Category Archives: Health & fitness

Health & fitness

This Mesmerizing Hair Dye Changes Color With Heat 

One hair color isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion hair colors.

OK, so it’s not quite one billion hair colors. But Pravana, the haircare company behind the Blonde Wand hair iron, just broke the internet with the promise of a magical hair dye that changes color when heat is applied.

The brand posted a series of Instagram photos Tuesday that show the hair color in action. In one, purple hair turns pink right before your eyes. In another, a pink, yellow and blue ‘do turns a gorgeous shade of blue-green. Basically, it looks like having the coolest mood ring ever, but for your hair.

The concept of color-changing hair dye made waves recently. In a series of short films released during London Fashion Week, U.K. brand The Unseen debuted a dye called Fire that is “responsive to the wearer’s environment, changing color based on temperature fluctuations.” An automated e-mail response from The Unseen said the company is working toward a release date.

Pravana, meanwhile, teased its colorful Instagrams with the hashtag #STAYTUNED, and we’ve reached out for more information on possible dates and pricing. But whichever product comes first, it looks like the trippy, mind-blowing hair of our dreams might actually be a reality someday soon.

It’s not clear from the videos how long a color lasts once heat is applied. If nothing else, though, it sure makes for some compelling Instagram fodder.

Via: This Mesmerizing Hair Dye Changes Color With Heat

Misty Copeland; Why Emotional Strength Is Beauty Secret

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Misty Copeland has a pretty straightforward message for all the magazine cover women who claim “water and sleep” are the secrets to their beauty and health: “Shut up!”

In her new book, Ballerina Body, published by Grand Central Life & Style on March 21, Copeland discusses the lifelong habits ― both physical and mental ― that have helped her achieve the body of a ballerina. And while she hardly denounces the benefits of water and sleep, she’s quick to correct anyone who claims those two simple necessities are sufficient beauty “secrets.”

In fact, in a segment with CBS This Morning, the American Ballet Theater icon, who made history in 2015 when she became the company’s first black female principal dancer, explained why mental discipline and emotional strength are just as crucial to her health as drinking water, sleeping, and any other aspects of her extremely disciplined dieting and exercise regimes.

“Performing live, just dealing with all of the pressure and what it is to be in a competitive field ―  I think it’s so important to be mentally and emotionally prepared and strong,” she told CBS. “I think every woman, every person can relate to that. It’s not just about being physically strong, it’s about believing in yourself.”

Ballerina Body is Copeland’s first health and fitness book, which provides step-by-step advice, meal plans and workout routines for women looking to emulate Copeland’s fitness regimen. The book, Copeland says, is geared to anyone and everyone (though the introduction singles out women) who wants to enact the kind of long-term change she embarked upon to achieve her physique.

Copeland’s figure does not reflect the centuries-old ballerina ideal: impossibly long, lean and white. And she acknowledges this, and how her presence as an acclaimed ballerina has subsequently helped reshape the image of a dancer onstage. “It’s no longer about looking childlike and brittle,” she writes. “We are real women and ballerinas, and we, as well as those who aspire to a similar physical ideal, want to be lean but also muscular, feminine but also strong, lithe but also curvaceous.”

While her form doesn’t necessarily adhere to outdated conventions, Copeland’s body is still nothing short of exceptional, requiring diligent exercise and self-control. But, aside from the book’s emphases on sculpting “toned derrières” and “crystal-cut curves,” Copeland focuses on the mindful attitudes necessary for success, too. The first section of her book is aptly devoted to topics related to the “Mind,” and outlines how Copeland herself built up the emotional strength necessary for her career longevity.

“It took me my entire career, I think, to really understand how to take care of my body,” she told CBS. “To respect it. To understand that I’m an athlete and that it’s a long journey of figuring these things out. That it’s about creating your own version of a healthy image ― of a ballerina body.”

GRAND CENTRAL LIFE STYLE

Ballerina Body is available on Amazon or at your local bookstore

Via: Misty Copeland Explains Why Emotional Strength Is Her Beauty Secret

How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines The Shape Of Your Nose 

DP3010 VIA GETTY IMAGES

Whether your nose is long and narrow or short and wide, you may have your ancestors’ climate to thank.

New anthropological research finds that nose shape is formed through a process of natural selection responding to the temperature and humidity of the local environment.

For the study, published online last week in the journal PLOS Genetics, researchers from Ireland, Belgium and the U.S. used 3D facial imaging to collect nose measurements on nearly 500 participants of South Asian, East Asian, West African and Northern European descent.

