I recently came across an interesting — and, frankly, puzzling — headline that I wanted to share with you. It declared that sugary drinks, but not sugary foods, are potentially lethal.
I’m guessing you’re probably as confused as I was by this conclusion. And that’s because, as usual with mainstream headlines, it’s not exactly true.
Let’s break this down, shall we?
The research in question featured nearly 18,000 subjects over the age of 45. All were participants of a national, longitudinal study called Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS).
Results showed that those who consumed the highest number of sugary drinks — either sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices — faced as much as double the risk of heart disease death compared to subjects who consumed the fewest.
The catch here is that researchers didn’t find any significant association between high consumption of sugary foods and mortality. At least, not in this study. And on the surface, that might raise an eyebrow or two…
But the explanation for this is actually pretty simple if you keep one important word in mind — “mortality.” This study looked at death rates, specifically. Not overall disease rates. In fact, subjects with diabetes or heart disease were eliminated from the cohort right off the bat.
So to assume that sugary foods are safe because this one study showed that they’re “not deadly” would be a grave mistake.
There are other considerations, too, of course. Like the fact that your body metabolizes sugar differently when it encounters it in beverages versus food. Beverages deliver that sugar rush in a more concentrated form — resulting in a more immediate blood sugar spike… and a bigger calorie load.
At least with food, you’ll also have accompanying fat, fiber, and protein to slow down its impact on your body. Whereas juice, soda, and other sugar sweetened beverages are the dietary equivalent of an injection right into the bloodstream. So even taking these latest findings at face value, the increase in mortality with sugary drinks versus sugary foods isn’t really that hard to explain.
But make no mistake: Sugary foods will undoubtedly kill you, too.
In fact, previous research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed that people with diets comprised of roughly 20 percent added sugars were 38 percent more likely to die of heart disease than people with lower sugar diets.
Still, it’s worth noting that sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the Standard American Diet — accounting for close to 40 percent of all added sugars. So yes, they are indeed responsible for the lion’s share of sugar-related deaths.
I’ll say it again: Soda kills. (And that includes “diet” sodas—they aren’t any better.) Juice kills. Sugar kills.
I’ve written about this connection so often, I’m surprised I’m not blue in the face. At this point, every mainstream medical journal has come around to acknowledging it, too. But we’re still a long way away from treating this health threat the way we do other common, dangerous, and addictive substances — like cigarettes.
In fact, when was the last time your doctor asked you how much sugar you consume every day? I’ll bet it’s never happened to you. And there’s simply no excuse for it. I ask my patients this question every single time they come into my office.
But I suppose it wouldn’t matter if mainstream doctors started asking this question anyway, considering they’re woefully ill-equipped to offer any advice for kicking the deadly sugar habit.
Which is why I’ve developed a comprehensive, step-by-step plan to reduce your dependence on sugar — and reverse type-II diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. It’s called the Metabolic Repair Protocol and it’s an online plan to safely and effectively prevent, treat, and even reverse diabetes — without the use of prescription meds. Click here to learn more or to enroll today.