Regular diet soda drinkers may be at higher risk for metabolic syndrome – excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 32% of diet soda drinkers eating a “Western diet” – heavy in fried foods, meats and sugars – had metabolic syndrome. Twenty percent of diet soda drinkers eating a “prudent diet” – rich in fruits, fish, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and milk – had metabolic syndrome. However, only 17% of prudent eaters who didn’t drink diet soda had the syndrome. It seems drinking diet soda isn’t prudent.
Drinking energy or sports drinks doesn’t seem prudent either. Although the citric acid they contain is meant to enhance favor and shelf life, it also strips tooth enamel, making teeth susceptible to decay. A study published in General Dentistry tested 22 energy and sports drinks. Chopped-up molars were put in petri dishes with the beverages for 15 minutes, followed by artificial saliva for 2 hours. This was repeated 4 times a day for 5 days. Both drinks removed enamel, but energy drinks removed much more. Considering 30%-50% of teens drink these drinks, they may be putting “their parents’ money where their mouth is”.
Brain tumors have been linked to dental x-rays. A study published in the journal Cancer showed people who’d had dental x-rays were likelier to develop meningioma, the most frequently occurring head tumor. The vast majority are non-cancerous; but depending on their location, meningiomas could cause blindness or other serious neurological damage. Patients who’d had bitewing x-rays annually were 1.4-1.9 times likelier to have had a meningioma. Panorex exams, which provide images of all the teeth on 1 film, have almost twice the radiation as 4 bitewings. It seems if dental x-rays aren’t necessary, neither is the risk.
Shift workers – and anyone not getting enough sleep – have a higher risk of diabetes. In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, the sleep of 21 healthy adults – ages 20-60 – was manipulated in a lab without windows. After 6 weeks of restricting sleep and disrupting the body’s clock, participants’ metabolism decreased and blood glucose spiked after eating – behaviors that caused increased diabetes risk. And that’s not all. The same body behaviors also increased obesity risk – the risk of gaining 10 pounds in a year. Nevertheless, when you get the proper amount of sleep, you “gain ground” on good health.