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Health & fitness

Six Toxic Beliefs That Will Ruin Your Career

These ideas can place a huge blockade between you and your career ambitions.

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Dr. Travis Bradberry reveals the six beliefs that invariably hold people back and provides bullet-proof strategies to ensure you don’t succumb to them.

There is nothing wrong with making a mistake. It’s what you say to yourself after you mess up that matters. Your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either magnify the negativity or help you turn that misstep into something productive.

Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of.

All self-talk is driven by important beliefs that you hold about yourself. It plays an understated but powerful role in success because it can both spur you forward to achieve your goals and hold you back.

As Henry Ford said, “He who believes he can and he who believes he cannot are both correct.”

TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence (EQ) of more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers are high in EQ. These successful, high EQ individuals possess an important skill—the ability to recognize and control negative self-talk so that it doesn’t prevent them from reaching their full potential. This is something many of them learned in emotional intelligence training.

These successful people earn an average of $28,000 more annually than their low EQ peers, get promoted more often, and receive higher marks on performance evaluations. The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary.

When it comes to self-talk, we’ve discovered six common, yet toxic, beliefs that hold people back more than any others. Be mindful of your tendencies to succumb to these beliefs, so that they don’t derail your career:

Toxic Belief #1: Perfection = Success

Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

Toxic Belief #2: My Destiny is Predetermined

Far too many people succumb to the highly irrational idea that they are destined to succeed or fail. Make no mistake about it, your destiny is in your own hands, and blaming multiple successes or failures on forces beyond your control is nothing more than a cop out. Sometimes life will deal you difficult cards to play, and others times you’ll be holding aces. Your willingness to give your all in playing any hand you’re holding determines your ultimate success or failure in life.

Toxic Belief #3: I “Always” or “Never” Do That

There isn’t anything in life that you always or never do. You may do something a lot or not do something enough, but framing your behavior in terms of “always” or “never” is a form of self-pity. It makes you believe that you have no control of yourself and will never change. Don’t succumb to it.

Toxic Belief #4: I Succeed When Others Approve of Me

Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain⎯you’re never as good or bad as they say you are. It’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, but you can take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what people think about you, your self-worth comes only from within.

Toxic Belief #5: My Past = My Future

Repeated failures can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, these failures result from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Just remember that success lies in your ability to rise in the face of failure. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.

Toxic Belief #6: My Emotions = Reality

If you’ve read Emotional Intelligence 2.0, you know how to take an objective look at your feelings and separate fact from fiction. If not, you might want to read it. Otherwise, your emotions will continue to skew your sense of reality, making you vulnerable to the negative self-talk that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.

Via: Six Toxic Beliefs That Will Ruin Your Career 

What To Know If You Love Someone With High-Functioning Anxiety

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When someone you love has high-functioning anxiety, it isn’t always obvious. And success in life ― whether recognition at work or, say, being particularly sparkly at a party ― doesn’t mean he or she isn’t dealing with something internally.

While those living with the condition are dealing with debilitating side effects, they hide it well ― even from their loved ones or significant others. People who struggle with the disorder often experience excessive worry and panic, headaches and more.

As with any mental health condition, the more people know about it, the better. Education is critical when it comes to erasing stigma ― and less stigma could mean more people with disorders will reach out for help. Research shows negative stereotypes often prevent people with mental health issues from seeking treatment.

We asked our Facebook communities to share what they want their partners and families to know about high-functioning anxiety as a way to shine a light on the condition. Below are some things to keep in mind if you love someone who is dealing with it:

1. Routine tasks can feel impossible.

“Some daily activities that may seem easy for them are not for me. Shopping, going to the post office, school, etc. It’s not easy and sometimes there are days that I can’t fake it and pretend that my anxiety isn’t out of control.” ―Sabrina Campbell

2. There are physical symptoms on top of the emotional ones.

“I wish he understood I physically feel like I am on a roller coaster with an endless drop, and I fight back tears as I beg my body to normalize.” ―Julie Carr

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3. Acknowledging the condition can be an act of love…

“I’m ashamed of my anxiety and so I try to hide it. Unfortunately, because he’s closest to me, when I can’t hold it in anymore, he usually gets the brunt of it.” ―Amy Schultheiss

4. …But even to loved ones, the struggle can be invisible.

