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Beware of soda's knee-jerk reaction

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

As Rock Hudson demonstrated in the 1952 movie classic "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" being a real soda jerk takes skill and dedication. Today, if you drink sugary sodas, the (ahem!) jerk's on you -- and it can bring you to your knees. Guys who drink five or more sugary soft drinks a week are twice as likely to have knee problems from loss of joint-cushioning cartilage as fellas who skip all sodas. The researchers suggest that the ingredients in the soft drinks, such as phosphoric acid, artificial coloring and sugars, may be the culprits. This info, added to an earlier study that showed reduced bone density in women's hips if they drank colas, should make soft drinks harder to swallow.

So if you're looking for a way to add fizz to your holidays without risking bone damage (or empty calories), consider these beverages that come with a bundle of health advantages:

Carbonated water doesn't damage bones and contains no calories: So, add a puree of fresh blueberries, raspberries, mango or kiwi to a frosty glass of seltzer, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy the heart-loving, gut-cleansing power of fruit, along with great flavor.

Looking for a festive winter cocktail? Opt for mulled wine (skip the added sugar) with healthy spices such as cinnamon (lowers blood sugar), cloves (fight inflammation) and slices of citrusy lemon and orange. A glass of wine a day (if your doc says it's OK) can help you lower your risk of heart disease and memory loss. Cheers!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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