from one soft drink damages the white blood cells ability to ingest and kill some bacteria for several hours? Or that the phosphorus in soft drinks pull calcium out of our bones? Avoiding soda is great for your health and good for the environment.
Quotes from James A Howenstine M.D. from A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work:
“In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill gonococcal bacteria for seven hours.”
“Soft drinks also contain large quantities of phosphorus, which when excreted pulls calcium out of the bones. Heavy users of soft drinks will have osteoporosis along with their damaged arteries.”
I think we all know that soft drinks are devoid of nutritional value and the plastic bottles and caps create havoc with the environment. But sometimes people think, if they are just indulging in only one soft drink a day, they are not exposed to many of the health risks that are often associated with these drinks. I recently read an article at Rodale.com that included some disturbing facts I didn’t know about what soda does to your body. Here are a few examples:
Weird Fat in Weird Places
In the latest bad news for the soda industry, Danish researchers 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. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk.
It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight gain, but what is surprising is that 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 study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion! A separate study the same researchers conducted on mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels, that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat.
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. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to create pesticides within the plant itself. Thanks to lax government safety regulations, and tight corporate control over who gets to test these proprietary seeds, there are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest science experiment on the planet.
The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies, nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways, researchers have found. 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, all of which are, or have been, used in diet sodas. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Rodale.com where health meets green
Rodale has been helping people achieve healthier lives since 1930 when J. I. Rodale began his publishing business as a hobby. He was searching for better health and a happier life than his New York City Lower East Side Jewish tenement upbringing provided and began to explore the relationship between how we grow our food, what we eat, and our personal health.
This site is full of great articles, recipes and home remedies for many health issues.