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Drinking Habits Shortening Your Life, According to the Mayo Clinic



black coffee

A double espresso to fuel you through those morning meetings. A soda from the office vending machine to help you avoid the mid-afternoon energy crash. A cocktail or a cold beer to unwind at the end of a long, tiring workday. Some of these seemingly innocent beverages add up. In fact, there are some drinking habits shortening your life, or at the very least, take a toll on your overall health—according to the Mayo Clinic.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the occasional cocktail or latte. In fact, studies have shown that red wine and coffee can actually lengthen your lifespan, thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The key, as with all things, is moderation. And of course, taking any pre-existing health conditions—like high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol—into consideration, as well as any prescription medications that could interact with certain beverages.

Here are a few of the bad drinking habits shortening your life you may want to bust, and for even more, check out our list of rhe 100 Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet.

Mike Marquez/Unsplash

You might want to keep an eye on your daily java consumption—according to a 2013 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, having more than four cups a day can increase your risk of dying from a host of diseases if you’re under the age of 55. In fact, researchers discovered that death rates from all causes rose by more than half in people who had more than 28 cups a week.

“From our study, it seems safe to drink one to three cups of coffee a day,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Xuemei Sui, who defines a cup of coffee as 6 to 8 ounces.

Researchers noted that one reason why this association may be stronger among younger men and women is that they may be more likely to have other unhealthy behaviors, such as a poor diet and/or higher alcohol consumption.

“The exact mechanism between coffee and mortality still needs clarification,” added Sui. “Coffee is high in caffeine, which has the potential to stimulate the release of epinephrine, inhibit insulin activity, and increase blood pressure.”

In addition to limiting yourself to four or fewer cups of coffee a day, Mayo Clinic also highly recommends cutting back on your consumption if you experience side effects such as headaches, insomnia, irritability, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, nervousness, or frequent urination.


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apple juice

Whether you take your coffee loaded with flavored syrup or you love sweetened fruit juice, Mayo Clinic reports that regular consumption of sugary drinks has been proven countless times to be a one of the drinking habits shortening your life and linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In fact, a large study published in the journal Circulation revealed that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages have a greater risk of premature death—especially from heart disease—than do those who drink fewer. The study also found a modest link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and death from cancer, particularly breast cancer among women.

As a result, Mayo Clinic highly recommends opting for unsweetened drinks like water, tea, iced tea, or coffee instead. You can use a fruit infuser to give your water flavor without racking up the sugar content—or even mix 100% unsweetened juice with seltzer to reduce your sugar intake.

While you’re at it, scope out the 13 Drinks To Sip On For A Longer Life.

decaf coffee

The connection between caffeine and high blood pressure is still debated. However, Mayo Clinic states that caffeine can cause a short-term but dramatic increase in blood pressure and may also result in increases over the long-term. This effect happens even if you don’t have high blood pressure, but is especially important to be aware of if you already are watching your blood pressure levels.

According to Mayo Clinic, this effect could be due to the fact that either caffeine triggers your body to release more adrenaline (a stress hormone that elevates your blood pressure). Or, it could be that caffeine may block a certain hormone that helps to keep your arteries widened.

However, it’s important to note that the effect may be more significant if you consume caffeine rarely.

“Some people who regularly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than do those who drink none,” Mayo Clinic states. “Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long-term effect on their blood pressure.”

If you have high blood pressure, Mayo Clinic advises limiting your caffeine consumption to 22 milligrams a day max (about two 8-ounce cups of coffee) and asking your doctor whether you should avoid caffeinated drinks entirely.



Man is dangerously eating junk food and cold drink while driving his car

This might come as no surprise, but even downing soda in moderation can do some serious damage to your health. According to Mayo Clinic, drinking one regular soda a day equals up to 32 pounds of sugar a year—which is alarming given that consuming a lot of added sugar is linked to increased risks of obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation in the body.

While you don’t want to consume sugar in any form, Mayo Clinic notes that it’s always better to get it from natural sources like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and fruit—rather than the fructose, dextrose, cane juice, and high fructose corn syrup found in processed drinks and foods. Additionally, Mayo Clinic reports that sports drinks and fruit juice can pack just as much added sugar, so it’s important to always check the nutrition label before imbibing them.

fountain soda with striped straw on wooden table

Think diet soda is better for you? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but just because your beverage is sugar- and calorie-free doesn’t mean it’s healthier. Mayo Clinic reports that while artificial sweeteners won’t really raise your blood sugar levels the way traditional sweeteners will, there are other concerns related to these substances. One study found that women who consistently drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages a day had a higher risk of stroke than women who drank those beverages less often or not at all.

