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Carbonated Sugary Drinks May Cause Strokes in Women

Carbonated Sugary Drinks May Cause Strokes in Women

The newest study proves a connection between strokes and fizzy drinks

Even just one fizzy, sugary drink per day may be enough to dramatically increase your risk of stroke, ladies — by about 80 percent.

That's what the newest research from Osaka University says, reports the Daily Mail. Researchers tracked more than 40,000 men and women over an 18-year period, and 2,000 of the participants had a stroke. They closely examined the drinking habits of those who had a stroke, and compared them to those who did not. The research claims that daily consumption of fizzy drinks may up the chances of a blood clot on the brain, which causes an ischaemic stroke, by about 80 percent.

What's interesting is that men in the study did not have the same results; it was the women who drank fizzy drinks that had an increased risk of stroke. But previous U.S. research shows that sugary drink consumption can up the risk factor of stroke for both men and women.

Negative Effects of Sugar-Free Carbonated Drinks

If you can't seem to get through the day without your favorite sugar-free beverage, it may be time to make some changes to your drinking habits. Sugar-free carbonated drinks, including diet sodas and sugar-free flavored sparkling water, may cause problems ranging from headaches to increased risk of developing diabetes. Even though these sugar-beverages contain fewer calories than traditional sugar-sweetened drinks, consuming them may contribute to weight gain.

Eat Whole, Mostly Plant-Based Foods and Lots of Veggies

Whole foods are those that are in as close to their natural state as possible once they reach your plate. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, rice, and fish are all good examples of whole foods, says Freeman, who adds that when choosing vegetables, opt for more leafy greens, asparagus, peppers, onions, carrots, brussels sprouts, and other non-starchy vegetables over potatoes and corn. He also says to be careful of what kinds of toppings you put on vegetables.

“If you are going to eat salads and cover them in bacon and blue cheese, that negates their health benefits,” says Feeman. Instead, try adding vinegars to salads, including balsamic, and consider adding nuts or seeds to keep a meal of leafy greens healthy.

Could diet soda raise a woman's stroke risk?

Older women, beware: New research warns that drinking a lot of diet sodas or artificially sweetened fruit juices may increase your risk for stroke .

In a study that tracked nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women, those who drank two or more diet drinks per day saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23 percent, compared with those who consumed diet drinks less than once a week.

Blocked arteries were often the main culprit, with heavy diet drink consumption linked to a 31 percent greater risk for an ischemic stroke, which is triggered by a clot, the study findings showed.

Study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani acknowledged that an "association does not imply causation." But she stressed that the findings held up even after taking into account the nutritional value of each participant's overall diet.

So, "we can't assume these diet drinks are harmless, particularly when consumed at high levels," Mossavar-Rahmani said.

"The take-home message is that these findings give us pause," she added. "We need to do more research on why we are seeing these associations. What are the scientific mechanisms? Is there something about the artificial sweeteners , for example, that affect the bacteria in the gut and lead to health issues?"

Mossavar-Rahmani is an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and population health's division of health promotion and nutrition research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City.

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The study authors pointed out that the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently underscored the lack of sufficient research into the cardiovascular impact of diet sodas. Until more work is done, the AHA says the jury remains out on whether artificially sweetened beverages do or do not hasten heart disease .

Women in the latest study were between 50 and 79 when they first enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative trial between 1993 and 1998.

Investigators tracked the general health of all the enrollees for an average of nearly 12 years. During that time &mdash at the three-year mark &mdash all the women were asked to indicate how frequently they consumed diet sodas and diet fruit drinks over a three-month period.

The researchers did not take note of which brands of artificially sweetened drinks the women drank, and so did not know which artificial sweeteners were being consumed.

That said, nearly two-thirds of the women consumed diet sodas or drinks very infrequently, meaning less than once a week or never. Only about 5 percent were found to be "heavy" consumers of artificially sweetened drinks.

After taking into consideration a variety of stroke risk factors -- including blood pressure status, smoking history and age &mdash the study team concluded that heavy consumption of diet drinks did appear to be tied to cardiovascular risks in a number of ways.

For example, those women who drank two or more diet beverages a day saw their overall risk for developing heart disease increase by 29 percent. They were also 16 percent more likely to die prematurely from any cause.

Certain groups fared even worse: Among obese women and black women with no history of heart disease or diabetes , a diet drink habit pushed clot-driven stroke risk up by roughly twofold and fourfold, respectively, the researchers reported.

