soft drinks

  1. Soda ups kidney risk

    Sugary drinks can lead to kidney stones

    I've given you 1,000 reasons to skip soda over the years. Today, I've got reason #1,001: kidney stones.

    Now, already 1 in 10 can expect to get these things. And plenty of you have already had them (you probably started squirming the moment you saw the "kidney stones" in the headline if that's you).

    If you're not among the victims -- yet -- then quit the soda ASAP, because a new study of close to 200,000 people finds that just one sugary drink per day will increase your risk of getting stoned by nearly a quarter.

    I don't care how much you love cola or fruit punch, that's a risk you shouldn't be taking -- because while many things in life don't live up to the hype, kidney stones aren't one of them.

    (But whatever you do DON'T fall into the trap of switching to diet soda. That poison in a can might even be worse than the full sugar stuff. In fact, it's been linked to diabetes. Surprised? Click here to learn more.)

    A kidney stone, if you're unfamiliar, is a small and jagged stone, sharp like a piece of glass, that bounces around in your kidney. Each time it hits the kidney wall, you feel like you've been stabbed from the inside.

    Think that's bad? HA! That's just the beginning -- it still has to get out. How do you think that happens? Very painfully, with a trip through the urethra and out the front door.

    Yes, now you're squirming, too.

    On the other hand, once a kidney stone passes, you're done (at least 'til the next one comes along). Some of the other side effects of soda are a lot tougher to shake: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more.

    Now, the media accounts of the new study include the inevitable mainstream know-it-alls claiming the best way to avoid stones is to drink water until you feel like you've got a fishbowl strapped to your belly.

    This is nonsense.

    You can avoid stones without drinking a drop of water if you don't want to. Coffee and tea, for example, can actually slash the risk of stones. And unlike soda (or water, for that matter), coffee and tea are both delicious and packed with antioxidants.

  2. Water can't cut diabetes risk

    Don't believe the headlines: Water won't keep diabetes away

    There are lots of things you can do right now to slash your risk of diabetes -- but drinking more water isn't one of them.

    It's so obvious -- or should be so obvious -- that I feel ridiculous even saying it, but Harvard researchers claim that women who drink a cup of this miracle elixir a day can cut their diabetes risk by 7 or 8 percent.

    That's quite the trick when you consider that water doesn't contain much of anything. But of course, there's a catch to this.

    There's always a catch, right?

    The reduced risk only kicks in when that cup of water replaces a cup of garbage, like soda.

    In other words, if you don't drink any sugary drinks, adding a cup of water to your day isn't going to do a thing for your diabetes risk. And if you do drink soda, replacing it with water can cut your risk -- but it's not because of the water.

    It's because you're drinking one less cup of crud a day.

    So, it's really just a fancy way of delivering the same common-sense advice I've been giving all along: If you want to cut your disease risk, cut the junk out of your diet.

    Don't just replace one cup of soda or juice with water. Replace all your sugar-sweetened beverages with better choices -- and it doesn't have to be water.

    Heck, I never drink water myself.

    Coffee and tea are much better choices, and the study found they can slash your risk even further than plain old water -- up to 17 percent, but only if you don't add sugar to them.

    As far as I'm concerned, THAT should've been the headline from the new study -- not this nonsense over water.

  3. The cheapest way to avoid the dentist

    The Academy of General Dentistry (AGC) recently announced that the use of "a properly positioned" straw can help to significantly minimize the risk of cavities and other oral health problems.
  4. Paying Doctors to Market Drugs to Other Doctors

    The people who run drug companies are crafty devils; I'll give them that. They can find more ways to sell drugs than the neighborhood narcotic pusher! Case in point: Paying doctors to market drugs to OTHER doctors.

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