The American Heart Association says heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America. Heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.
You may be surprised to learn that high fructose corn syrup (or HFCS) has recently been linked to the development of heart disease. In a study by the University of California at Davis, researchers found that beverages sweetened with low, medium and high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup significantly increase risk factors for heart disease, even when consumed for just two weeks by young healthy men and women.
Considering that consumption of beverages containing HFCS rose 135 percent since 1977 when manufacturers discovered it was cheaper to make and way sweeter (the processed stuff is nearly 20 times sweeter than table sugar), it seems logical the switch has drastically altered the American diet.
Lead researcher of the study Kimber Stanhope says humans are very sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar. Since HFCS is the number one source of calories in the US, it isn’t hard to see that heart disease will continue it’s path of destruction unless we take drastic measures.
Try kicking your soda can to the curb by cultivating these 5 easy habits:
Drink water. Reach for a thirst-quenching glass of H2O when the urge for soda strikes. Although both will make you feel full, water won’t leave you dehydrated and let down after the caffeine and sugar buzz wears off. If it’s carbonation you crave, try seltzer or sparkling water when you’re thirsty.
Seek support. Social situations, whether at the movies or eating out, can be your downfall when trying to quit. So shore up your willpower by enlisting friends, significant others, and relatives to keep you on track when out and about.
Choose a healthier “caffeinated” beverage. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and an excellent alternative drink. Studies show that green tea may protect skin from sun damage, stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease the risk for certain types of cancer.
Stay occupied. Repetition causes habits to form usually due to boredom. Grabbing a snack like low sugar Greek yogurt while calling a friend to chat will distract from your soda obsession, fill your belly and cure the boredom you feel.
Isolate yourself from the source of your addiction. Clean out the fridge and take soda off your grocery list. It sounds like a simple solution, but keeping your environment clean of the canned sweet stuff will help guard against the temptation of popping a cold one.
Don’t let the ramifications of heart disease sneak up on you. Quitting cans of sugary beverages will keep you and your loved ones around for the long haul.