Whether or not the findings would apply to either men or younger women remains unclear, the study authors noted.

The findings were published online Feb. 14 in the journal Stroke.

Lona Sandon is program director of the department of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

She agreed that more research is needed to further explore a possible diet drink-heart disease connection. But for now Sandon offered simple advice: diet or regular, sodas offer no nutritional value other than calories.

"If they replace other drinks, such as milk and 100 percent fruit or vegetable drinks, then these women miss out on valuable nutrition for protecting the heart and vascular system," Sandon warned.

"The nutrition you are missing because you are drinking artificially sweetened beverages instead may be the real problem," she said.

A group representing the artificial sweetener industry offered another caveat about the findings &mdash that many women who drink diet drinks are already struggling with weight issues.

"It is likely study subjects were already at a greater health risk and chose low-calorie sweetened beverages to manage their calorie and sugar intake as these products are proven safe and beneficial for those managing their weight and blood glucose levels," said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council.

"The contribution of reverse causality, meaning that individuals already at a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular events chose low-calorie sweetened beverages, is very likely the cause of the associations presented by these researchers," the council added in a statement.

First published on February 14, 2019 / 5:10 PM

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Diet Drinks May be Associated With Strokes Among Post-Menopausal Women

DALLAS, Feb. 14, 2019 — Among post-menopausal women, drinking multiple diet drinks daily was associated with an increase in the risk of having a stroke caused by a blocked artery, especially small arteries, according to research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

This is one of the first studies to look at the association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of specific types of stroke in a large, racially diverse group of post-menopausal women. While this study identifies an association between diet drinks and stroke, it does not prove cause and effect because it was an observational study based on self-reported information about diet drink consumption.

Compared with women who consumed diet drinks less than once a week or not at all, women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day were:

  • 23 percent more likely to have a stroke
  • 31 percent more likely to have a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke
  • 29 percent more likely to develop heart disease (fatal or non-fatal heart attack) and
  • 16 percent more likely to die from any cause.

Researchers found risks were higher for certain women. Heavy intake of diet drinks, defined as two or more times daily, more than doubled stroke risk in:

  • women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 2.44 times as likely to have a common type of stroke caused by blockage of one of the very small arteries within the brain
  • obese women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 2.03 times as likely to have a clot-caused stroke and
  • African-American women without previous heart disease or diabetes, who were 3.93 times as likely to have a clot-caused stroke.

“Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet. Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease,” said Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

Researchers analyzed data on 81,714 postmenopausal women (age 50-79 years at the start) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative study that tracked health outcomes for an average of 11.9 years after they enrolled between 1993 and 1998. At their three-year evaluation, the women reported how often in the previous three months they had consumed diet drinks such as low calorie, artificially sweetened colas, sodas and fruit drinks. The data collected did not include information about the specific artificial sweetener the drinks contained.

The results were obtained after adjusting for various stroke risk factors such as age, high blood pressure, and smoking. These results in postmenopausal women may not be generalizable to men or younger women. The study is also limited by having only the women’s self-report of diet drink intake.

“We don’t know specifically what types of artificially sweetened beverages they were consuming, so we don’t know which artificial sweeteners may be harmful and which may be harmless,” Mossavar-Rahmani said.

The American Heart Association recently published a science advisory that found there was inadequate scientific research to conclude that low-calorie sweetened beverages do – or do not – alter risk factors for heart disease and stroke in young children, teens or adults. The Association recognizes diet drinks may help replace high calorie, sugary beverages, but recommends water (plain, carbonated and unsweetened flavored) as the best choice for a no calorie drink.

“Unfortunately, current research simply does not provide enough evidence to distinguish between the effects of different low-calorie sweeteners on heart and brain health. This study adds to the evidence that limiting use of diet beverages is the most prudent thing to do for your health,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition emeritus, University of Vermont and the chair of the writing group for the American Heart Association’s science advisory, Low-Calorie Sweetened Beverages and Cardiometabolic Health.

“The American Heart Association suggests water as the best choice for a no-calorie beverage. However, for some adults, diet drinks with low calorie sweeteners may be helpful as they transition to adopting water as their primary drink. Since long-term clinical trial data are not available on the effects of low-calorie sweetened drinks and cardiovascular health, given their lack of nutritional value, it may be prudent to limit their prolonged use” said Johnson.

