Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don't Hate Me - I'm Just the Messenger

Of commonly consumed legal substances, next to cigarettes, soda maybe be the worst enemy to our health as a nation and to many individuals. I could write pages about the evils of soda but I 'll just post enough information to cause you to put down your Big Gulp and think.

1. Whether it's regular or diet, soda makes people fat! All it takes is one can (remember when twelve ounces was a serving of soda?) a day to considerably up your odds of being overweight. Here's why:
Regular Soda
One 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda contains 150 calories and 40 to 50 grams of sugar. Added to a typical US diet, one can of soda per day can lead to a 15-pound weight gain in a year.
Diet Soda A study in 2005 by the University of Texas Science Center found that one diet soda a day increased your chances of being overweight by 41%.
Diet or Regular If you drink at least one soft drink every day, you could have more than a 50% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome according to a study in the American Heart Association's journal. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions which includes excess fat around the waist. Researchers found the risk was high whether you were drinking regular or diet soda.

2. With metabolic syndrome comes other health risks like high blood pressure, problems with insulin and abnormal cholesterol levels. If you have these factors your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke increases. Again the risk was high whether you were drinking regular or diet soda.

3. Osteoporosis
Soft drink consumption, whether diet or regular, is a major factor that contributes to osteoporosis. Soft drinks make your bones weak and brittle three ways:
-Carbonation- carbonation is an irritant to the stomach. Our bodies pull calcium out of the bloodstream to cure this irritation. The blood must replenish its calcium supply, so it pulls calcium from the bones.
-Phosphoric acid- Sodas are high in phosphoric acid, which has been long linked to osteoporosis.
-Soda often replaces a calcium-containing alternative, such as milk or water.

4. Drinking soda has a detrimental effect on our teeth. While the high sugar content of soda causes tooth decay, the acid in all soft drinks easily dissolves tooth enamel.

5. Many soft drinks contain caramel coloring to allow them to have their dark appearance. The chemical polyethylene glycol is used to achieve this dark color. Glycol is used in antifreeze. Scientists are concerned that this caramel coloring may be a carcinogen.

6. Yellow #5 is a common dye used to color soft drinks. Reactions to the consumption of this dye can include indigestion, anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. It has also been linked to childhood obsessive compulsive disorder and hyperactivity. Its use has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Germany.

7. Caffeine addiction.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

A Fable

After a discussion in Sunday School my husband leaned over to me and said, "I don't believe God put me on earth to be mediocre". That seems obvious enough, even mortal parents want more for their children than mediocrity. Why then do we settle for so little so often?

Consider this fable: "There once was a caterpillar who did not know what she wanted to do with her life. She wandered aimlessly until she saw another caterpillar hanging upside down on a branch caught in some hairy substance. She said, "You seem to be in some trouble. Can I help you?" "No," said the hanging caterpillar, "I have to do this to become a butterfly."

"Butterfly? What is a butterfly?"

"It's what you are meant to be. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It drinks only nectar from flowers and carries seeds of love from one flower to another. Without butterflies the world would soon have few flowers"

The yellow caterpillar exclaimed, "It can't be true! How can I believe there's a butterfly inside me when all I see is a fuzzy worm? How does one become a butterfly?"

The hanging butterfly said, "You must want to fly so much you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

Life offers so much! There is so much to do, see, feel, touch and especially be. Helen Keller said, "Either life is a daring, joyful adventure or life is nothing." Of course that kind of life requires giving up the comfortable mediocrity of being a caterpillar.