In case you live under a rock, sugary drinks are essentially the worst thing you can consume for your overall health. I type that as I drink a Mountain Dew. Why am I drinking a Mountain Dew? No clue. It tastes like orange juice mixed with battery acid. Yet, it’s so damn good…

A new review of study literature is showing us that consuming more than two sugary drinks per day raises your risk of heart disease by 35%. Strike one. The same drinks raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25%. Yeah, it painted the corner but strike two.

Stroke risk? Sugary drinks push it up by 15%. Strike three coca-cola. The sodas and other sugar-heavy drinks have also been linked to gout, gallstones and kidney stones. If you want the worst pain imaginable, develop a kidney stone. I had one and I think I’d rather be shot than have another. Mine was directly attributed to soda and took six weeks and three extraction attempts to overcome.

Yeah… I shudder just thinking about it.

“Since we rarely consume fructose in isolation, the major source of fructose in the diet comes from fructose-containing sugars, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, in sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Frank Hu, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Our findings underscore the urgent need for public health strategies that reduce the consumption of these drinks.”

Frank, Keurig Kold is going to be upset you dumped the review of study literature on its launch window. Coke in a pod? And it’s overpriced? I have a serious case of shiny product syndrome.

Hu went further, explaining the problem fructose presents. It acts differently from other sugars once inside our body. Instead of being escorted by insulin, like glucose, into your cells, fructose heads right for the liver. There it can be converted into triglycerides, also known as blood fats.

The higher your triglycerides, the more likely you are to develop insulin resistance. The resistance is a leading cause of both diabetes and heart disease.

If that’s not enough to push away the cans of soda, knocking back Dr. Pepper’s like its water is bad for your waistline. We typically grab a can of soda for a quick caffeine rush or down energy drinks in the hope it gets us through the day. Bad idea. The increase in calories is what is leading to the bulging waistline.

Drinking your calories from sugary drinks does nothing to fill you up. If you are counting calories, cans of soda will blow up any diet.

sugary drinks and health problems

“This is particularly concerning as the research shows that consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day has been linked to greater weight gain and obesity in numerous published studies,” said Hu. “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to weight gain because the liquid calories are not filling, and so people don’t reduce their food intake at subsequent meals.”

Soda’s Empty Calories

Here’s a quick way to show you the impact of sugary drinks on your daily calorie intake. Download MyFitnessPal to your smartphone. Now take today and do what you normally do. Eat, drink, etc. But log everything into the app. It’s free, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out cash.

With ease, you will find north of 500 empty calories. Take the federal average of 2,000 calories. A quarter of the calories you are consuming are empty and terrible for you. It’s an eye-opening experiment.

That’s the best way to see it. You can watch news reports, read articles like this or your favorite fitness blog. It doesn’t register until you actually see it. Most of us, me included, will maintain we don’t drink that much soda.

Maybe so, but try logging your food. When you see the number associated with soda or other sugar-heavy foods, you will be shocked. Want a jumpstart to your diet? It starts there. Cutting out the junk calories.

What about on a federal level? Should the US government get involved in regulating sugary drinks? I’m on the fence here. Part of me says yes from a public health standpoint. But, would the regulations actually accomplish anything? It smacks of a nanny state mentality, and I think people need to consciously make the decision themselves.

Everyone will admit to wanting to be healthier. That’s not the issue. The real problem lies in not realizing the calories and garbage we are consuming. Educating ourselves would lead to more change. You already see it with declining soda sales across the country.

Me? I’m going to grab my water bottle. Heart disease and diabetes both run in my family, pushing my risk factor even higher. Mountain Dew might taste good but screw the risk.

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