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Drink Water not Soda or Sugary Drinks

LI-Drink-WaterDrink Water not Soda or Sugary Drinks

Sounds obvious? High fructose cola drinks are high-calorie liquid candy that should be avoided and this article has some ideas to help you.  A 2013 Yale University study confirmed what has long been suspected.  It found that only glucose (not fructose) has the ability to reduce blood flow in areas of the brain that regulate appetite, stopping people from wanting to eat more.  The brain requires glucose as a fuel.  When there isn’t enough in the body, it turns on cells to try to get a person to eat more. Once glucose levels rise, the brain turns those cells off. The study found that fructose does not have the ability to operate that off switch.  If you don’t turn off the areas of the brain that are driving you to eat, you have a tendency to consume more calories than you need.  The Yale study used MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain imaging technology to measure and compare activity after the different sweeteners were consumed by 20 healthy adults.  The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The researchers found a “significantly greater” reduction in blood flow after glucose ingestion which reduced the activation of the hypothalamus, insula and striatum.  These brain areas regulate food motivation and reward processing.

The affects are apparent.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese.  Rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.  A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories.  By contrast, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends sugar intake for adult women be no more than 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day.  For adult men, it is 9 teaspoons (36 grams) daily, and for children, it is 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day.

According to the book, “The Real Age Makeover”, being overweight affects our longevity to the extent that we suffer from its side affects.  These include disordered lipid levels, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis and high blood pressure.  If you suffer the side affects, loosing weight is a great way to extend your longevity.

It is difficult to quit the soda habit.  It can help to look at it as a behavioral problem where you need to overcome the urge or little voice in the back of your head that makes you crave a soft drink.  To accomplish this, there are three important concepts.  First, take small steps because small changes equal sustainable change.  Quitting soda is a relatively small change as opposed to trying to cut all sugar out of your diet.  Once you’ve successfully overcome a modest habit, choose another achievable bad habit to target.  Second, it’s often more effective to replace a habit than to break it.  When you get that “urge” for a soda, drink a full glass of water which should kill the craving.  Third, it takes time for behavioral patterns to change so set your expectations accurately.  Give strong consideration to the 30-day habit-breaking timeline.

Tip: There is an excellent app called Wonderful Day which can help you form good habits and keep motivated.

Tip: Take soda off of your shopping list.  If it’s not in your fridge, it’s inconvenient and you will be far less likely to drink it.

Tip: Install an under-sink reverse osmosis water filter in your home or office and try to drink about eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day.  When you get that “urge” for a soda, drink a full glass of water which should kill the craving.  See our article about why it is important for your longevity to drink clean water.


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