Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Sugary beverages = Bad health.

What to do?

New York City, now in a court brawl to ban the sale of large-size sodas, plasters subways with in-your-face billboards: “Your kids could be drinking themselves SICK. SUGARY DRINKS can bring on obesity, which can lead to DIABETES and risk factors for HEART DISEASE.” California has proposed taxing sugary drinks and slapping warning labels on them.

Here in the Seattle area, our watery region is taking a glass half-full approach that boils down to...Making Water Interesting. And it just might work!

Keep reading for refreshing recipes to jazz up nature’s healthiest thirst quencher (think strawberries, mint leaves, cucumber slices, watermelon slush) – plus alarming statistics about teen soda consumption in the Seattle area.


sugarcubes soda

Summer is heating up across the country and so is the public health campaign to reduce consumption of soda, sport drinks, energy drinks, sweetened fruit drinks and sweetened coffee and tea drinks.

That's becuase the results of large-scale studies are in, and researchers have had a chance to digest them. Sugary drinks are clearly linked to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer. In the U.S., 25,000 deaths each year are associated with sugary drinks. Here’s an earlier post outlining health dangers and more sobering stats.  

sodamachine200WARNING: Soda Can Cause Obesity, Diabetes and Tooth Decay

If California lawmakers approve a bill introduced last week, soda and other beverages sweetened with added sugars would carry a health warning similar to the danger labels for cigarettes and alcohol.

"STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay."

(Keep reading for recipes for refreshing alternatives to soda.)

toothbrushesIf you’re obese, drink carbonated beverages and/or you’re a guy, you have surprising incentives to brush your teeth, watch what you eat and drink, see your dentist for regular checks and alert your health care provider if your gums bleed. 

If these warm spring afternoons are making you crave a sweet, cool, thirst quencher, think twice—especially when it comes to sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks and fruit juices.Soda canHuffington Post

A new study of 27,000 people in eight European countries found that those who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened soda daily were 18 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes over a 16-year span compared with those who didn't. The research controlled for diabetes risk factors including age, exercise, body mass index (BMI) and total calorie intake. The findings validate earlier studies in the U.S. that found daily soda consumption upped the risk for Type 2 diabetes by 25 percent.

The research stopped short of proving that drinking soda causes Type 2 diabetes, instead showing an association. Researchers say other factors, such as the blood-sugar spike people experience when they drink soda, may play a role. (Read excellent summaries of the European soda study on Huffington Post and in TIME.)

Diabetes isn't the only dangerous disease linked to sugar-sweetened beverages. Several recent studies have also connected sugary drinks to heart disease, cancer, and, of course, obesity. In March, new research presented at an American Heart Association scientific session linked an alarming 180,000 deaths to sugar-sweetened drinks including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths.

In the U.S., 25,000 deaths each year are associated with sugar-sweetened drinks. Low- and middle-income countries were hit hardest with deaths linked to overconsumption of sugary beverages.

Globally, here's how the deaths were distributed.
• The most diabetes deaths, 38,000, related to sugary beverages occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean
• East and Central Eurasia recorded the most heart disease-related deaths at 11,000.
• Mexico, which had the highest per-capita consumption of sugary drinks, also had the highest death rate due to sugared beverages at 318 deaths per million adults.
• Japan, had the lowest per-capita consumption of sugary drinks, and also enjoyed the lowest death rate due to the drinks at 10 deaths per million adults.

The American Heart Association recommends adults consume no more than 450 calories per week from sugar-sweetened beverages. Overall, the American Heart Association recommends women have no more than six added teaspoons of sugar a day and men no more than nine teaspoons a day. The Heart Association offers tips to help you make better lifestyle choices and eat healthier.

Visit Wellbody Academy's Cafedium to ride the Sugarburners exercise bike and turn the hand-powered crank to experience for yourself just how long it takes to burn off the 136 calories in a 12-ounce soft drink.

And stay tuned to the Wellbody Blog for refreshing recipe alternatives to sugar-laden beverages.