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Food – Beware

Soft Drink Dangers

Soda is one of society’s favorite beverages. Each year, billions of gallons of soda are sold in the United States alone. Though it is popular with men, women, and children, many experts believe drinking soda may have serious health consequences.

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Some studies have suggested a link between drinking soda and obesity. Soda is high in sugar and calories. Combined with its practically nonexistent nutritional value, soda may cause drinkers to pack on the pounds without receiving even the smallest nutritional benefit. Surprisingly, drinking diet soda has been linked to weight gain as well. However, some experts assert that obesity may be caused not by drinking soda, but by the combination of drinking soda and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Drinking soda has been shown to contribute to tooth decay. Spokesmen for the soda industry have conceded this point. Interestingly, in recent years, levels of tooth decay in the United States and similarly developed countries have decreased. This is in spite of the fact that more people are drinking soda than ever before. At the same time, levels of obesity have risen.

Obviously, the sugar consumption involved in drinking soda is cited for causing tooth decay. However, the acid in soda has been shown to erode tooth enamel, leading to dental cavities as well. In fact, the acid in soda can begin damaging enamel just 20 minutes after drinking soda.

Caffeine dependence may also form as a result of drinking soda that contains caffeine. Some health care advocates assert that caffeine may interfere with brain development in children. So far, however, this assertion has not been proven. Research suggests that individuals can develop caffeine dependence as a result of drinking soda and may experience withdrawal when caffeine consumption decreases.

Another unfortunate health effect of drinking soda is the weakening of bones.  Some animal studies have shown that phosphorus in soda leaches calcium from bones. Similar studies on humans have suggested that drinking soda may lead to a tendency toward broken bones. 

Many individuals choose to drink diet soda in order to avoid the sugar and calories in regular soda. Drinking diet soda, however, is not a perfect solution. Diet soda drinkers are still vulnerable to the acidic effects of soda. Furthermore, some artificial sweeteners, commonly used in diet soda, may contribute to serious health issues as well.

Amazing Facts About Soft Drinks/Soda

– The United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption. The per-capita consumption of soft drinks is in excess of 150 quarts per year, or about three quarts per week. 

– Soft drink consumption in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.

– Of the fifty-seven children who had low blood calcium levels, thirty-eight (66.7 percent) drank more than four bottles (12 to 16 ounces per bottle) of soft drinks per week, but only forty-eight (28 percent) of the 171 children with normal serum calcium levels consumed as much soft drink … These results more than support the contention that soft drink consumption leads to lower calcium levels in children. This situation that ultimately leads to poor bone mineralization, which explains the greater risk of broken bones in children who consume soft drinks.

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–  Soft drink consumption may be a major factor for osteoporosis as they are high in phosphates but contain virtually no calcium. This leads to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in the blood. The United States ranks first among countries for soft drink consumption with a per capita consumption of approximately 15 ounces a day.-o

– The average pH of soft drinks, e.g. Coke, Pepsi is pH 3.4. This acidity is strong enough to dissolve teeth and bones! Our human body stops building bones at around the age of 30. After that it’ll be dissolving about 8-18% of the bones each year through the urine, depending on the acidity of the food intake (acidity does not depend on the taste of the food, but on the ratio of potassium / calcium / magnesium / etc. to phosphorus).

– All the dissolved calcium compounds accumulate in the arteries, veins, skin tissue, and organs. This affects the functioning of the kidney (kidney stones). Soft drinks do not have any nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals). They have higher sugar content, higher acidity, and more additives such as preservatives and colourings.

Your Brain of Coca Cola: That cool refreshing drink passes over your palate. Here is what happens:
In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.

20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)

40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

>60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

>60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

>60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.
This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it’ll make you feel better.

What to do with all that Coke/Pepsi
1) To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl.  Sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.
No scrubbing, no sweat – guaranteed. 
 
2) To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of aluminum foils dipped in Coca-Cola. Much economical than the stuff from Smart Shop.
 
3) To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
 
4) To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
 
5) To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle.

6) The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

The world’s first soft drink disguised as a multi-purpose cleaner? Or should it be a multipurpose cleaner disguised as a soft drink?

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Cholesterol Basics

Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol? Is lowering your cholesterol a goal? The first step is to find out: what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in certain foods, such as food from animals, like dairy products (whole milk), eggs and meat. The body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly. Its cell walls, or membranes, need cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat. But, the body needs only a small amount of cholesterol to meet its needs. When too much is present health problems such as coronary heart disease may develop.

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What Is Coronary Heart Disease?
When too much cholesterol is present, plaque (a thick, hard deposit) may form in the body’s arteries narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart. Over time, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease. When not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart chest pain — called angina — can result. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is usually due to a sudden closure from a blood clot forming on top of a previous narrowing.

Types of Cholesterol
Cholesterol travels through the blood attached to a protein — this cholesterol-protein package is called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are classified as high density, low density, or very low density, depending on how much protein there is in relation to fat.