“I wish my significant other could realize that just because I get out of bed and tackle the day does not mean that I’m not having anxiety. Anxiety is not well seen by others who don’t experience it.” ―Emily Yocom

5. Little gestures go a long way.

“Something my girlfriend does that I really appreciate is that she waits for me to bring up that I’m being anxious, even though she can see things at home and work are piling up. And then when I finally lose it, she helps me make a big list of all the things going on.” ―Maria Lyon

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6. Anxiety can be unpredictable.

“I can hold meetings with nearly 200 people who report to me, speaking eloquently and persuasively, yet become paralyzed when I am at a party, unable to think of something to say to friends. We can be having fun at a barbecue when something triggers me and I need to flee … It isn’t something that you can always predict.” ―Susan Vliet

7. The person can never feel like they’re safe from the condition.

“That there’s never a sense of security. Every great thing that happens is dulled by wondering how it’s going to go wrong or what other thing in my life is going to fall apart.” ―Alexandra Mykita

8. What you say about the condition matters.

“Telling people to just ‘get over it’ or to ‘face your fear’ is not helping and just makes the feeling worse because it makes you feel crazy when you’re not.” ―Haley Michelle

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9. High-functioning anxiety is not in someone’s control.

“It’s not a choice. If it were up to me I certainly wouldn’t choose to feel like this. My hope is that there will be more tolerance and understanding that this is out of my control.” ―Carla McDonald

10. It causes unfounded fears.

“I wish he knew that my constant fears of him breaking up with me has nothing to do with him or that I don’t trust him, it’s my brain telling me that I’m not worth the trouble. That I’m a liability.” ―Christina Loken

11. Your encouragement is vital.

“Just be there to support and love, and be open.” ―Glori Sutton

Just a few gentle reminders to tuck away. Anxiety is the worst, but loved ones know the warning signs — and acting on them — can help make it better.

Via: What To Know If You Love Someone With High-Functioning Anxiety 

Relaxation Hacks For People Who Hate Meditating

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If you suffer from stress and anxiety, odds are someone in your life has mentioned meditation as a way to cope with it. Psychiatrists often recommend this therapy, and for good reason — research based on 19,000 meditation studies found mindful meditation can in fact ease psychological stress.

Despite that data, however, meditation isn’t for everyone. And it may not serve some people who experience the most severe bouts of stress.

I have chronic generalized anxiety, which means I’m always experiencing a level of tension or stress. For the most part I can manage it, but every now and then, it’ll hit hard without warning, and uproot my day completely.

In college, my therapist recommended I try meditation to curb my anxiety. At first, I was happy to oblige. I tried a variety of styles, from Zen meditation, which has you focus on breathing, to primordial sound mediation, which involves, well, making primordial sounds.

It didn’t work. I’d often find myself more anxious at the end of a 15-minute meditation session than I had been at the beginning. And I’m not alone: In general, it can be more difficult for people with chronic anxiety to meditate, because they have more stress-ridden thoughts than the average person, according to clinical psychologist Mitch Abblett.

That said, there are plenty of ways to achieve the same level of relaxation without sitting cross-legged on the floor. They’re all rooted in a technique called “the distraction method.” It’s part of Dr. Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, which works under the assumption that a person’s way of thinking is intrinsically tied to their emotional functioning.

The method consists of doing basic activities can help you take a step back from your anxiety. Psychologist Anjhula Mya Singh Bais explains the distractions can help people to “objectively view issues causing disturbances in a manner that is both pragmatic and helpful in a low intensity, low pressure and low stakes environment.”

What she means is by doing something simple and functional, you may be able to relax, regroup and perhaps reexamine the issue that was causing your anxiety from a much more levelheaded place.

Here are six suggestions for activities that may calm your brain without meditation, based on expert opinions and my personal experience: 

1. Arts and crafts — including but not limited to coloring, pottery and knitting

Working with your hands diverts energy into something productive, and often results in a cool or even beautiful creation.

“Being artistic calms the nervous system because when we’re focused on creative activities, our attention moves away from constant worrying,” New York therapist Kimberly Hershenson says. “This helps the nervous system regulate, allowing our brain to clear space to process difficult issues.”

