17 February 2007

No More Soda Or Pop

What You Drink Is as Important as What You Eat

By Al Sears, MD

A few days ago, a patient walked into my office with one of those super-sized soft drinks from a fast-food place near my office. It wouldn't have surprised me - except that it was 8:30 in the morning.

I wondered how common this breakfast-soda habit has become, so I did some research. It turns out that more than 15 percent of people now order a soda when they go to a restaurant in the morning. That's a jump from less than 8 percent in 1990. And there's an even bigger jump in the number of people who open a can of soda at home every morning: 2.5 percent, up from less than 0.5 percent 20 years ago. That's a 500 percent increase!

What you drink is just as important for weight loss and overall health as what you eat. And both diet and regular sodas are dangerous... for different reasons.

Regular sodas spike your blood sugar almost immediately, which triggers your body to produce waves of insulin. Insulin stimulates fat production and fat storage. Diet sodas usually contain aspartame, a neurotoxin that prevents the hormone leptin from communicating with your brain. This is critical, as leptin is the messenger that tells your brain, "I'm full." As a result, you are far more likely to overeat.

The best thing to drink with breakfast is water. It's the way I start my day. But if you need a pick-me-up, green tea is better than soda. It gives you a gentle energy boost and is full of disease-fighting antioxidants. (Even regular tea or coffee is better than soda.)

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor's Heart Cure, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health.]

I drink a lot of pop. A lot. It's not good for me, I know. It is just so tasty.

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