Mayo Clinic concluded: “Although more research is needed, these findings point to the value of consuming artificially sweetened beverages in moderation.”

Although Mayo Clinic acknowledged that consuming artificial sweeteners in moderation may be safe, the organization still advises opting for whole foods and drinks that are naturally sweetened over processed ones like diet soda, which contain no nutritional value.


“If you regularly drink artificially sweetened beverages as a replacement for sweetened drinks, use that as a stepping stone to drinking more plain water,” Mayo Clinic states. “Your body needs the water, and there’s no question that it’s good for you.”

Here are 15 Reasons You Should Never Drink Diet Soda.

Alcohol wine glasses
Kelsey Chance/Unsplash

If you’re drinking alcohol every day, or having more than several drinks in one sitting, Mayo Clinic strongly advises taking a closer look at your habits in order to protect your health, given that alcohol in excess is considered one of the drinking habits shortening your life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks in one day or more than seven drinks in a week for women. For men over the age of 65, it’s just one drink per day, and for men under the age of 65, it’s more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week.

“Occasional beer or wine with dinner, or a drink in the evening, is not a health problem for most people,” says Mayo Clinic doctor Terry Schneekloth, MD, in a Q&A. “When drinking becomes a daily activity, though, it may represent the progression of your consumption and place you at increased health risks. Alcohol can damage your body’s organs and lead to various health concerns. For women, this damage happens with lower doses of alcohol, because their bodies have lower water content than men. That’s why the moderate drinking guidelines for women and men are so different.”


Excessive drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems as pancreatitis, certain cancers, heart muscle damage, stroke, liver disease, and sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease. It can also raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

“Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases,” says Sheldon G. Sheps, MD, emeritus professor of medicine and former chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic. “Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain—a risk factor for high blood pressure.”

With all of that in consideration, Mayo Clinic advises drinking in moderation. As a general rule, that means no more than one drink a day for women, or two a day for men—which translates to equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

monster worst energy drink

It doesn’t matter how many you have—energy drinks are hardly a healthy choice, and consuming them regularly is one of the drinking habits shortening your life. According to Mayo Clinic research, knocking back just one 16-ounce energy drink can significantly increase your blood pressure as well as stress hormone responses. And previous studies have indicated that energy drinks are particularly harmful when you mix them with alcohol.

“In previous research, we found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults,” says co-author Dr. Anna Svatikova. “We now show that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events – even in healthy people.”


Instead of reaching for one of those sugar-laden energy drinks, Mayo suggests trying to get quality sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and increasing physical activity to naturally boost your energy levels. Unsweetened green or black tea is another viable option—both will give you a dose of caffeine without the sugar, and studies show they might even reduce your blood pressure.

drinking milk

As long as you’re not lactose intolerant, there’s nothing wrong with having some milk, yogurt, or cheese here and there—in fact, dairy is an excellent source of protein and bone-strengthening calcium. But you might want to reconsider just how much milk you’re having—because according to 2019 research conducted by Mayo Clinic, high consumption of dairy products may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

“Our review highlighted a cause for concern with high consumption of dairy products,” says John Shin, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic oncologist and lead author of the study. “The findings also support a growing body of evidence on the potential benefits of plant-based diets.”

Mayo Clinic does acknowledge that cow’s milk and other dairy products can have a place in a healthy diet—however, the organization recommends choosing low-fat or skim varieties, since full-fat products contain saturated fat that can increase your cholesterol. Also, it’s best to consume milk and other dairy products in moderation: about two servings daily.

Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Milk.


Read more about what to choose and what to skip:

Ugly Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day, According to the Mayo Clinic

How to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 10 Weeks, According to the Mayo Clinic

The One Dinner Food to Eat to Avoid Heart Disease, According to the Mayo Clinic


Healthy diet

This Popular Supplement Falls Short on Health Claims, Says Report



apple cider vinegar acv vitamin gummie

It’s one of the most well-known wellness trends there is: taking apple cider vinegar, or ACV, shots. Experts, influencers, and everyday people claim that this living vinegar can provide countless benefits, from regulating blood sugar, to supporting weight loss, to even lowering cholesterol levels. So it’s no wonder that companies would want to capitalize on these health claims and find ways to make it easier for consumers to get apple cider vinegar into their diets.