2. All varieties of yoga

There are a multitude of benefits that come from practicing yoga, and a quieter mind is just one of them. It’s basically active meditation, which is great for the anxiety-prone, because it allows you to focus on your breathing and body without getting stuck in your head.

“Yoga helps build concentration and is a great way to improve overall focus,” explains Silvia Polivoy, clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Thevine Spiritual Center. “In addition, it enhances memory and improves brain power.”

If you’re new to yoga, I highly recommend starting with Lesley Fightmaster’s online videos.

3. Go for a walk

It may sound simple, but similar to yoga, walking outside (without your phone) allows you to refocus your anxious energy on a physical act and take in the world around you. Here’s a great way to start, courtesy of psychotherapist Melissa Divaris Thompson:

“The more you can get into nature the better. Walk with consciousness. Notice how your breath feels. Notice your feet walking on the surface with each step.”

4. Singing, humming and whistling

I often sing and whistle to bring myself back into the present. It automatically lightens my mood and regulates my breathing if I’m hyperventilating. The best part is you don’t have to be a good singer for it to work for you.

5. Free-writing before bed

This one’s especially great for people with anxiety that affects their sleep. David Ezell, the clinical director and CEO of therapy provider Darien Wellness, recommends writing with a pen and paper to get away from distracting screens.

“The objective is to relieve the pressure of thoughts analogous to a water tank too full of H2O,” he writes in an email. “I tell my patients to see their arm as a pipe and the notebook the reservoir into which the water flows.”

6. Cooking

Cooking is filled with basic tasks that let you focus on all sorts of sights, smells, tastes and textures. Once you’re done, you can practice mindfulness while you eat.

Your personal distraction method may not be on this list. But if you keep experimenting with different strategies, you’ll be sure to find it.

Via:  Relaxation Hacks For People Who Hate Meditating 

‘Kissing bug’ disease more deadly than thought 

By Meera Senthilingam

The nickname given to the insects that spread Chagas disease is somewhat bittersweet: kissing bugs.

Their name stems from the fact that they like biting humans around their lips and faces as they sleep, after which they defecate into the wound with feces that harbor an infectious parasite, Trypanasoma cruzi.
The parasite then enters the bloodstream and causes Chagas disease, also known as trypanosomiasis.
Though the disease is generally considered to be mild or even asymptomatic among most, a new study has found that deaths fueled by the infection are much more common than we know — and are going unrecognized.
In the study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, infection with Chagas was found to increase risk of death by two to three times.
“In every age category, people who had Chagas died more than people who didn’t have Chagas,” said Dr. Ligia Capuani, an infectious disease researcher at Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Sao Paulo, in Brazil, who led the research.
“So if you’re infected early in life, you should be treated,” she said.
Diagnosis is a challenge in many parts of Central and South America, where the disease is most prevalent, with people often finding out that they are infected only when they donate blood, explained Capuani.
The kissing bugs behind the disease have also been reported in 25 US states, with the largest concentration in the South.

Hiding in blood

The research team analyzed data from more than 8,500 people who donated blood between 1996 and 2000 and compared mortality among people who tested positive and negative for infection with T. cruzi. Subjects were followed for up to 14 years.
“People with Chagas had a two to three times higher risk of dying.” said Dr. Ester Cerdeira Sabino, who co-led the study team at the Brazilian University.
The leading causes of death among those testing positive related to heart diseases, the most common symptom of an infection. In the positive group, “there was 17 times the risk of cardio disease,” Sabino said.
More than 6 million people are estimated to be infected globally, according to the World Health Organization, with up to 30% of people chronically infected developing heart issues and 10% developing digestive or neurological symptoms.
The CDC estimates that there are 300,000 cases of Chagas in the United States, with most of those contracted in other countries.
Some patients experience acute, sudden symptoms during the first two months of infection, when parasite numbers in the blood are at their peak, including fever, fatigue, rash, diarrhea and occasionally swollen eyelids. But whether acute or chronic, the majority of people remain symptom-free.
Sabino and Capuani believe their findings draw attention to a greater impact on health, due to infection.
“What the parasite does to the body takes a long time; (it) slowly goes into the heart and destroys it,” Sabino said. “We have measured accurately the risk of death, (as) a lot of mortality data doesn’t account for Chagas.”
In the study, 40% of people whose blood tested positive for Chagas disease did not have that infection stated on their death certificate, even when deaths were heart-related.

