Cola Doubles Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Scientists in Boston found that drinking one or more regular or diet colas every day doubles your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions—high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, and excess fat around the waist—that increases your chance of heart disease and diabetes. Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, preventing diabetes, and not smoking can add 6 to 9-½ healthy years to your life.

One culprit could be the additive that gives cola its caramel color. That additive increased the risk of metabolic syndrome in animal studies. Scientists also speculate that soda drinkers regularly expose their taste buds to natural or artificial sweeteners, conditioning themselves to prefer and crave sweeter foods, which may lead to weight gain, says Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and the study’s lead researcher.

Better choices:  switch to tea if you need a caffeine hit; if it’s fizz you’re after, try sparkling water with a splash of juice.

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