One way companies came up with is through apple cider vinegar supplements, with one brand, Goli, bursting onto the scene in 2019 with an Apple Cider Vinegar gummy.

But today, the National Advertising Division (NAD) released their recommendation that Goli “discontinue or modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the amount of ACV contained in its gummies is associated with the health benefits of traditional liquid ACV.”


The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the non-profit BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation of product marketing claims to “guide the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S.”

What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?

Anecdotally, many people find ACV to be a beneficial supplement, and there are countless studies that support certain benefits.

“There is some data that suggests ACV, when taken in an appropriate quantity, can offer some health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity. However, more high-quality studies are needed in order to make specific claims. Some studies suggest that vinegar, and not apple cider vinegar specifically, offers some potential health benefits,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board.

As Manaker notes, because the current studies are small or performed in animal models, current research does not conclusively support ACV’s health benefits.


Why does NAD recommend Goli stop marketing its gummies as having the same health benefits as ACV?

NAD has been reviewing many of Goli’s marketing claims for about a year, dating back to March 2021 when the division recommended that Goli discontinue its skin health claims.

In its recent report, NAD determined that Goli’s use of the terms “Apple Cider Vinegar” and “ACV” in its advertising “reasonably conveys the message that the product provides the nutritional and health benefits of traditional apple cider vinegar.”

However, NAD claims that this message is not supported due to the fact that “the health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar are tied to a much higher amount of acetic acid, the ‘active’ ingredient in ACV, than is present in the suggested intake for Goli’s ACV Gummies.”

READ MORE: Supplements You Should Give Up in 2022, Say Dietitians


How does liquid ACV differ from ACV gummies?


The decision by NAD is based on the fact that ACV gummies are very different from liquid ACV in both form and function.

Most ACV gummies do not contain a high enough concentration of apple cider vinegar as a liquid dose.

For example, one two-gummy serving of Goli ACV gummies is said to contain 1 gram of ACV, which the company claims is the equivalent to one dose of liquid apple cider vinegar. However, this concentration is significantly less than what studies on ACV typically involve, and those studies only use liquid ACV.

Following the recent proceedings, Goli has agreed to permanently discontinue the claim that two gummies are equivalent to a dose of liquid ACV, and the company will also cease to claim that these gummies contain “All of the Age Old Benefits of Traditional ACV.”

Another big difference between gummies and liquid ACV is the presence of “the mother.”

Liquid apple cider vinegar can come with “the mother,” which is the combination of yeast and bacteria formed during fermentation. This is the cloudy substance you may see in your bottle of ACV. This substance contains polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and other potentially beneficial compounds; however, ACV gummies may not necessarily contain the same compounds.

“Certain gummies claim to contain the mother in their composition. However, it is unclear what effect the processing of the supplement has on the function of ‘the mother,’” says Manaker.


For example, Goli says that they “source a top-quality Apple Cider Vinegar powder for our product, made with real apple cider vinegar that contains the mother at time of manufacturing,” and they are careful to avoid saying that the mother is present in their processed supplement.

At this time, there are no studies on the efficacy of ACV in gummy form.

While there are small studies that examine the benefits of liquid ACV, there are currently none on a gummy version.

“Unfortunately, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of ACV gummies. Assuming taking this ingredient in gummy form can have the same health effects as taking it in liquid form may be over-reaching. We can’t say for sure until we have quality clinical trials to evaluate the effects,” says Manaker.

If you want to reap the benefits Goli claims, there are ways to do so without taking this supplement.

“People may take Goli AVC gummies for a healthy immune function, heart health, and antioxidant support (all benefits listed on their website), but these benefits may not be because of the vinegar,” says Manaker. “In addition to ACV, these gummies are made with synthetic forms of vitamin B12 and folic acid, so people may experience outcomes like more energy because of the additional vitamins they are putting in their body.” In other words, you’re basically taking a B-complex vitamin when you have Goli ACV gummies.


Manaker recommends that people lean on products that have adequate evidence to support their use, but more importantly, you should focus on your diet to improve your health.