”It’s still there and causing death’

Two antiparasitic drugs are available to treat infection, benznidazole and nifurtimox, both of which are almost 100% effective if given soon after infection, according to the WHO. But it’s effectiveness fades the longer someone is infected. Adverse effects also occur in up to 40% of patients, and treatment can take up to two months.
There is no vaccine against the disease. The best means of prevention is controlling the triatomine — kissing — bugs that spread it, either by use of insecticides or by improving homes, as the bugs reside in the walls or roof cracks of poorly constructed homes.
But another means of prevention is treating people early, so they cannot spread the parasite to others, either by the bugs biting them or through blood donations and transfusions.
“Most people who get infected carry on with their lives … unaware they were bitten,” Sabino said. “A lot of mortality data doesn’t account for Chagas, so you underestimate the effect of the disease.”
Along with Capuani, she believes that more attention needs to be given to the burden of infection.
“It’s still there and causing death,” she said.
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“The general assumption is that the non-symptomatic form of Chagas disease is associated with negligible morbidity/mortality for the patients,” said Dr. Eric Dumonteil, a Chagas disease researcher at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in the US. This study is “very interesting (and) has important implications for patient care and treatment.”
But Dumonteil added that the design of this study, looking at past data, makes it difficult to focus in on and compare the mortality rate for non-symptomatic people testing positive for Chagas infection to symptomatic people. It’s also a correlation that has been seen, not direct causation, as patients were not directly followed up.
Dr. Alvaro Acosta-Serrano, a parasitologist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK, agrees with the research team that more attention needs to paid to the problem of forgotten or unknown infections.
“This increase in mortality (shown by the study) is not that shocking,” he said. “Chagas is often mistaken with flu symptoms and then disappears. It can disappear for years then re-emerge as heart disease.”
He believes more accurate diagnostics are needed to pick up infections in people who carry low levels of the parasite in their blood.
“If we don’t detect it in time, they will continue spreading the disease,” he said.

Via: ‘Kissing bug’ disease more deadly than thought 

The Placebo Effect Can Mend Your Broken Heart, Study Suggests

A new study suggests the best way to get over a breakup is to fake it until you make it.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that simply believing you’re doing something positive to get over your ex can influence brain regions associated with emotional regulation and lessen the pain you’re feeling. In other words, remaining open to the possibility that what you’re doing could potentially make you feel better works like a placebo effect.

Researchers Leonie Koban and Tor Wager and their team at CU Boulder studied 40 young people who’d experienced an unwanted breakup in the past six months. The participants were asked to bring in two photos: one of their ex and one of a close friend.

Inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the heartbroken parties were shown images of their exes and asked to reflect on the breakup. Then they saw the images of their friend (the control variable).

They were also given a jolt of physical pain (a hot stimulus on their left forearm).

As these stimuli were alternately repeated, the participants were asked how they felt on a scale of 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good). Meanwhile, the fMRI machine tracked activity in the brain.

The machine showed similar areas of the brain lit up during both emotional pain (reminiscing and looking at the ex pic) and physical pain — suggesting that the heartache you feel after a breakup is veryreal and not just in your head.

For part two of the study, the subjects were taken out of the machine and given a nasal spray. Half were told the spray was a “powerful analgesic effective in reducing emotional pain,” while the rest were told it was merely a saline solution.

The subjects then went back in the fMRI machine and experienced the same painful stimuli as before, but this time, the placebo group felt less physical and emotional pain.

When they were shown the photo of their ex, there was reduced activity in the areas of the brain associated with social rejection.

“The placebo nasal spray made people feel substantially better about viewing pictures of their ex-partners — on the brain as well as on people’s feelings,” said Wager, a senior author of the study.

If you’re nursing a broken heart, Wager said the takeaway of his study should be that your beliefs about the future matter more than you think.

“Your expectations are something you have some control over after a breakup,” he said. “When faced with rejection, there’s hope you can find a mental strategy to help deal with the event as best as possible. You have to be open to a better future.”

