Hidden Costs of Soda

The obesity epidemic has increased U.S. health care costs by more than $190 billion a year, roughly 21% of all our national health care expenditures, according to a recent Reuters report. If that statistic doesn’t send shockwaves through your system, here’s an even more startling fact: obese individuals rack up an additional $1,152 a year in average insurance expenses, compared to $512 for the non-obese.

In recent years, the cost of the obesity epidemic has become a problem we can no longer ignore, as it has manifested itself in our national health care costs and rising insurance premiums. With the problem only becoming more of an issue, individuals have begun wondering how we can stop forking over money to rising health care expenditures and insurance premiums.

One of the most efficient ways to combat the obesity epidemic is to stop pointing the finger, evaluate your own dietary and lifestyle decisions, and make changes where they’re appropriate. In fact simple adjustments like cutting out soda is one great way to help you save on health care and insurance costs.

Americans drink the most soda in the world, according to the Kick the Can Foundation. On average, Americans drink a staggering 45 gallons of soda each year. While drinking a 12-ounce can of soda on a daily basis may seem harmless enough, one of soda’s main ingredients – high-fructose corn syrup – has been heavily linked to obesity. The Livestrong Foundation reports that high-fructose corn syrup is known for increasing belly fat, prompting cholesterol development in the liver, and encouraging visceral fat, all of which make individuals more susceptible to diabetes and obesity.

For non-diet drinkers that means guzzling 16 teaspoons of sugar every day. And if you’re consuming diet or low-calorie soda, you’re probably worse off. Countless studies link aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to increased risks for certain cancers, kidney and liver damage, and even Alzheimer’s.

It’s easy to want to ignore the dangers of soda when you’re simply trying to fuel up on sugary drinks and snacks to make it through the work week, but your employer may soon make you pay up if you don’t make your health a priority.

The recently-passed U.S. health care reform law of 2010 grants employers the right to charge their employees up to 50% more for health insurance costsÿif they don’t perform well on qualified health and wellness tests. Before you know it, you could be forking over thousands more for health insurance simply because you’re reaching for one-to-many cans of soda.

Afflictions like obesity, cancers, and related health concerns can be deterred with the right lifestyle habits, which include a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and low consumption of high-calorie foods and sugary drinks. In doing this, Americans can not only live longer, more-fulfilled lives, but they can also avoid paying high medical bills and ridiculous insurance premiums.

Wonder what the hidden costs of drinking sugar-laden syrup are? Check out our latest video evaluating the toll soda takes on our nation’s health, economy, and environment.

Regular and excessive soda drinking is linked with increased risk of obesity, tooth decay, stroke, some cancers, and kidney damage. Soda contributes the most refined sugar to American’s diets than anything else, offering up a whopping 17 teaspoons of sugar per 20 ounce beverage. Today, 1 in 10 people are obese. Not coincidentally, the two developed countries with the fastest rising obesity rate are America and Mexico at 4% to 5%. The same two countries that topped the list for most soda consumed at 170 and 146 liters per person per year respectively.

  • Health: F

Americans drink, on average, 20 ounces of soda a day, about $500 per year on soda. Plus, there are extra costs incurred at the dentist because of tooth decay, health bills from weight gain and more. The soda industry pulls in nearly $66 billion annually. Coca Cola, the world’s largest soda manufacturer, employs 146,200 people in over 200 countries.

  • Economy: B-

Throwing away a soda can wastes as much energy as filling that can with gasoline and then pouring it on the ground, but recycling that same can will save enough electricity to power a 100 watt light bulb for three full hours. If littered, a soda can won’t degrade for 500 years. Aluminum is a cradle to cradle product, meaning if it’s recycled, it can be reused again and again. In fact, 75% of the aluminum manufactured since the 1800s is still in use today, in a different recycled form. On the downside, 40 billion cans still end up in landfills each year, about half of soda cans used.

  • Environment: C+

Final grade: C-

 

Orginal Article: http://www.insurancequotes.org/hidden-cost-soda

More Nutritional Health...

The obesity epidemic has increased U.S. health care costs by more than $190 billion a year, roughly 21% of all our national health care expenditures, according to a recent Reuters report. If that statistic doesn’t send shockwaves through your system, here’s an even more startling fact: obese individuals rack up an additional $1,152 a year in average insurance expenses, compared to $512 for the non-obese.

In recent years, the cost of the obesity epidemic has become a problem we can no longer ignore, as it has manifested itself in our national health care costs and rising insurance premiums. With the problem only becoming more of an issue, individuals have begun wondering how we can stop forking over money to rising health care expenditures and insurance premiums.

One of the most efficient ways to combat the obesity epidemic is to stop pointing the finger, evaluate your own dietary and lifestyle decisions, and make changes where they’re appropriate. In fact simple adjustments like cutting out soda is one great way to help you save on health care and insurance costs.

