Thursday, March 25, 2010

Excess by definition is unhealthy

As much as I have been a fan of diet soft drinks in my life, in recent times, I have started to take steps to curb my consumption. Sadly most of my concern has not been with my health but more with the issues of cost and waste. But motivations aside, it is important in one’s life to avoid excess and constantly seek moderation in all things that you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

With regard to soda, recently I noted a health study conducted over 11 years that women showed decreased kidney function twice the normal rate when they consumed more than 24 ounces of artificially sweetened soda per day. Though not part of the study, men biologically speaking are functionally the same. Beyond the acids in both sugared and sugar-free soda, even traditionally ‘healthy’ things like orange juice also contain large amounts of sugar and acids which can adversely affect dental health. Obviously drink water and flush your mouth out after acidic or sugary drinks.

We all know that too much sodium leads to high blood pressure but what about vitamin C or let’s say protein? Yes even too much SUPLEMENTAL vitamin C can lead to intestinal distress, kidney stones and even dizziness. Oddly excess vitamin C consumed through oranges, strawberries or green veggies like broccoli in your diet will simply flush out with no ill effects. A higher protein diet in excess of about a ½ gram per pound of body mass will metabolize ketones, which are toxic to the kidneys. Usually to counteract this result, exercise and more water intake than normal will help flush the system.

Ok, with all this flushing going on, what about water – can you drink too much? Yes, water intoxication is possible but more likely in ultra low weight people (like babies) or extreme athletes who sweat and consume large volumes of water very quickly. In all cases, It is the sodium and electrolyte balance that can get out of whack when water floods your cells and particularly your kidneys all at once. Sleep, though not proven conclusively regarding excess, seems optimal at the proverbial 8 hours per night. Significantly less sleep is associated with lethargy, weight gain, and very, very Grouchy blogposts!

So the moral of this story is all about moderation in everything you do. You can eat pizza or pecan pie once in awhile but don’t eat a WHOLE pizza or pecan pie. You want a cup of coffee or two – great, but don’t drink the whole pot. Also lose the ‘choco-mocha whippa lotta latte’ gunk that adds calories and un-needed sugar. Maybe like me, you can use economic motivators to help you moderate your bad habits and shed your excess addictions. Regardless of technique, you owe it to yourself, and your family, to control your extremes to get healthy and stay that way. By anyone’s measure your long-term quality of life IS the definition of ‘true’ happiness and THAT you can enjoy in EXCESS!

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