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Reducing Sugary Sodas, Juices, Coffees and Teas

By Sandy Schroeder

Many of us have been downing sweet drinks for years, but researchers are now sounding a warning. They have found people who are 40 or older may need to cut back. Those sports drinks, fruit-flavored juices, presweetened coffees and teas can create changes in blood lipid levels and impact the heart.

The Framingham Heart Study said added sugar raises health issues along with weight gain. Specifically, they said, "The sugar inhibits an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides and lowers the level of healthy HDL, possibly by altering liver function."

The sugar story is an ongoing one for many Americans, who consume an average of 57 pounds of added sugar each year. Large sugary drinks often lead the way along with donuts, pastries and other sweet treats. In exchange, diabetes, angina, cancer, dementia, and depression may all show up.

Researchers encourage everyone to eliminate the sugar in drinks and avoid processed food. Also check nutrient labels for added sugar in pasta sauce, oatmeal, coleslaw, and frozen vegetables.

What to Drink for Better Health

Consumer Reports looked at the issue of sugary drinks and suggested changes. Most of us will have to start gradually, weaning ourselves away from our favorites to feel better and be more healthy.

Water - Stay hydrated as you carry a canister of water, and keep one on your desk. Skip the calories and sugar as you drink plain water or sparkling and carbonated waters. Add lime, lemon or watermelon for variety.

Choose plain tea and coffee - Black and green teas can help lower blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke. Explore other healthy teas such as peppermint, ginger, hibiscus, sage or lemon balm tea.

Coffee may reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes, kidney stones and  heart disease. Work your way away from the lattes and other sweetened coffees to get all of the health boosts without the sugar.

Milk - A glass of milk supplies protein, calcium, potassium and Vitamin A. For lunch or dinner, Greek yogurt and cheeses work too.

Pure fruit and vegetable juices - Try 100 percent carrot, cranberry, or low sodium tomato juices to get a boost of vitamins and minerals minus the sugar. Replace orange juice with oranges or tangerines to get the Vitamin C and fiber without extra sugar.

Moderate amounts of alcohol - Enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner, but limit drinks to one for women and two for men to keep the benefits for the heart and avoid the health risks.

Enjoy the benefits of your new routine, as you shed excess calories, boost energy, and add valuable nutrients to your daily diet.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Universal City, Tex.

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