 

via GIPHY

Via: The Placebo Effect Can Mend Your Broken Heart, Study Suggests 

Drinking all those diet sodas may come back to haunt you 

Diet soda is getting more bad publicity. A new study comes to some alarming conclusions about these beverages

Artificially sweetened beverages may be linked to an increased risk of stroke and dementia, according to a study released this week by the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Stroke. The researchers looked at 2,888 people over the age of 45 (with a median age of 62) for stroke risks and 1,484 people over the age of 60 (with a median age of 69) for risk of dementia. After adjustments were made for age, sex, education, caloric intake, diet, exercise, and smoking, they found that diet soda drinks “were associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.” (The study cites correlation rather than causation.)

Diet soda sales have tumbled as consumers, turned off by studies on artificial sweeteners, have switched to bottled water, teas and energy drinks, instead. And this not the first study that has made a connection between diet soda to other serious medical issues. Several recent studies have linked diet soda and cardiovascular disease and showed a correlation (if not a causation) between cancer and aspartame. The beverage industry says people who are overweight and already at risk for heart disease may consume more diet drinks in an attempt to control their weight and the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that artificial sweeteners are safe.

The beverage industry highlights the safety of artificial sweeteners. “Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies,” Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, told MarketWatch, on behalf of industry, including Coca-Cola KO, -0.05%  and PepsiCo PEP, -0.14%Research shows that diet soda can be a useful tool as part of a weight management plan, she added. “According to the National Institutes of Health, the likelihood of developing stroke and dementia are related to age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics,” she said.

Americans now drink more bottled water than diet soda or traditional soda. Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. hit 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons, marking the first time that soda was knocked off the top spot, according to data from industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp. But soda is still more expensive, racking up $39.5 billion in retail sales versus $21.3 billion for water, industry research group Euromonitor found. “In 2016, bottled water overtook carbonates to become the leading soft drinks category in off-trade volume terms, an astonishing milestone a decade in the making,” Euromonitor concluded.

There has also been a backlash against sugary drinks. Soda and sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 deaths among adults every year, a 2015 study by researchers at Tufts University published in the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Circulation. The study analyzed consumption patterns from 611,971 individuals between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries. Sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately 133,000 deaths from diabetes 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease 6,450 deaths from cancer, it concluded. (The American Beverage Association published a lengthy rebuttal.)

Via: Why drinking all those diet sodas may come back to haunt you later in life 

Bottled water & why you should avoid it

Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. hit 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons.

U.S. consumers spent $21 billion on bottled water last year

Americans now drink more bottled water than soda but, with Earth Day on April 22, some environmentalists say it’s worth highlighting there’s a hidden cost to buying all those plastic bottles.

Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. hit 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons, marking the first time that soda was knocked off the top spot, according to data from industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp. But soda is still more expensive, racking up $39.5 billion in retail sales versus $21.3 billion for water, industry research group Euromonitor found. “In 2016, bottled water overtook carbonates to become the leading soft drinks category in off-trade volume terms, an astonishing milestone a decade in the making,” it said.

While the fizzy soda category has experienced an annual volume sales decline since 2003, bottled water grew every year over the last two decades, except 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession, driven by consumer concerns about the effects of artificial sweeteners and sugar.

While the fizzy soda category has experienced an annual volume sales decline since 2003, bottled water grew every year over the last two decades, except 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession, driven by consumer concerns about the effects of artificial sweeteners and sugar. Bottled water also had another unexpected boost aside from skittishness over sodas. Scares over possible water contamination have helped boost demand for bottled water over the last few decades, experts say.

More than one-quarter of bottled water revenue last year was shared by the soda giants Coca-Cola Co. KO, -0.05% and PepsiCo PEP, -0.14% which sell Dasani and Aquafina respectively. In the four decades since the launch of Perrier water in the U.S., consumption of bottled water surged 2,700%, from 354 million gallons in 1976 to 11.7 billion gallons in 2015, according to the International Bottled Water Association.