Americans drink the most soda in the world, according to the Kick the Can Foundation. On average, Americans drink a staggering 45 gallons of soda each year. While drinking a 12-ounce can of soda on a daily basis may seem harmless enough, one of soda’s main ingredients – high-fructose corn syrup – has been heavily linked to obesity. The Livestrong Foundation reports that high-fructose corn syrup is known for increasing belly fat, prompting cholesterol development in the liver, and encouraging visceral fat, all of which make individuals more susceptible to diabetes and obesity.

For non-diet drinkers that means guzzling 16 teaspoons of sugar every day. And if you’re consuming diet or low-calorie soda, you’re probably worse off. Countless studies link aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to increased risks for certain cancers, kidney and liver damage, and even Alzheimer’s.

It’s easy to want to ignore the dangers of soda when you’re simply trying to fuel up on sugary drinks and snacks to make it through the work week, but your employer may soon make you pay up if you don’t make your health a priority.

The recently-passed U.S. health care reform law of 2010 grants employers the right to charge their employees up to 50% more for health insurance costsÿif they don’t perform well on qualified health and wellness tests. Before you know it, you could be forking over thousands more for health insurance simply because you’re reaching for one-to-many cans of soda.

Afflictions like obesity, cancers, and related health concerns can be deterred with the right lifestyle habits, which include a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and low consumption of high-calorie foods and sugary drinks. In doing this, Americans can not only live longer, more-fulfilled lives, but they can also avoid paying high medical bills and ridiculous insurance premiums.

Wonder what the hidden costs of drinking sugar-laden syrup are? Check out our latest video evaluating the toll soda takes on our nation’s health, economy, and environment.

Regular and excessive soda drinking is linked with increased risk of obesity, tooth decay, stroke, some cancers, and kidney damage. Soda contributes the most refined sugar to American’s diets than anything else, offering up a whopping 17 teaspoons of sugar per 20 ounce beverage. Today, 1 in 10 people are obese. Not coincidentally, the two developed countries with the fastest rising obesity rate are America and Mexico at 4% to 5%. The same two countries that topped the list for most soda consumed at 170 and 146 liters per person per year respectively.

  • Health: F

Americans drink, on average, 20 ounces of soda a day, about $500 per year on soda. Plus, there are extra costs incurred at the dentist because of tooth decay, health bills from weight gain and more. The soda industry pulls in nearly $66 billion annually. Coca Cola, the world’s largest soda manufacturer, employs 146,200 people in over 200 countries.

  • Economy: B-

Throwing away a soda can wastes as much energy as filling that can with gasoline and then pouring it on the ground, but recycling that same can will save enough electricity to power a 100 watt light bulb for three full hours. If littered, a soda can won’t degrade for 500 years. Aluminum is a cradle to cradle product, meaning if it’s recycled, it can be reused again and again. In fact, 75% of the aluminum manufactured since the 1800s is still in use today, in a different recycled form. On the downside, 40 billion cans still end up in landfills each year, about half of soda cans used.

  • Environment: C+

Final grade: C-

 

Orginal Article: http://www.insurancequotes.org/hidden-cost-soda

Rob St. Mary was already traveling light when he moved to Colorado in March. He sold many of his belongings, including his car, packed his cats and a U-Haul, and set out from Detroit to a job at Aspen Public Radio.

Just a few months into his new life, he is even lighter, having shed nearly 25 pounds of Michigan fat.

He isn’t dieting or working out any more than he did in Michigan. But he’s found there’s a reason that Michigan is one of the nation’s fattest states and Colorado is the nation’s slimmest.

“It’s the lifestyle,” he said. “(Michigan) is so tied to the car culture, plus it’s gray all winter long. Here, it snows, but then the sun comes out again, and you go outside.”

St. Mary changed more than his address when he moved. He takes advantage of the admittedly unique amenities of Aspen, a wealthy town of 6,000 year-round residents that swells to 20,000 in winter and summer. He rides a bus to work and around town, or does most of his errands on foot. He has a membership in a bike-share network. Just that level of simple exercise integrated into the fabric of everyday life was enough to chip away the pounds.

But even in less-affluent parts of Colorado, a go-out-and-play mindset prevails. Cherie Talbert, a Michigan State graduate who moved to Denver from Grand Rapids eight years ago, said the city’s infrastructure, as well as its 300 days of sunshine a year, encourages outdoor activity.

“The housing is more expensive and you don’t have as much room indoors, but we have huge parks, rec centers, bike trails,” she said. “My husband rides everywhere.”