Co-authors are Victor Kamensky, M.S. JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H. Brian Silver, M.D. Stephen R. Rapp, Ph.D. Bernhard Haring, M.D., M.P.H., Shirley A. A. Beresford, Ph.D. Linda Snetselaar, Ph.D. and Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes funded the Women’s Health Initiative and the National Institute on Aging supported this analysis.

Your Guide to Sparkling Waters

Artificially carbonated water that contains added minerals (such as sodium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate) to help enhance its flavor.

Artificially carbonated water with no added minerals, which gives it a more "pure" water taste.

Naturally carbonated water sourced from a spring or well, which contains a variety of minerals (such as sodium, magnesium and calcium).

Artificially carbonated water that contains added minerals, including quinine, which gives it a distinctive bitter taste.

Whichever type of fizzy water is your favorite, though, you're bound to wonder: Could drinking this beverage be healthier for me in any way? Good Housekeeping quizzed wellness experts about the impacts of sparkling water on your health &mdash including its effects on your digestion, teeth and bones. If you're debating whether to sip or skip a can of bubbly the next time you're craving a little fizz, here's what you should know.

Is Carbonation Bad for You?

Carbonation refers to dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating weak carbonic acid. Carbonation only adds bubbles and it does not add calories, sugar, or any caffeine. Club soda, tonic water, and mineral water are all varieties of carbonated water. However, these have sodium, sweeteners or other ingredients added to them, so it is important to read the label before purchasing. Carbonated water is refreshing and a good alternative to sugary soft drinks. However, there are concerns that it might be harmful for your health.

Is Carbonation Bad for You?

Currently, there is no evidence that carbonation is bad for health. If you like the bubbly sensation, there is no reason to give it up. There are common concerns on the carbonation of drinks.

1. Does It Affect Your PH Value?

Carbon dioxide reacts with water to produce weak carbonic acid. The PH of carbonated water is 3-4 which means it is slightly acidic. However, this will not affect body PH it keeps slightly alkaline no matter what you consume.

2. Does It Affect Dental Health?

One of the main concerns about carbonated water is its effect on teeth. Exposure of enamel to weak acids may cause corrosion. A research showed that sparkling water damages the enamel slightly when compared to normal water. However, it is a hundred times less damaging when compared to sugary soft drinks. Actually, risk of plain sparkling water to dental health is so little that it can be neglected. If you are really concerned about it, rinse your mouth after drinking carbonated water or drink it with a meal.

3. Does It Affect Digestion?

Is carbonation bad for your digestion? No. Studies show that carbonated water enhances nerves that help in swallowing. In addition, carbonated water induces a feeling of fullness than regular water. Research shows that carbonated water also relieves constipation because it evokes bowel movement.

However, if you are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, it is imperative that you reduce intake of fizzy drinks because they increase bloating of the bowel. In addition, people with ulcers, hyperacidity, or acid reflux should avoid carbonated beverages because the conditions maybe aggravated.

4. Does It Affect Heart Health?

According to recent research, subjects who drink sodium-rich carbonated water had a reduced level of low-density lipoprotein, blood sugar, and inflammatory markers. Moreover, their estimated risk of developing heart condition within ten years is 35% lower when compared to those drinking control water. But this is not carbonated plain water, so more researches need to be done.

5. Does It Affect Bone Health?

Many people believe that carbonated drinks are bad for bone health because of the acid content. However, research shows that carbonation is not to blame if you are asking "is carbonation bad for you?" Research shows that it is consuming too much phosphorus and less calcium from carbonated cola water that results in poor bone health, not carbonation itself. Some studies even show that carbonated plain water may actually improve bone health.

6. Does It Dehydrate You?

Sparkling water is hydrating just like regular water. However, carbonated water tends to make the stomach more feeling, thereby lowering your water intake. So be sure to drink eight glasses per day for proper hydration.

Is carbonation bad for you? Carbonation itself is not bad. If you like to drink carbonated water sold in shops, it is imperative that you look at the ingredients list to avoid some components such as sugar, sodium, caffeine, etc. Club soda has sodium seltzer water does not have sodium tonic water contains sweeteners and flavors and flavored sparkling water may have additional natural sweeteners or citric acid along other components such as sodium and caffeine.

8 Types of Foods Which Can Trigger Vertigo

According to estimates, between the years 2001 and 2004 approximately 69 million people in the USA greater than age 49 years suffered from vestibular dysfunction. Vestibular system is present in your brain and it helps you to maintain balance, move freely and stand in upright position. These functions are disrupted during vertigo and you feel spinning of your surroundings. Causes of vertigo are injuries, migraines, seizures and problems with inner ear. Apart from medical treatment, avoiding certain foods can also improve symptoms of vertigo.

