Grow Up in the South? A Stroke May Be In Your Future

The stroke belt.  That's what many call southeastern states like Mississippi (the fattest state in the nation) and Alabama, even Georgia.  And it's because more people who grew up or live in that area are prone to strokes.

Experts say the risk exists even if you move away, according to a story by Mary MacVean of the LA Times.  A new study curiously places the highest risk on people who lived in the south from ages 13 to 18 -- 17% higher. 

"Researchers speculated that adolescence is a time when many people set in place certain important habits – smoking, dietary choices – that affect stroke risk," MacVean reports.

But others say factors like air pollution, environmental tobacco smoke, metals, and pesticides may also increase the risk of stroke.

Here's another scary fact.  Love your Coke?  Plan on diabetes.  That's what a new study is reporting.  As little as one sugary soda a day can increase your chances of getting this disease by almost 25%.  Not to mention the weight you'll gain (some put it at 15 pounds a year).  All I know is, as soon as my husband cut out the Coke, he dropped 20 pounds in about two weeks (at least, that's what it seemed like to me, who took 18 months to lose the same amount).

And here's the creepiest part of all.  According to ABC News, even people who drank diet soda once a day had a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  But once the study accounted for weight and exercise levels, the risk disappeared for those at a healthy weight.

ABC News interviewed Jayson Calton, co-author of Rich Food, Poor Food, a book that explains the hidden dangers in food and beverages, who laid out another (huge) reason why people should avoid soda.

“Aside from sugar, there are nine other potentially dangerous ingredients in soda, including carcinogenic artificial colors and phosphoric acid, which can contribute to everything from obesity to cancer to the depletion of micronutrients essential for strong bones,” he told ABC News' Liz Reporent.



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