If the thought of drinking toilet water makes you cringe, you’ll hate learning that ice served at many fast food restaurants contains more bacteria than the water found in their toilets. As reported by the featured article:
“Scientific tests have shown that ice from branches of McDonald‘s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Cafe Rouge and Nando‘s all had higher levels of bacteria than samples of water taken from their lavatory bowls.
“Experts say it could be due to them being cleaned more often than the ice machines… The Burger King result suggested the cause was human contamination, likely to be from a staff member failing to wash their hands.”
Four of the test samples contained enough contamination to be considered a “hygiene risk.”
The study was carried out in restaurants in the UK, but similar results can be expected in the U.S., because the issue relates not to the water itself but to bacterial growth in the ice machines or workers’ lack of hygiene.
This is similar to a 2008 investigation on lemon wedges served in restaurants. Two-thirds contained 25 different potentially dangerous, disease-causing microorganisms — including fecal bacteria.
The fact that people aren’t keeling over from foodborne pathogens en masse is proof that your body is equipped to handle these types of infectious assaults, but that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. Children, the elderly, and people with depleted immune systems are among the most vulnerable.
Regularly frequenting fast food restaurants and drinking lots of sweetened beverages will take its own toll on your immune function, which could make you more susceptible to health problems from contaminated ice.
Next: More Reasons to Avoid Sweetened Beverages
Are You Ready to Ditch Sweetened Drinks Yet?
I’ve been warning about the dangers of soda and sweetened drinks since I started my website over 17 years ago. Americans in particular get a majority of their daily calories from sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and other sweetened beverages. Half the U.S. population over age two consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis, and this figure doesn’t even include 100 percent fruit juices, flavored milk or sweetened teas. Note: Freshly squeezed fruit juices also contain fructose, which will have the same detrimental health effects as HFCS when consumed in excess.
Considering that just one can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over a year and increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent, fructose (and especially HFCS) has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems — in large part due to its ability to turn on your “fat switch.” The HFCS in sweetened beverages and most processed foods is also highly processed and frequently found to be contaminated with mercury. Add to this that most HFCS is made from genetically engineered corn…
Fructose is also a likely culprit behind the millions of U.S. children struggling with non-alcoholic liver disease, caused by a build-up of fat in their liver cells. Fructose is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.
How Much Sugar Do You Consume Each Day?
A century ago, the average American consumed just 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of whole fruit. Today, 25 percent of Americans consume more than 135 grams per day (over a quarter of a pound!), largely in the form of soda and other sweetened beverages.
Fifteen grams of fructose a day isn’t likely to do much harm, but 10 times that amount becomes a MAJOR cause of obesity and nearly all chronic, degenerative diseases.
I strongly advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or 15 grams a day if you’re insulin resistant, obese or have high blood pressure, have high uric acid levels, diabetes or heart disease. This would essentially require eliminating processed foods and sweetened beverages from your diet and maybe limiting your whole fruit intake. For a list of fructose amounts in common fruits, please see this previous article.
Sugary Drinks Linked to 180,000 Deaths Annually
In 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific statement linking sugar intake with heart health. According to the abstract:
“High intakes of dietary sugars in the setting of a worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease have heightened concerns about the adverse effects of excessive consumption of sugars. In 2001 to 2004, the usual intake of added sugars for Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day… Between 1970 and 2005, average annual availability of sugars/added sugars increased by 19 percent… Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans‘ diets. Excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as shortfalls of essential nutrients…”
Hundreds of scientific articles have linked insulin and leptin resistance (a direct result of excess fructose and other sugars in your diet) to cardiovascular disease much more strongly than cholesterol, and they’re at least partially responsible for cholesterol abnormalities. For instance, insulin and leptin resistance result in “small dense” LDL particles and more of them, which is much more important than your total cholesterol number for evaluating heart disease risk.
As I reported in April of this year, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages alone are responsible for about 183,000 deaths annually worldwide, including:
- 44,000 heart disease deaths
- 133,000 diabetes deaths, and
- 6,000 cancer deaths
Among the 35 largest countries in the world, Mexico had the highest death rates associated with sugary beverage consumption, with an average consumption of 24 ounces per day. The U.S. ranked third, with an estimated 25,000 annual deaths from sweetened drinks. Interestingly, and quite disturbingly, the death rates associated with sweetened beverages were highest in those under the age of 45.
What‘s the Healthiest Beverage You Can Drink?
Your blood, kidneys and liver require a constant supply of good, clean water to detoxify your body and fuel your waste filtration systems. The cleanest, purest water available can be obtained by installing one or more types of water filtration systems in your house.
A whole-house water filtration system is ideal, as water contaminants can be even more hazardous when absorbed through your skin into your blood stream. I’ve written numerous articles on tap water hazards, from fluoride to dangerous chemicals and drugs, to toxic disinfection byproducts and heavy metals, so having a good filtration system is a necessity rather than a luxury in most areas. Putting a filter on the one water line to your house is the easiest and simplest way to take control of your health. To learn more about types of water and water filtration systems, please see my special report.
Another option is to bottle your own water from a gravity-fed spring. FindaSpring.com can help you find natural springs in your local area, and most are free.