Foods That Can Cause Vertigo

1. Salt

Salty foods including chips, pretzels, salted nuts, canned foods, soups, deli meats, pastas, sauces, baking soda, condiments, pizza, baking powder, seasonings, frozen meals, pickles, salad dressings, and cheese can all trigger vertigo. Sodium causes body fluid imbalance. It results in fluid retention in your body and leads to build up of pressure in your inner ear resulting in vertigo. Hence, a diet to prevent vertigo should have very low amount of salt. People suffering from Meniere &rsquos disease, which is major cause of vertigo, should consume only 120 mg of salt daily.

2. Sugar Substitutes and Sugar

Foods that have high sugar content such as honey, ice cream, chocolate, maple syrup, dates, jams, jellies, cream, cookies, juices, donuts, cakes, processed snacks, and candy may cause central vertigo. One of the major causes of central vertigo is deficiency of oxygen to the brain. Foods rich in sugar increase blood sugar and blood pressure, though temporarily however, in such condition, blood requires more time to reach brain. This creates a deficiency of oxygen in the brain and cause vertigo. Sugar substitutes such as aspartame may result in various diseases including vertigo.

3. Fatty Foods

Fatty foods are among the foods that can cause vertigo. Foods that have high fat content such as cheese, ice cream, shortening, mayonnaise, milk, butter, meats, eggs and other foods that are deep fried result in temporary rise in blood pressure, reducing the blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This can trigger vertigo and dizziness. Fatty foods may also result in inflammation of inner ear and the arteries leading to a similar phenomenon.

4. Foods Rich in Tyramine

Foods that are rich in amino acid tyramine include red wine, smoked meats, chicken liver, chocolate, yogurt, citrus fruits, bananas, figs, nuts and ripened cheeses. All these foods can trigger vertigo. Tyramine results in blood vessel dilatation that triggers migraine, which can lead to vertigo.

5. Alcoholic Beverages

A vital role is played by inner ear in maintaining equilibrium of the body by detecting changes in body position and motion and by sending the signals to brain. This function is disrupted by alcohol as it sends false motion signals to the brain which conflicts with inner ear signals. Due to this the body equilibrium is disrupted and vertigo is triggered.

6. Alkaline Foods

Alkaline foods are among the foods that can cause vertigo. Foods that prevent the occurrence of vertigo are foods rich in magnesium such as seeds, nuts, beans, milk of magnesia and leafy green vegetables. Conversely, consuming foods including yogurt, which have high amounts of calcium in excess results in depletion of body&rsquos levels of magnesium and lead to vertigo. Magnesium being alkaline helps in maintaining the acid-alkaline balance of the body. When this balance gets disrupted, it results in nausea, a condition which is accompanied by vertigo. Magnesium also has a role to play in circulation of blood. Due to magnesium deficiency, blood vessels get constricted resulting in slow blood circulation. This leads to insufficient oxygen supply to brain which triggers vertigo.

7. Caffeine

Tinnitus, a ringing sound in ear, which may be associated with vertigo, can be worsened by caffeine. Caffeine also dehydrates your body, thereby, creating imbalances. It may also trigger a migraine, which may cause vertigo. Hence, you should avoid caffeine.

8. Nicotine

Nicotine is not good for your overall health, but it also has an adverse effect in terms of vertigo. It constricts blood vessels hence, it decreases the blood supply to your inner ear. It may also raise your blood pressure temporarily that can trigger vertigo.

Diet Tips for People with Vertigo

After discussing foods that can cause vertigo let&rsquos discuss diet tips for people with vertigo. An individual suffering from vertigo requires a diet, which is rich in iron and low in cholesterol and sodium. Few tips to help individuals suffering from vertigo are as follows:

  • Eat more fish as part of your diet.
  • Consume magnesium rich foods such as nuts, beans, leafy green vegetables and seeds.
  • Eat whole grain products instead of white bread.
  • Drink vegetable juice rather than consuming carbonated or sugary drinks.
  • Consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as niacin, potassium and B complex.
  • Avoid foods containing high amounts of trans fats.
  • Vertigo can also result due to anemia. Hence, include fresh vegetables and meat that have high iron content in your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages as it causes dehydration and triggers migraine and vertigo.
  • Avoid consuming foods containing tyramine such as non-processed cheeses, cured meat and dry sausages.
  • In case you develop nausea, consume alkaline foods including nuts, vegetables and fruits. They will help in maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in your body.