And not all European bottled water is always free of chemicals, according to studies of European bottled waters carried out in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France — one published in 2011 and the other in 2013 — by the Goethe University Frankfurt’s Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology. Among the main compounds Wagner found: Endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, which can act like hormones in the body and have been linked to diabetes, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. (Representatives from the bottled water industry contend that the origin of these EDCs were likely environmental rather than from a packaging material.)

Plastic soda and water bottles are also clogging up landfills and floating as vast vortices on the world’s oceans. What’s more, consumers can purify their own tap water for a fraction of the cost of a $2 bottle of water or soda.

Plastic soda and water bottles are also clogging up landfills and floating as vast vortices on the world’s oceans, studies suggest. Americans discard around 33.6 million tons of plastic each year, but only 6.5% of that recycled and 7.7% is combusted in waste-to-energy facilities, according to Columbia University’s Earth Center. The U.S. was recently ranked 20th among 192 countries that could have contributed to plastic waste in the oceans, according to a 2015 study led by Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia and published in the academic journal Science.

The industry disagrees. Bottled water containers are 100% recyclable, an International Bottled Water Association spokeswoman said. “The most recent recycling rate for bottled water containers is 35.4% and, of all the drink packaging that is mismanaged, bottled water containers make up just 3.3%,” she said. (Glass containers make up over 66%, soda containers make up more than 13%, and aluminum cans make up nearly 8%, she said. Read more here.)

What’s more, polyethylene terephthalate or PET, plastic bottled water bottles already use less plastic than any other packaged beverage, the International Bottled Water Association spokeswoman added. Between 2000 and 2014, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (half-liter) PET plastic bottled water container declined 51%, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. Another 2015 study estimated that the accumulated number of “microplastic” particles in 2014 weighed between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons, which is only 1% of global plastic waste estimated to enter the ocean in one year. (Consumers can also purify their own tap water for a fraction of the cost of a $2 bottle of water or soda. Prices start at $5.)

Amid this environmental debate, bottled water has come into its own precisely because of environmental problems elsewhere. Some 700,000 Californians may have been exposed to contaminated water, the California’s Water Resources Control Board recently said. And in Toledo, Ohio in 2014, the Ohio National Guard distributed bottled water to residents due to contaminated water there. A federal state of emergency was declared in Flint, Mich. in January 2016 and residents were told to use bottled water for both drinking and bathing due to faulty and old lead pipes.

But there is some irony for people who believe bottled water is spring water, sourced from some Alpine mountain peak or green meadow: Some 45% of bottled water brands are sourced from the municipal water supply — the same source as what comes out of the tap, according to Peter Gleick, a scientist and author of “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water.”

Those within the industry, however, say that does not mean it’s the same as tap water. The spokeswoman for the International Bottled Water Association says purified and spring water must meet Food & Drug Administration quality standards. “When a public water system is used as a source for making purified bottled water, several processes are employed to ensure that it meets comprehensive U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations,” she says. “These treatments can include ozonation, filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation or de-ionization. The finished water product is then placed in a bottle under sanitary conditions and sold to the consumer.”

(Dasani and Aquafina use a public water source, but both companies say the water is filtered for purity using a “state-of-the-art” process.) And, as the industry expands, more bottled waters are available with different flavors, carbonation and vitamins.

And the alternative seems far worse. Soda and sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 deaths each year among adults from diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses, according to a landmark 2015 study by researchers at Tufts University published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The study analyzed consumption patterns from 611,971 individuals between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries. (The American Beverage Association published a lengthy rebuttal: “The authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.”)

But sugar-shy consumers are shying away from diet soda too. Several recent studies have linked diet soda and cardiovascular disease and showed a correlation (if not a causation) between cancer and aspartame and, on last week, another study argued that diet soda is correlated to dementia and strokes in older people. The American Beverage Association also rejects those studies, highlighting the difference between “correlation” and “causation,” and says people who are overweight and already at risk for heart disease may consume more diet drinks in an attempt to control their weight and the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that artificial sweeteners are safe.

Last year, Pepsi announced that it will sell Diet Pepsi with both aspartame, the diet sweetener typically used in sweeteners like Equal, and sucralose, used in Splenda. Unlike bottled water, however, they’re both artificial.

Via: Bottled water is now more popular than soda — why you should avoid both