There was a very interesting article in the New York Times on Tuesday (that was later posted on Lifehacker) on the health benefits and dangers concerning what people drink on a daily basis. Obviously, there are a few givens; there are many nutrients found in milk, and the benefits are only seen with consistency. I would also imagine that soda=bad would be a given, but a few noteworthy points:

  • “About 21 percent of calories consumed by Americans over the age of 2 come from beverages, predominantly soft drinks and fruit drinks with added sugars…[and] the calories from these sugary drinks account for half the rise in caloric intake by Americans since the late 1970s.”
  • “The American Academy of General Dentistry says that noncola carbonated beverages and canned (sweetened) iced tea harm tooth enamel, especially when consumed apart from meals” while “cola consumption (regular and diet) [is linked] to the thinning of hip bones in women.”

However, for regular coffee drinkers, the outlook is much better:

  • “Several good studies have linked regular coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and, in men and in women who have not taken postmenopausal hormones, Parkinson’s disease.”
  • “And a study of more than 600 men suggested that drinking three cups of coffee a day protects against age-related memory and thinking deficits.”

As for Tea and Alcohol, the results are mixed:

  • “Tea lowers cancer risk in experimental animals, but the effects in people are unknown. It may benefit bone density and help prevent kidney stones and tooth decay. And four or five cups of black tea daily helps arteries expand and thus may improve blood flow to the heart.”
  • “Moderate consumption — one drink a day for women and two for men — has been linked in many large, long-term studies to lower mortality rates, especially from heart attacks and strokes, and may also lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes and gallstones. The panel found no convincing evidence that one form of alcohol, including red wine, was better than another.”

And let’s not forget that coffee and tea can help to prevent colon cancer, though I would boil it down to the fact that both beverages (and alcohol, for that matter), don’t exactly stay in your system that long.

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