Why You Should Cut Down On Sugary Drinks

The latest health breakthroughs include findings on sodas, cinnamon, and calcium.

BY Clea Kim

May 16 2013 3:43 AM ET

Drink at Your Own Peril
Sugary drinks contribute to 180,000 obesity-related deaths around the world every year, says a report presented at a recent American Heart Association conference. Sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sports beverages contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, according to the Harvard-led research. The U.S. has the third-highest rate of death from sugar-sweetened drinks.

The Cinnamon Cure
A Ball State University researcher found that putting cinnamon on breakfast foods significantly lowers blood sugar levels and potentially reduces the chance of diabetes. Both healthy-weight and obese adults who ate a cooked breakfast cereal with six grams of cinnamon saw their blood sugar levels decline by 25% for the next two hours, compared to those not consuming cinnamon.

Following Doctor’s Orders
A National Institutes of Health study found that participants given daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—anti-HIV drugs used as a preventive measure—did not experience any more protection against HIV that those taking a placebo. The reason may be that participants did not take the study drugs as directed, a reminder of why it’s important to follow instructions on medication.

Be Careful With Your Meds
U.S. deaths from drug overdoses increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010, the most recent year for which numbers are available, according to the CDC. Over 38,300 people died of a drug overdose in 2010, up from 37,004 in 2009. Nearly 60% of the drug overdose deaths involved pharmaceutical rather than recreational drugs. Opioids, which are often prescribed to HIVers for pain, were involved in about three of every four pharmaceutical overdose deaths.

Should You Cool It With the Calcium?
A study recently released by the National Institutes of Health indicates that men taking calcium supplements had a greater risk of death from heart disease than those who didn’t take extra calcium. The study followed nearly 400,000 middle-aged Americans for 12 years. About 3% of the participants, or close to 12,000 people, died of cardiovascular disease, and men taking supplements were 20% more likely to die of heart disease than those who did not take them. However, the researchers said there may not be a cause-and-effect link between supplements and heart disease, as the supplements had no association with increased risk among women in the study. In addition, Howard Sesso, a preventive medicine researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, told the Reuters news service, “It could be that when you take supplements, maybe you’re taking doses that far exceed what you need. But it’s still unclear how that might raise cardiovascular risks.”

Tags: Daily Dose

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