The researchers analyzed specific measures including nose height, nostril width, distance between nostrils, protrusion and total surface area of the nose and nostrils. Then, they compared these measurements with local temperatures and humidity in various geographical regions. The findings revealed that nostril width was strongly linked with climate. Wider nostrils were found in more hot and humid areas, and narrower noses were more common in cold and dry areas.

This makes sense, considering that one of the central functions of the nose is to filter and condition inhaled air before it reaches the lower respiratory tract. Air should be warm and moist when it enters the body, and a narrower nose can more effectively condition cold, dry air in this manner. Therefore, people in colder climates who had narrower nose would be more likely to survive and reproduce than those with wider nostrils. So, among peoples living further from the equator, evolution would favor narrower noses.

The findings add heft to a theorum developed in the 1800s known as “Thompson’s rule,” which suggests that long, narrow noses occurred in colder areas, while short, wide noses were more likely found in hot, humid areas.

“The link between nose shape and climate has been suspected for a long time and the correlation between nose shape and climate has been shown before, several times but using the shape of the human skull,” the study’s lead author, Penn State anthropologist and population geneticist Mark Shriver, told The Huffington Post. “We have expanded on this body of evidence by studying the variation in the external nose and the underlying genetic variation, both of which have not been examined so far because of methodological challenges.”

It can be tough to determine whether these types of effect are the result of randomly occurring processes of genetic change ― what scientists know as “genetic drift” ― or if they’re caused, instead, by natural selection. But the differences that the researchers observed were much greater than what could be explained by random variation alone, suggesting that “survival of the fittest” played an important role.

“The nose is related to climate to a degree that is greater that chance evolutionary forces would determine alone, but not as much as skin color,” Shriver said. “And not all the variation in noses across populations is due to climate.”

Sexual selection may factor in, too, with people choosing potential partners because they find a smaller or larger nose to be more attractive. There’s a good chance that our ideas about what’s beautiful are informed by how well-suited a particular nose is to its environment, the researchers noted.

The implications of the findings extend beyond improving our understanding of why our noses look the way they do. Anthropologists have studied how features like hair color, skin color and face shape evolved differently across cultures and geographic regions in order to better understand how disease risk varies cross-culturally ― shedding light on why conditions like sickle-cell anemia and lactose intolerance occur at wildly different rates in different demographic groups.

Via: How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines The Shape Of Your Nose

Moves That Make You Feel 10 Years Younger

  • Chin Tuck/Upper Trap Stretch/Shoulder Circles
    Adam Bell
    What it does:This sequence releases tightness in the back of your neck, your shoulders, and the muscles that connect your shoulders to the base of your skull. Not only do these areas get tighter with age, but sitting all day (especially when you’re slumped forward) speeds up that process, says Mary Ann Wilmarth, a certified physical therapist and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association.

    How to do it: While you’re sitting in a chair with good posture (shoulders back and down), slide your head back like you’re trying to give yourself a double chin. Keep your head there, hold onto the side of the chair with your right hand and tilt your head toward your left shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides. Finally, with your chin still tucked, do 5 to 10 backwards shoulder circles. Repeat the sequence 3 to 5 times throughout the day.

  • Cat & Cow/Child’s Pose/Bird Dog/Plank
    Adam Bell
    What it does: Stretches out your lower back and strengthens the muscles in your back and core, which get weaker as we get older. Stronger, more-flexible back muscles will help you maintain better posture, says Wilmarth, “which immediately helps you feel younger.”

    How to do it: Start in a tabletop position on the ground and squeeze your abs to round your back up toward the sky. Hold for a second, then let gravity pull your stomach toward the floor so your back is arched. Repeat that 5 to 10 times, then sink back into child’s pose, keeping your arms outstretched on the ground in front of you and trying to get your forehead and stomach to touch the ground. Hold for 15 seconds. Rise back up into tabletop position and lift your right arm out in front of you and your left leg behind you at the same time, hold for 5 seconds, then switch arms and legs and repeat for a total of 10 reps. Finally, get into a forearm plank position, keeping a straight line from your shoulders to your feet, and hold for 30 seconds.

  • Hip Flexor/Hamstring/Glute Stretches
    Adam Bell
    What it does:Focuses on tightness in your hip flexors, your hamstrings and your glutes, which all get tighter and weaker with time (especially if you spend a lot of that time sitting).