“People can easily take in antioxidants by making a point to consume a balanced diet filled with fruit, veggies, nuts, and beans. For heart health support, evidence-based solutions like sipping on green tea may be a more effective solution. And for weight management goals, there is nothing quite like following a balanced diet and including physical activity in your day to help maintain your ideal weight,” she says.

“Another option is to explore a high-quality multivitamin that not only contains B vitamins (like Goli provides), but also other nutrients that people are oftentimes deficient in, like vitamin D to support a slew of health goals. There are plenty of solutions out there that have quality data to support its use and they can be fantastic options to lean on instead of taking an ACV gummy every day,” says Manaker.

Editor’s Note: Although Goli reached an agreement with NAD on certain points, the supplement company will be appealing the decision, “because it ‘disagrees’ with NAD’s findings that its advertising conveys unsupported implied messages, that its recommended dosage claim is in dispute before the NAD, and with NAD’s exercise of jurisdiction ‘over these issues and over other advertising that is at issue in pending federal litigation.’”

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Healthy diet

The #1 Worst Food for Arthritis, Says Dietitian



woman holding wrist

Additional reporting by Leo Andreoli.

Picking out the #1 worst food to eat if you have arthritis isn’t easy, and that’s because an arthritis diagnosis comes with a lot of variables.

For one, what makes one person’s joint pain worse may be totally different from what exacerbates another’s, according to Heidi Turner, MS, RDN, CD, an integrative registered dietitian nutritionist with Food Logic, who specializes in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.


Secondly, there are various types of arthritis, each of which may be made worse by something different in the diet. Four common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is a wearing down of the cartilage in the joints due to aging; rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells and causes inflammation typically in the hands, wrists, and knees; gout, which usually affects one joint at a time, often starting with the big toe, and ankylosing spondylitis; or ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which reduces the flexibility of the spine.

RELATED: Telltale Signs You Have Arthritis

“Everybody’s different; one person with osteoarthritis can eat a food (and feel fine) while another can have a really bad reaction to it,” says Turner.

With that in mind, to find the #1 worst food for arthritis, the solution is to try an “elimination diet,” that is, eliminating foods to identify those that make you feel better when you stop eating them. Read on to learn more about how to try an elimination diet to pinpoint the foods that worsen arthritis symptoms as well as the most likely culprits, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drive Every Day, Says Science.


While an elimination diet will help you find the worst foods for your arthritis, Turner says processed and high-sugar foods are generally the worst foods for sufferers of any type of arthritis for the same reasons they are harmful to your overall health. “Foods that contain a lot of chemicals and preservatives, high-starch foods, sugars, highly-processed grains, things like that will encourage inflammation and are what you want to get out of your diet first and replace with whole foods,” she says.

fried foods

New research from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine suggests a connection between an unhealthy gut microbiome and rheumatoid arthritis. The trillions of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are impacted by what you eat, and an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria may make RA symptoms worse, according to the study.

What are those foods that cause an unhealthy gut? Inflammatory foods like saturated and trans fats, fried foods, corn oil, and baked goods. “If you’re working with a lot of gut issues, then you might try to take out those known inflammatory foods, including gluten and dairy,” says Turner.

nightshade vegetables

Some people with arthritis find that eating tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers trigger arthritic swelling and stiffness. “Eating nightshade plants can irritate the joints; I see that quite a lot in my practice,” says Turner.

The inflammatory reaction may be due to a buildup of a bitter-tasting chemical found in nightshade plants called solanine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, giving up nightshades come with a downside: you’d miss out on some highly nutritious foods, the Cleveland Clinic notes.

Thais Do Rio / Unsplash

The form of arthritis known as gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body and crystals of uric acid accumulate in the joints, causing swelling and pain. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of chemical compounds in certain foods called purines. “Gout is its own little beast,” says Turner. The worst foods to eat if you have gout are “foods high in purines like organ meats, alcohol (especially beer), sardines, and sweet beverages like soda and juices with high fructose corn syrup,” she says. Even certain vegetables, like cauliflower and asparagus, are higher in purines than others and may cause inflammation in a joint.

Because foods can affect people so differently, eliminating certain inflammatory foods and monitoring how your body reacts may be the best way to identify those that worsen your arthritis symptoms, says Turner. Other tactics to try, she says, are adopting a paleo diet or Mediterranean-style diet. Both include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and fish and shun added sugars and processed grains. To learn more about the health benefits of this style of eating, read What Happens to Your Body on the Mediterranean Diet.

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