Study: Drinking More Than Two Sodas Daily Can Increase Risk of Death

tongpatong/iStock via Getty Images
tongpatong/iStock via Getty Images

Soda has never been part of a healthy diet. In addition to promoting weight gain and concurrent health issues, it can be particularly tough on teeth thanks to its sugar and acidic content. And now it appears that we have more evidence that picking up a soda bottle may have even more dire consequences. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, drinking two soft drinks daily is associated with a higher risk of death from a variety of ailments.

The study looked at 451,743 healthy subjects from 10 European countries that had been recruited for the long-running European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, or EPIC. The participants provided information between 1992 and 2000.

The researchers examined the subjects' reported consumption of soft drinks and their overall mortality rate during a follow-up period of between 11 and 19 years later, which saw 41,693 deaths in that time. Mortality among those who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day was higher than those reporting consumption of less than one drink a month. This was in spite of the fact high-volume consumers were an average of roughly two years younger than their low-volume counterparts.

Notably, the study found that the cause of death differed among subjects who reported drinking artificially sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened options. Drinks with artificial sweeteners were associated with circulatory diseases like coronary artery disease. Sugar-laden drinks were linked to digestive diseases, which can include ailments involving the liver and intestines.

The study’s authors drew two possible conclusions. One, fructose in sugary drinks leads to liver lipogenesis, a precursor to liver disease in non-alcoholics. Artificially flavored drinks might introduce glucose intolerance. Deaths among those consuming the artificially flavored beverages were consistent even among those with a healthy body weight. The authors were careful to note that long-term effects of sweeteners are still poorly understood.

[h/t MarketWatch]

U.S. Postal Service Issues 'Healing' Stamp to Help Americans Struggling With PTSD

USPS
USPS

Showing your support for military veterans and others afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is now just a lick away. This week, the United States Postal Service (USPS) released a new Healing PTSD stamp, with proceeds going toward the assistance and treatment of service members and civilians struggling with emotional and psychological symptoms brought on by a troubling life event.

The front of the stamp, which features a green plant growing from a pile of fallen leaves, is intended to symbolize healing. The stamp is what the USPS refers to as semipostal, which is postage that sells for a premium in order to raise funds for causes thought to be in the public interest. The Healing PTSD edition is 65 cents, or 10 cents more than a regularly-priced first-class stamp. That money, minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs acquired by the Postal Service, will be distributed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and routed to the National Center for PTSD.

The first semipostal stamp was issued in 1998 and was intended to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. A stamp for Alzheimer’s research followed in 2017. Semipostal stamps are intended to be sold for no more than two years at a time.

The Healing PTSD stamp is available at local post offices and on USPS.com.

[h/t Task & Purpose]

You Can Use Your FSA or HSA Card to Pay for Medical Items on Amazon

Poike / iStock via Getty Images
Poike / iStock via Getty Images

Good news for Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Account holders: You can use your HSA or FSA card to pay for eligible items on Amazon. According to Slick Deals, you can put balance towards dozens of health and hygiene items, including deodorant, eye drops, vitamins, lip balm, first aid kits, certain contraceptives, and more.

Not only does this let you pay for medical supplies with pre-tax money, but it also eliminates the hassle of having to go to the store to pick up essentials and non-essentials alike. Plus, it makes it a little easier to spend your remaining FSA funds as the deadline is December 31 (HSA funds, on the other hand, roll over to the following year).

Before ordering, just register your FSA or HSA card like you would for any card. Just be aware that some HSA cards must be registered as a credit card. In those cases, there aren’t automatic restrictions on what you can buy, so you’ll need to check that you’re only using your card for eligible items.

But what if you just ordered some sunscreen or reading glasses (both eligible products) using a regular credit card? Fortunately, you can apply for a reimbursement on past orders. Amazon suggests that you “contact your plan administrator or employer for more information on what items are eligible and how to provide appropriate documentation for reimbursement.”

Items will be listed as "FSA or HSA Eligible" on their individual product pages. And Amazon has a section where you can browse eligible items. A lot more items are covered by your FSA or HSA than you might expect, so to make your shopping a bit easier we broke it down into a list.

- Baby and Child Care
- Brace and Elastic Supports
- Children’s Cold and Allergy
- Cold and Allergy
- Ear Care
- Eye Care
- Family Planning and Tests
- First Aid
- Foot Health
- Home Medical
- Incontinence
- Medical Supplies and Equipment
- Mobility Aids
- Oral Care
- Pain Relief
- Skin Care

If you could use a little shopping inspiration, check out our list of 11 creative ways to spend your FSA money before the deadline, or 11 pain-relief devices you can buy with FSA money.

[h/t Slick Deals]

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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