    How to do it:Find a table that’s about hip height (if that’s too high for you, it’s fine to use a lower surface, like a chair, at first). Place your right foot on top of it and, keeping your left foot on the ground and left leg straight, bend your right knee and lean in toward your right knee, keeping your back straight as you do it. You should feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides. Next, grab a chair and place your right foot on the seat. Flex your right foot, keep both legs straight and stick your butt out behind you as you hinge forward from the hip and keep your back straight, folding your torso over your right leg until you feel a stretch in your right hamstring. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs. Finally, sit on the chair and place your right ankle just above your left knee, with your left foot still on the ground. Let your right knee drop toward the ground, feeling the stretch in your right glute. (You can gently press on your right knee with your hand to deepen the stretch). Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs.

  • Glute Bridge
    Adam Bell
    What it does:Some of the most noticeable age-related declines in strength happen in the muscles that propel us forward, like the glutes, says Kyle Stull, senior master trainer and faculty instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In addition to building strength in the glutes, this move also works your core muscles, so you can maintain good posture and balance.

    How to do it: Lie on the ground, hands at your sides, feet on the ground and knees bent at 90-degree angles. Squeeze your core and your glutes to lift your hips toward the ceiling. Try to get them high enough so there’s a straight line from your chest to your knees. Hold for 5 seconds, bring your hips back to the floor (still squeezing your core and glutes), and repeat for 12 reps, then do two more sets.

  • Standing Wall Slide
    Adam Bell
    What it does:This works on strength and flexibility in your shoulder muscles.

    How to do it:Stand against a wall, with your glutes and the back of your head touching the wall. Keep your arms at your sides as you press the back of your hands and arms against the wall. Maintain that pressure as you slide your arms out wide and up over your head. Bring your arms back down, and repeat for 12 reps, then do two more sets.

  • Squat to Triple Extension
    Adam Bell
    What it does:Works your quads, glutes and calves, the muscles that help you slow down. “Being unable to decelerate is one of the top causes of injury as we age,” says Skull.

    How to do it:Stand with your feet hip width apart and toes pointing forward. Lower down 1/3 or 1/4 of the way into a squat, then drive up out of the squat and up onto your toes, like you’re doing a calf raise. Instead of holding at the top, immediately drop back down into your squat, hold it for a few seconds, then repeat, for 8 to 10 reps total.

  • Squat and Row
    Adam Bell
    What it does: It strengths the glutes/quads/hamstrings and all of the muscles in your back.

    How to do it:Grab the handles of a cable machine, with the cables attached at the bottom of the machine, and step back a few feet. (If you don’t have access to a cable machine at your gym, you can secure a resistance band around the base of a sturdy piece of furniture at home.) Stand with your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead. Extend your arms out in front of you (there should be no slack in the cable or resistance band), shift your hips back and lower down into a half-squat. Press through your heels to come back to standing as you pull the cables toward your rib cage. Do up to 3 sets of 12 reps.

  • Standing Row
    Adam Bell
    What it does:Focuses on your back again, and here’s why: Those muscles are some of the first to lose strength with age, says Stull, and the more back-focused moves you do, the more you’ll be able to prevent or counteract that decline.

    How to do it:Using a cable machine with the cables attached at shoulder height (again, if you don’t have a cable machine handy, secure a resistance band around some sturdy furniture), face the machine, hold the cable handles and step back a few feet, keeping your feet wider than hip width apart. Squeeze your abs and pull the bands by bringing your shoulder blades together, then pulling with your arms. Return to starting position. Do up to 3 sets of 12 reps.

Via: 8 Moves That Make You Feel 10 Years Younger 

What It Took Me Far Too Long To Realize About Loneliness 

DANIEL HASKETT/GETTY IMAGES

My first night living without my wife, I used the summer heat as an excuse not to leave the apartment. That one night turned into two, then three, until finally an entire week had passed, and I’d only left my apartment to go to work and then head back, my co-workers and strangers on the street the only people I had had any real contact with. By the next week, I told myself I’d try to fight against the loneliness, but I knew deep down that this wasn’t new behavior for me.

I’ve dealt with depression for most of my life. But it had been a long, long time since I’d been truly isolated, nobody there when I got home or waiting in the next room. As a kid, I got used to being lonely, moving between my parents’ houses during their divorce, trying to figure out a way to fit into yet another school. Later, when I was a teenager, after my mother moved away to another state, I spent the bulk of my high school life sleeping in strangers’ houses, on their floors, in their basements and spare, forgotten rooms. That feeling is always there; it’s just pushed deep into the back of my head. Even now, when I’m in a room filled with friends, I still can sense it, some hint of loneliness that I can’t quite place. I think we all feel similarly from time to time, but my way of dealing with it was to try to ignore it and attempt to act like I was fine.