Low density lipoproteins (LDL)LDL, also called “bad” cholesterol, can cause buildup of plaque on the walls of arteries. The more LDL there is in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease.
    – Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL): VLDL is similar to LDL cholesterol in that it contains mostly fat and not much protein.
   –  Triglycerides:  Triglycerides are another type of fat that is carried in the blood by very low density lipoproteins. Excess calories, alcohol or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

High density lipoproteins (HDL)HDL, also called “good” cholesterol, helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the better. If your levels of HDL are low, your risk of heart disease increases. 

How Much Cholesterol Is Too Much?
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every 5 years. When being tested, your doctor may recommend a non-fasting cholesterol test or a fasting cholesterol test. A non-fasting cholesterol test will show your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A fasting cholesterol test, called a lipid profile or a lipoprotein analysis, will measure your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol. It will also measure triglycerides. Your doctor may start with a non-fasting cholesterol test and then recommend a lipid profile, based on your results.

General Cholesterol Levels : 
Total Cholesterol  Category 
Less than 200 Desirable
200 – 239 Borderline High
240 and above High

*Your LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels are important as well.

Understanding the Test: A Cholesterol Blood Test is used for measuring the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the serum – a part of the blood. This can be done with a simple home cholesterol test or at a medical center. The cholesterol test results are used, not so much as to diagnose or to monitor a disease, but to evaluate the individual risk for heart disease. 

What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels?
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:

1. Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
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2. Weight. In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as increase HDL cholesterol.

3. Exercise. Regular exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days.

4. Age and Gender. As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.

5. Diabetes.  Poorly controlled diabetes increases cholesterol levels.  With impovements in control, cholesterol levels can fall.

6. Heredity. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.

7. Other causes. Certain medications and medical conditions can cause high cholesterol.

Lowering Cholesterol and Reducing Risk of Heart Disease?
A few simple changes can help lower your cholesterol:

Eat low cholesterol foods. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, limit your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. People can significantly lower their dietary cholesterol intake by keeping their dietary intake of saturated fats low and by avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat and that contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.

Quit smoking.  Smoking lowers HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. This trend can be reversed if you quit smoking.

Exercise. Exercise increases HDL cholesterol in some people. Even moderate-intensity activities, if done daily, can help control weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure — all risk factors for heart disease.

Take medication as prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes making changes to your diet and increasing exercise is not enough to bring your cholesterol down. You may also need to take a cholesterol lowering drug.

How Is High Cholesterol Treated?
The main goal in lowering cholesterol is to lower your LDL and raise your HDL. There are two key ways to lower cholesterol: eat a heart-healthy diet and take cholesterol-lowering medications.Doctors determine your “goals” for lowering LDL based on the number of risk factors you have for heart disease.

– If you have 0-1 risk factor for heart disease, you are at low-to-moderate risk. Lifestyle changes are recommended to keep the cholesterol in check.

– If you have 2 or more risk factors, you are at moderate risk or next-highest risk, depending on what heart disease risk factors you have. Sometimes your doctor will try lifestyle changes, but most of
   these people require cholesterol-lowering drugs.

– If you have known heart disease, diabetes or multiple risk factors, you are at high, or very high, risk. These people require a combination of cholesterol-lowering drugs and lifestyle changes to control their cholesterol levels

What Drugs Are Used to Treat High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol-lowering drugs include:  Statins, Niacin, Bile-acid resins, Fibric acid derivatives. Cholesterol-lowering medicine is most effective when combined with a low-cholesterol diet.

What Simple Foods May Reduce Cholesterol?
The exercise portion is fairly easy; actively walking will help lower cholesterol levels naturally. However, many people will ask,  What foods can I eat which will bring down my cholesterol levels? We often recognize a specific disease as part of the family history i.e. Uncle Joe died of a heart attack, or Aunt Edie died of stroke. Diet seems to be generally consistent among the family generations.  So that family recipes passed down or general manner of cooking may be a contributing factor

High Soluble Fiber. This may very well be the greatest of all the miracle foods. Fiber will lower the LDL (low density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol) while promoting the HDL (high density lipoprotein or ‘good’ cholesterol). The use of oat bran, oatmeal and oat flour will greatly decrease the risk of heart disease. The well balanced daily dosage is around five to ten grams of fiber; this will lower your cholesterol by roughly 5 percent. Other soluble fiber foods include apples, barley and kidney beans.

Fish.  Another great food for lowering your cholesterol is fish. Fish provides you with protein and the omega 3 fatty acids. This fatty acid has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Just eating about 2 or 3 servings every week will help reduce your cholesterol. The best fish for accomplishing lower cholesterol levels would be herring, mackerel and trout.

Nuts. This is another wonder food for lowering your cholesterol level. Most people enjoy nuts. However, most are unaware of the role that they play in lowering the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and raising the helpful HDL cholesterol. It is recommended that you consume at least 1.5 ounces every day. You do not want to eat too much because nuts are high in calories. You can eat more nuts if they are consumed as a replacement for meat in your diet.

Plant Sterols. These products will bring down LDL cholesterol levels by at least 10 to 15% if you eat it 2 times a day. The most common foods to find them are in orange juice and salad dressing. If you are unsure which products contain them, look at the nutrition label on the packaging. This will usually tell you whether or not the product contains this heart friendly product.

Soy. This is perhaps the most controversial. This is due to the paucity of research backing up the claims of soy producers. The healthiest way to consume soy products is through tofu and rice.