Seemingly innocuous habit has SERIOUS health consequences?

Beware of this hidden addiction!

We often hear about addictions to recreational and pharmaceutical drugs.

But there’s another stealthy addiction that’s becoming more and more prevalent.

Recent research shows it’s common across ALL ages—and the health consequences are DIRE.

In fact, some studies have found this seemingly innocuous habit can affect your brain in much the same way recreational drugs do—by stimulating production of the feel-good hormone dopamine.1

And since the human brain is quite literally wired to seek out ways to release dopamine, many “users” get caught in an abusive pattern.

But that’s BAD NEWS for your health.

Here’s how you can STOP this habit from “re-wiring” your brain…and what you can opt for instead.

Your body and brain on “drugs”

We know about the consequences of drug addiction. But less is known about addiction to sugary drinks, like soda.

Sure, it’s no secret that drinking too much soda can lead to weight gain. And the excess sugar is definitely not what your dentist ordered.

Not to mention, soft drinks contain NO essential nutrients—just sugar, excess calories, and, in many cases, artificial ingredients.

Yet some people—whether they’re addicted or not—feel the pleasures of sugary sodas outweigh the consequences. Well… not quite.

Research reveals that consuming any amount of soft drinks can lead to DIRE health consequences. Here’s an examination of the evidence, from (literally) head to toe.

Oral health. The problems with consuming sugary drinks commence as soon as they enter your mouth.

Soft drinks contain carbonic and
phosphoric acid, which, not surprisingly, create an acidic environment in your mouth that contributes to tooth decay. Sugar also supports harmful bacteria that grow in the mouth.

Dementia. Research shows that any incremental increases in blood sugar are strongly associated with increased dementia risk. And sugary drinks lead to rapid blood sugar spikes.

Plus, excess sugar consumption can have a metabolic effect in the body, which can lead to diseases like Type II diabetes. In fact, I often refer to dementia as “Type III diabetes” because of its metabolic impact.

Weight gain. The added sugar in soft drinks is typically in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). And research shows this artificial sugar influences a weight-related hormone called leptin.

Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells to regulate the number of calories they consume and burn. Your body’s leptin levels change in response to both hunger or starvation—and to obesity.

As with other metabolic hormones, such as insulin, the body can become resistant to leptin. And leptin resistance is now thought to be among the leading causes of weight gain.

Some experimental studies indicate that intake of the sugar found in soft drinks leads to leptin resistance.

In one study, lab rats became leptin-resistant after being fed large amounts of HFCS.2  But, interestingly, when the rats returned to a sugar-free diet, their leptin resistance disappeared.

Heart disease. Recent studies indicate a strong association between sugary drinks and heart disease risk—potentially due to the drinks’ ability to increase blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

One 22-year study of more than 40,000 men found that those who drank just one sugary drink per day had a 20 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease, compared to men who rarely consumed sugary drinks.3

And this was even after the researchers adjusted for heart disease risk factors (like age, physical activity levels, diet quality, and body mass index). Meaning that you could be in wonderful health but still substantially increase your risk of a heart attack simply by drinking sugary sodas!

Cancer. Sugary drinks are frequently associated with a higher risk of certain cancers.

For example, one 14-year study on more than 60,000 adults found that those who drank just two or more sugary drinks per week were a whopping 87 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those didn’t drink soda. The researchers also noted a link between sugary drinks and insulin resistance.4

Sugary soda consumption has also been associated with a greater risk of colon cancer. And some research shows that postmenopausal women who drink them may be at greater risk for endometrial (uterus lining) cancer.

Tasty, refreshing alternatives

It’s clear that drinking soft drinks has detrimental effects on your health.

So, what should you drink instead? Water, or course, is your best option—particularly natural mineral waters bottled at the source in glass. I also recommend black coffee or tea.

Of course, sometimes you just have a taste for something sweet. But whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking artificially sweetened soft drinks are better for you than their sugary counterparts.

One review of 37 studies involving nearly 407,000 people found that those who used artificial sweeteners didn’t lose weight—in fact, they actually GAINED extra pounds!

Plus, they had a 14 percent higher risk of developing Type II diabetes and a 32 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.5

(Learn more about why artificial sweeteners are so unhealthy in the sidebar on page 4.)

Instead, you can indulge your sweet tooth and quench your thirst with fruit-infused water.

This time of year, I also like hot mulled cider.

It reminds me of the New England of my childhood, when autumn had a special flavor. And as an adult, I’ve found that as the autumn sun goes down and the day wanes, gatherings with friends and family can be enhanced with the right “spirit.”

SIDEBAR: The harmful effects of artificial sweeteners

Researchers believe these fake sugars may actually increase real sugar cravings and promote the consumption of sugary beverages and foods. They also think artificial sweeteners can affect you psychologically, filling you with the false notion you can overindulge.

Other researchers suggest that the taste of artificial sweeteners may confuse your metabolism so much that it alters the way your body handles real sugar. Artificial sweeteners may also affect healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to problems with how your system behaves metabolically.

Hot mulled cider

Here’s my favorite recipe for a nippy fall night, courtesy of The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper’s Kitchen by Laurey Masterton.


1 gallon apple cider (organic)

1 orange, unpeeled, cut into slices

2 cinnamon sticks

¼ cup whole cloves

¼ cup honey (you can use a flavored honey like orange blossom or cranberry if you’d like)

1 cup sherry


Combine the cider, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and orange slices in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce to low heat. Simmer for an hour, then add the sherry. You can also garnish your cider with fresh cranberries—or even sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top (see page 8).


1“Neurobiology of food addiction.” Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jul;13(4):359-65.

2“Dietary components in the development of leptin resistance.” Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar 1;4(2):164-75.

3“Sweetened beverage consumption, incident coronary heart disease, and biomarkers of risk in men.” Circulation. 2012 Apr 10;125(14):1735-41, S1.

4“Soft drink and juice consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: the Singapore Chinese Health Study.” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Feb;19(2):447-55.

5“Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies,” CMAJ. July 17, 2017; 189(28)