Kool-Aid For The Environment; Kool-Aid For Health

For many Americans the word “Kool-aid” brings to mind pleasant memories of long, hot summer days and fun backyard barbecues. A pitcher, a packet, and some sugar yields a satisfying beverage treat for a whole patio full of people. The drink mix originated during the Depression years of the 1930s and today’s consumers have rediscovered it for its value and its benefits to the ecology and general health.

Kool-aid is an Economical Soft Drink choice

The packets of Kool-aid come in a wide array of flavors and generally sell three for a dollar. Each packet yields two quarts of beverage. In contrast, a two-liter bottle of store brand soda checks in at well above a dollar, with an added return value in many states. The cost of sugar to sweeten Kool-aid adds a nickel to the price per envelope cost.

Find interesting facts about Kool-aid history and its inventor Edwin Perkins in the Hastings Museum.

Beyond the obvious costs at the checkout register, there is the cost of refrigeration for soda bottles. True, they can be stored warm in a cabinet and then served in glasses with ice cubes, but they still take up much more space than the small, thin packets.

The True Costs of Plastic bottled and Aluminum Canned Beverages

The production of a bottled or canned soft drink is a resource-intensive process. Energy and raw materials are needed for the PET plastic used for the bottles and the aluminum for the cans. These mountains of beverage pallets must be warehoused and then loaded onto gasoline guzzling trucks for retail delivery. For the plastic bottles the oil needed to produce them packs a double whammy.

A single plastic bottle or aluminum can added to the waste stream may not seem like such a burden but over the past few decades, billions and billions of them have brought dire consequences. They clog landfills and contribute to a massive garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (Good Morning America featured the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch in a recent video feature).

Healthwise, Kool-aid Makes Sense

Beyond hydration, the typical can/bottle of soda or sport drink offers virtually no health benefits. Many contain forty-two grams of sugar in a twelve ounce serving. This is equal to fourteen packets of restaurant style sugar. And no, the sugar in sodas and other drinks does not come from a cane. Since the late 1970s beverages have been sweetened with a compound known as high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. This chemical derives from processed and distilled corn husks, and as study after study has shown, plays havoc with glucose levels and metabolic rates.

With Kool-aid, the consumer can control both the type and the amount of sweetener. The package directions call for one cup of sugar to yield two quarts of beverage but of course this can be lessened. Even the lowest-priced, bargain aisle package of white cane sugar is better than HFCS, but raw cane sugar offers an even more natural sweetener. Finally, Kool-aid as produced does provide the ten percent recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. Clever consumers have even added other vitamins to their preparations.

You may check: Genetic Markers For Heart Disease: Why Genetic Factors May Increase Heart Attack Risk.

Kool-aid: Now more than Ever

Edwin Perkins originally named his creation “Fruit Smack” and shipped the product in small glass bottles.

Problems with breakage led him to dehydrate the mixture and ship it in the packet form which has lasted for seventy-five years. Kool-aid makes fun beverage consumption a process of reuse and renewal since washable pitchers and glasses are used. As green consciousness and health concerns escalate, Mr. Perkins’ relatives have seen his humble product enjoy a renaissance.

Genetic Markers For Heart Disease: Why Genetic Factors May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Heart disease is caused by a variety of factors. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity also increase the risk of heart disease. There are also some genetic factors that may predispose individuals towards heart disease.

LDL Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Varying factors associated with cholesterol, including the presence of lipoprotein(a), (a specialized form of LDL), low LDL (levels below 30 mg/dl) and small LDL (smaller particles of LDL that can more easily penetrate arterial walls) are all genetically-influenced factors that can contribute to heart disease. LDL stands for low density lipoprotein and is a protein responsible for transporting substances to cells. It can build up in the walls of blood vessels and eventually block arteries.

Read More: Simple Diet Changes For Greater Weight Loss Results.

HDL Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Variations in a gene called PON1 may be responsible for either high or low levels of HDL, or “good cholesterol.” HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. High levels of HDL can help protect against heart disease. Genetic factors may predetermine an individual’s levels of PON1 and therefore may be indicative of heart disease risk or conversely, of a more protective level of PON1.

Genes and Heart Disease

Scientists have discovered gene sites that appear to affect the likelihood of heart disease. According to the journal Nature Genetics, nine specific genes are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. While more research is needed regarding how these specific genes influence heart disease, individuals who carry these genetic markers may wish to work closely with their doctors. Speak with a doctor regarding any questions.

Considerations About Traditional Markers for Heart Disease

According to a January 2010 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Association Between a Literature-Based Genetic Risk Score and Cardiovascular Events in Women,” traditional methods of determining heart disease risk, including lifestyle and family history, were more accurate at predicting heart disease than genetic markers. Patients with genetic markers should continue to work with their doctors to create a health plan but knowledge of genetic influences is not enough to predict heart disease risk or rule out the possibility of future heart disease.

Heart Disease and Genetic Factors

Scientists have recently discovered nine specific genetic markers that may predispose certain individuals towards a higher risk of heart disease. These factors, in combination with other factors such as family history, lifestyle and body weight, may make it more likely that some individuals will develop heart disease. To find out if you possess these genetic markers, speak with your doctor about testing.