How to live longer: The ‘diet’ drink which increases your risk of disease and ‘death’

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Today one-in-six of the population is aged 65 and over, and by 2050 it will be one-in-four, according to NHS figures. Although we are making strides in longevity, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of suffering health problems. As the population lives longer, it is possible that the likelihood of many of us ending up with a long-term condition is also growing.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) notes that previous research has found “a link between frequently drinking artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and death”.

It found that women drinking more than two diet drinks a day have this increased risk.

The findings were based on a study of more than 80,000 women, who were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.

The charity has outlined some suggestions for drinks to replace these diet ones with.

It says that water is the best choice for drinking over the day, and if you want to give it some flavour without adding sugar, you could consider adding ice cubes and fresh mint or strips of cucumber.

The charity says: “Diluting a small amount of squash with water can make it seem quite harmless, but in actual fact a squash or cordial made with sugar comes with around three teaspoons of sugar per glass.”

It adds: “Although some people think that the caffeine in tea and coffee might damage their health, this isn’t the case for most people.”

The BHF says drinking moderate amounts, which can be as much as four to five cups a day, of tea or coffee has been linked to benefits for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

The Eatwell Guide says we should drink six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day. However, extra fluid will be needed when sweating more, for example, through heavy work, exercise or in hot weather.

Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.

The NHS sayd: “Fizzy drinks, squashes and juice drinks can contain lots of added sugar and very few nutrients, so keep them to a minimum. Children should avoid them completely.”

If you do have sugary or fizzy drinks, drinking them with meals can help reduce the damage to teeth, it adds.

Water makes up two thirds of our body and without fluids we would only survive a few days. It plays a critical role in all of our body functions.

We all need to replace fluid lost through breathing, sweat and flushing out waste products.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust states: “When you feel thirsty your body is telling you that you are becoming dehydrated.

“As we get older the thirst mechanism is reduced, which means we may not feel thirsty as often. It is important to drink, even if you don’t feel thirsty.”

It suggests that one of the simplest ways to find out if you are drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine. It should be “pale or straw coloured”.

Dark and strong smelling urine is a clear sign that you need to drink more fluids.

If you feel thirsty all the time it could be that you have a health condition such as diabetes, so you should check with your doctor if you are concerned, says the NHS Trust.

The NHS says: “Many people get dehydrated by not drinking enough fluid or by losing fluids and not replacing them.”

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