In fact, I thought I’d forgotten about what it felt like to really be alone until my wife left to pursue her doctorate over three hours away. The distance in miles or minutes wasn’t that much, but it was still enough that we’d only see each other on the weekends and during breaks. She needed to be in one place for her career, and I couldn’t move without giving up my job, which helped to support us both. It would be fine, we agreed. Couples live separately all the time.

Then, that first night after I dropped her off more than 100 miles away from our apartment, I drove home. Our small apartment—a dream home to me after so many moves during childhood—suddenly felt so big and empty. All the books on the shelf and pictures on the wall were mine to take care of while she was away. Our newly framed wedding photos sat on the floor, and instead of putting them up on the wall like I promised, I just stared at them. I sat in the chair by the window. I picked a book off the shelf, telling myself maybe I should read something to help put my mind in a different place. I opened the book, a thing I’ve found solace in countless times before in my life, but nothing. I turned on the TV, but that didn’t help either. The lonely feeling had set in: that damp, dark hopelessness that kept telling me, even if I knew better, that I never really had anyone to count on, that there was something wrong with me or different about me.

After a few days of this, I decided I needed to be around people, that cooping myself up wasn’t helping. I walked to the bar down the street, ordered a drink from the bartender whom I’d gotten to know, and sat there just looking at it. I was drinking alone, I thought to myself. Sometimes I enjoyed going and getting a quiet beer on my own before returning home to my apartment, back to a space alive with the sound of my partner’s voice and her energy, but tonight I was drinking because it felt like I didn’t have anybody else.

I cut myself off after that. Drinking alone was one thing; getting drunk because I was lonely probably wasn’t going to fix things. I paid, walked back to my empty apartment and sat with the quiet until I fell asleep on my couch.

A few days later at work, I slogged through my normal morning routine of wading through spam that clogged up my in-box overnight—most of it emails that I’d never read. There was one subject line that piqued my interest, however: “Jason, don’t you just want to be alone?”

It felt like a weird sign, so instead of answering “no” out loud to an email, I clicked it.

“Jason,” the email started out in one font but turned into another, a sign that I was part of a bad spam list and not in line for some sort of weird divine interruption. “Don’t you just love to be alone? Wouldn’t you love your man cave to be the best man cave for you to do your thing without anybody bothering you?”

I sent it to the trash without looking at what it was trying to sell me or get me to read, but after I did that, I sat there thinking how we’re all told that being on your own is okay. We have the internet to connect us to people all across the globe, and that’s supposed to be just as good as human interaction. Right? And for men, who are taught from an early age that we’re supposed to want to be alone, being a loner somehow plays into these ideas of masculinity we’ve built up. We’re led to believe we’re supposed to be cowboys, mavericks, soldiers; we’re supposed to be tough. What we’re not told is that alone means closed off, and being closed off can lead to some dark places no matter how much we want to hold up this idea of the rugged dude on his own.

I started to think about it even more. Do men really enjoy being alone? Am I weird for longing for connection? Most of my friends are women, and I’ve heard plenty of them openly admit to often feeling lonely, in private conversations and also publicly on social media, but I have a hard time recalling a guy friend doing that. I know loneliness isn’t exclusive to a gender, but the way certain people are taught early on to confront it might be.

I thought about that before my wife and I FaceTimed each other. It was our new nightly ritual. Instead of a kiss good night, we talked on our phones for a little while, digitally face-to-face. It wasn’t the same as having her there, but it was something, and I enjoyed catching up and talking together about our days apart. But I wanted to make sure this new chapter in our lives was going to be different. When she asked me how I felt about the distance between us, I considered saying nothing. She was getting used to her new school, adjusting in her own ways and trying to succeed. But I decided to be honest.

“I feel pretty lonely,” I told her, worried that I was doing the wrong thing. She’d just started school; maybe I was throwing her off. Instinctively, I followed up, “But I’ll be fine. It’s a big adjustment.”

There was a pause.

“I’m also lonely,” she told me, “but we’ll be fine.”

And just like that, I started to realize I really wasn’t as alone as I felt. I even wondered what would have happened in the past if I had reached out to someone—a teacher or a friend or even another guy who might have been in the same situation—and made that tiny, totally mind-changing shift from me to we.

NBSP

Via: What It Took Me Far Too Long To Realize About Loneliness 

Signs Of A Nervous Breakdown 

By Rosie McCall

I’m having a nervous breakdown. You may utter this (or at least think it) when you’re overwrought and ready to snap. But what is a nervous breakdown, exactly? And what should you do when you feel like you’re about to fall apart?