Why Michigan is obese – why any person or population is obese – isn’t a mystery. We consume far more calories than we burn with activity. But why Michigan is so fat, top-10 in the nation fat, is harder to unpack. Many factors contribute to obesity, including thorny ones like culture and poverty. And even in skinny Colorado, residents are getting fatter. The poor in Colorado, as well as Hispanic adults, have obesity levels at or near the national level, said Susan Motika, of the Prevention Services Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

And Coloradans who live away from its recreation-mad cities, particularly in the rural eastern parts of the state, have the same problem. Seven of the state’s counties track with the nation’s obesity average.

What’s more worrisome, Motika says, is the trend over time. Nearly one-third of Americans are not just overweight, but obese, defined as a body mass index of 30 or above.  In Colorado, the percentage more than doubled over 16 years, from 10.3 to 21.4 percent.

Motika and others can point to many factors leading to this growing national spare tire, including but not limited to sprawl (which puts people in cars for longer periods), the explosion in fast-food restaurants, a decline in home cooking and portion creep. And so the war on obesity takes place on many fronts.

A mitten strategy

In Michigan, Dawn Rodman runs the state’s “Health and Wellness 4×4 Plan,” a public awareness campaign intended to slim down the state through four active strategies – healthy diet, exercise, annual physicals and avoiding tobacco – while educating residents on four measures of health – body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood glucose. And, Rodman says, there is good news to report:

According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan’s obesity rate fell slightly this year, from 31.3 percent of residents being reported obese last year to 31.1 percent obese this year. That was enough to change the state’s national ranking, from fifth fattest to 10th.

Rodman is aware this is hardly cause for celebration, especially when one considers that another 34.6 percent of Michigan residents are considered overweight, with BMIs between 25 and 29.9. That means two-thirds of state residents weigh more than they should. And again, there are many reasons.

“It’s the environments in which we live,” Rodman said. “Are there opportunities to get outside and feel safe to exercise? It’s ‘food deserts’ – if you don’t have a car, you need a grocery within walking or bus distance. It’s where people work. The emphasis (at work) is to do more with less.” If, say, you’re working so hard that even a 30-minute lunch hour stroll is frowned upon, that’s going to be reflected in the number on the scale, too.

State and local governments, health-care institutions and corporations intercede where they can. The federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Acts of 2010 is pushing food served in schools in a healthier direction.

Rodman said that SNAP-Ed, the educational arm of the federal food-stamp program, tries to spread more health-conscious cooking skills to recipients. The Double Up Food Bucks program allows Bridge card holders to get tokens for twice the amount debited, if spent on fruits and vegetables at Michigan farm markets.

But both women emphasize that the effort to slim down the nation takes place at a very personal level. For all the attention paid to policy changes, from banning extra-large sugary drinks to slimming school lunches, the battle is fought in private in homes, at dinner tables, in grocery stores. Motika said that while policy analysts consider ways to provide more access to sidewalks and bike paths, ultimately the decision to live a more healthy life “has to be voluntary.”

And if Michigan can’t import Colorado’s weather or environment, it can adopt some of its ideas, said St. Mary, the Michigan expat.

“Part of the culture (here) is to take a gym break (at work),” he said. “People say, ‘I’m going to the gym, and I’ll be back in 90 minutes.’ No one would ever do that at any job I worked in Michigan. Maybe it’s part of our shift-worker mentality.”

 

Original Article: http://bridgemi.com/2013/12/time-for-michigan-to-drop-the-drumstick/

In today’s day and age it is extremely important that you focus on ways to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle and diet. The first step in this process is simple: don’t get caught up in diet fads. As fads come and go, it is important to guarantee that you’re adding easy components to your diet that will keep you healthy and fit.

Always make sure to keep your diet packed with a variety of foods: fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (such as avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and flaxseed). All of these components together can help you stay balanced.

Try to buy food that is grown locally within your community, and to always stay within the means of your lifestyle and budget. The purpose of maintaining a healthy diet is to work within the limits of your current lifestyle. This is the best possible way to ensure the endurance and overall success for the rest of your life.

For more information please check out this link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/basics/healthy-diets/hlv-20049477

  1. Be realistic. Do not try to lose pounds during the holidays. Instead try to maintain your current weight.
  1. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try a 10-15 minute brisk walk twice a day.
  1. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  1. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  1. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
  1. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
  1. If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie!
  1. Take the focus off food. Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
  1. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. That way you know there is a least 1 dish you can eat without feeling guilty.
  1. Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of the simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.
  2. Gravy – Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whipping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  3. Dressing – Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  4. Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  5. Green Bean Casserole – Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
  6. Mashed Potato – Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  7. Quick Holiday Nog – Four bananas,  1 ½ cups skim milk or soy milk, 1 ½ cups plain nonfat yogurt, ¼ teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  8. Desserts – Make a crustless pumpkins pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run your mind and body will thank you.

Original Article: Comunity Hospital Anderson Dietitian's Office