Don’t Touch That Soft Drink ~ Until You Read This!

A Reason to Not Drink Soft Drinks

Yeah, we know that soft drinks aren’t all that healthy to drink, what with their empty calories and added sugar.

A Reason TO  Drink Soft Drinks

But on a sweltering Michigan day, especially after tackling some particularly onerous task such as cutting the lawn with a reel mower while fighting off the &#%?! mosquitoes, an ice-cold soft drink is incredibly tempting.

Darn, Another Reason to Not Drink Soft Drinks

But if you have been thinking about cutting back (like maybe when the weather is frigid and hot chocolate sounds better anyway), new research–recently published in Diabetologia and today reported in the Los Angeles Times—suggests that you might want to pause before opening that next soft drink (yes, even though the heat index outside my office is somewhere in the nineties . . .)

In this study, Laura O’Connor and her colleagues conclude that:

Consumption of SSB [sugar-sweetened beverages] such as soft drinks and sweetened-milk beverages was associated with higher type 2 diabetes risk independently of socio-demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors, as well as adiposity in this large prospective study. Our findings suggest that reducing consumption of sweet beverages, in particular soft drinks and sweetened-milk beverages, and promoting drinking water and unsweetened tea or coffee as alternatives may help curb the escalating diabetes epidemic.

And if a person substitutes water or unsweetened tea or coffee for just one sugar-sweetened beverage on a daily basis, the diabetes risk evidently decreases by 14 to 25%, which is decently significant!

(And arguably easier than exercising, though I guess I’m supposed to do that too—but that was where the lawn mowing came in, right?)

Which Is a Great Reason to Drink Tea!

Hot, iced, sparkling / black, oolong, green, white—classic or blended with spices, fruit, etc. / rooibos, fruit, herbal / endless combinations.

TeaHaus suggests a couple of ways to make amazingly refreshing sparkling tea. Depending on the tea used (fruit teas really shine here), you can come up with something similar to lightly flavored sparkling water or a concoction more like a soft drink.

Make Your Own Sparkling Tea

Method One

Measure out three times the amount of tea you would normally use. For example, if you are making a 20-ounce glass of iced carbonated tea, use triple the amount of tea and add 6 oz of hot water (use temperature and brew time specified for that particular tea).

Fill a 20-ounce glass about half full with ice.

Pour in the brewed tea and add carbonated water to fill the glass (you can either make your own carbonated water with a carbonation machine or use bottled sparkling water).

Top off with ice.

Note:  If you prefer, add agave or honey while the tea is brewing.

Method Two

Make a tea-infused syrup and add to any sparkling water (or sparkling wine!—though I suppose that may negate some of the health benefits you are going for, depending on which side of the “wine is good/bad for you” debate you support).

Syrup:  Add 12 grams (about ½ ounce) of tea to 16 ounces of boiling water; allow to infuse for 15 minutes to overnight. Strain and cool completely.

And Enjoy . . .


Matcha and Its Charms

A young adult friend of mine was recently bemoaning the current generation of hipsters that is commandeering and mainstreaming so many things—those previously non-mainstream items or lifestyle choices that she and her friends have valued for a long time. She feels a bit put-out when the hipsters take credit for “discovering” something that she has known about “forever.”

But on the upside, she added—that means that the matcha products she loves are more readily available!

Yes, matcha is everywhere!

And if you haven’t tried it, now is an excellent time—not just to join the hipsters, but because matcha has gone mainstream for good reason! It’s delicious and healthy, and making the beverage requires some graceful accessories and ceremony.

artwork, borderBamboo whisk (chasen), with copper bamboo stem and leaf embellishments; bamboo matcha scoop (chashaku); copper teacup and saucer (copper artwork by Kristin Rheinheimer).

And TeaHaus’ matcha French macarons are always a customer favorite, whether enjoyed alone or with tea.

matcha composite smaller

For more information on matcha, see Bon Appétit‘s “Matcha Culture: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Big Thing in Tea,” Health‘s “7 Things You Should Know About Matcha,” or NPR’s Tea Tuesday.