It turns out “nervous breakdown” isn’t a clinical term. And it’s not considered a mental illness, says Erin Engle, PsyD, assistant professor of medical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious issue. “[A nervous breakdown] is a situation in which a person cannot function normally because of overwhelming stress,” Engle says.

That stressor can be anything from a bad break-up or money issues to grief or psychological burnout. The symptoms will vary from person to person. “Our bodies and minds respond to stress in different ways,” Engle explains. But here are a few typical signs of a nervous breakdown:

Symptoms of anxiety and depression

“Anxiety and depression are common, common reactions [to stress],” says Engle. “Where you get into problems is when that stressor is ongoing and persistent, and the person’s coping resources are overwhelmed.” If you’re headed for a nervous breakdown, you might feel weepy, or even experience episodes of uncontrollable crying, says Engle. Some people suddenly struggle with self-esteem and confidence. “Feeling guilt is a big one,” she adds.

Sleeping too much, or not enough

A change in your sleep habits is another warning sign, says Engle. “Some people find that they go into sleep overdrive,” she says. “Sleep becomes an escape.” Others may develop insomnia because their brain is in overdrive. They may lay awake at night ruminating, she says, “mentally rehearsing situations over and over again that have no solution.”

Fatigue

Extreme tiredness could also be a clue you’re stressed to the max. You might even feel weakness in your body, Engle says. Activities you previously handled with ease may become increasingly difficult. And things that used to bring you joy may lose their appeal. That includes sex, Engle adds. Loss of libido is commonly linked to stress.

Changes in appetite

“Maybe you’re not eating, or conversely, you might be overeating,” says Engle. The stress hormone cortisol can trigger cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. What’s more, when you’re in the middle of a breakdown, you may be less motivated to prep healthy meals. “There’s less ability to care for oneself in the way one typically would,” says Engle.

Physical pain

Think headaches, or stomachaches. “For some people there might be a GI component,” says Engle, such as diarrhea or constipation. It’s no secret stress can do a number on your gut. It’s known to cause a variety of problems with digestion.

Brain fog

Are you having trouble concentrating? Or just feel like you’re not thinking clearly? There are often cognitive symptoms with a nervous breakdown, says Engle, which might include anything from difficulty with problem-solving and indecisiveness to a sense of disorientation and memory loss.

Trouble breathing

Keep an eye out for classic signs of anxiety too, such as tightness in your chest and rapid breathing. Taking quick, shallow breaths can ramp up the body’s stress response even more. A breathing exercise designed to slow down your breath can provide fast relief. But if you experience trouble breathing on a regular basis, it’s important to address the root of the problem.

Ok, so you might be having a breakdown. What next?

Now is the time to prioritize self-care. Engage in healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. (Maybe exercise helps you blow off steam, for example, or your favorite hobby helps you unwind.) Talk with family members or friends you trust. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help: “I always encourage someone to seek out the chance to speak with, or meet with, either a therapist, a psychologist or a social worker — but a licensed mental health professional,” Engle says. “Going to get help is one of the most important things you can do.”

Now is the time to prioritize self-care. Engage in healthy coping mechanisms that work for you.

Via: Signs Of A Nervous Breakdown 

Bottled water overtakes soda, why you should avoid both

 U.S. consumers spent $21 billion on bottled water last year
Getty Images
Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. hit 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons.

Americans now drink more bottled water than 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,” it said.

While the fizzy soda drinks companies have 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.

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.

More than one-quarter of bottled water revenue last year was shared by the soda giants Coca-Cola Co. KO, +0.62% and PepsiCo PEP, +0.52% 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.

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.

Some 700,000 Californians may be exposed to contaminated water, according to California’s Water Resources Control Board. 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 what people don’t know: When they buy bottled water, they are often times drinking the same water that comes out of the tap. “The general public thinks bottled water is going to be safer and cleaner than tap water,” says Mae Wu, attorney in the health program at National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “For the most part, that’s not true.”

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 say that doesn’t mean it’s the same as tap water. A spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association says purified and spring water must meet Food & Drug Administration quality standards. (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.

Bottled water is not without 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. (The International Bottled Water Association said the origin of these EDCs may have been 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. 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.

Another 2015 study estimated that the accumulated number of microplastic particles in 2014 weighed between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons, which is only 1% of global plastic waste estimated to enter the ocean in one year. What’s more, consumers can purify their own tap water for a fraction of the cost of a $2 bottle of water or soda. (Prices start at $5.)

Still, 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. 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.

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 overtakes soda as America’s No. 1 drink — why you should avoid both