Certain Medications Can Also Cause Vertigo


You should avoid antacids as they have sodium in them. High sodium level results in water retention that leads to accumulation of fluid in the inner ear.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can result in electrolyte imbalance and water retention. Aspirin may also worsen or cause tinnitus in individuals who suffer from vertigo.

You should also avoid other medicines such as blood pressure medicines, anti-seizure medicines, antihistamines and antibiotics as they can also worsen the symptoms of vertigo.

50 foods and drinks to avoid for people with high blood pressure

Having high blood pressure does not necessarily mean a person has to eliminate specific foods from their diet. Rather than trying to cut these out, a person should focus on moderation and finding healthy substitutes for their favorite snacks.

About 45% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .

This may increase their risk of heart disease, stroke, and numerous other health problems.

The right diet can help a person control their blood pressure levels.

In this article, we present 50 foods and drinks that could contribute to high blood pressure, and we list some foods a person can include in their diet. We also provide some recipe ideas.

Sodium can elevate blood pressure. Many people eat too much sodium without realizing it.

Processed and fast foods usually contain excessive amounts of sodium, often more than the 2,300 milligrams a person should consume per day.

It is advisable to check nutrition labels and be aware that even foods people tend to consider healthy, such as vegetable juice, may be high in sodium.

Examples of foods with high levels of sodium include:

  • rolls and bread
  • pizza
  • sandwiches
  • cold cuts and cured meats
  • canned soup
  • tacos and burritos

Sugary food offers few health benefits and raises a person’s risk of unintentional weight gain. It may also contribute to high blood pressure.

A 2014 study suggests sugary foods may increase blood pressure even more than salt. The study mentions foods containing high fructose corn syrup as a factor that can raise blood pressure.

The following are examples of foods that may contain high fructose corn syrup:

  • processed desserts
  • prepackaged meals
  • crackers
  • granola bars or other nutrition bars

A person should check the packaging on these foods to ensure they are choosing products free from high fructose corn syrup.

Is there a link between diet soda and heart disease?

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

I’m a big fan of diet soda. I like the taste, and I love that it doesn’t have any calories. I can drink two or three diet sodas a day and not worry about gaining weight. But a new study has me wondering if enjoying the sweetness of soda without the sugar and calories is such a good thing after all.

University of Miami and Columbia University researchers followed roughly 2,500 New Yorkers for 10 years. All of the study volunteers were over age 40 and had never had a stroke. At the start of the study, each participant indicated her or his diet soda intake as “none” (less than 1 per month), “light” (1 diet soda a month to 6 diet sodas a week), or “daily” (1 or more a day). Each year, researchers contacted participants by phone to ask them about changes in risk factors and medications, as well as any health problems and hospitalizations that may have occurred.

At the end of 10 years, the daily diet soda drinkers were more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack, or to have died from vascular disease. The increased risk remained even after study investigators accounted for smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol, and other factors that could have contributed to the difference. The results were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Both regular and diet soft drinks were linked with certain, but separate, cardiovascular disease risk factors. In this study, frequent diet soda drinkers were more likely to be former smokers and have higher blood sugar, high blood pressure, and, ironically, larger waistlines. They were also more likely to have metabolic syndrome. That’s the name for a cluster of risk factors—high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels—that occur together and increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Folks who drank regular soda were more likely to smoke and eat more carbohydrates, but were less likely to have diabetes or high cholesterol.

A study such as this one can only hint at an association between diet soda and cardiovascular risk. It can’t pinpoint a cause and effect. But it’s not the first to implicate diet soda as a cardiovascular risk factor. A report from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater risk of developing diabetes. Both of these conditions greatly raise the odds of having a stroke or heart attack. It’s a little surprising that diet soda drinkers were more like to develop two particular components of metabolic syndrome: larger waistlines and higher fasting glucose levels (results consistent with the New York study results).

So far, research on diet soda’s relationship to cardiovascular disease raises more questions than it answers. For example, do people who drink a lot of diet soda have other behaviors or conditions that independently increase their risk of cardiovascular disease? We also don’t have a good understanding of the biological effects of artificial sweeteners (see this Harvard Health Letter article for more on this topic). Manufacturers use a variety of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks, and surely new ones will come on the market. So it is difficult to tease out the effects of a particular sweetener—or beverage for that matter, because a range of drinks come in sugar-free form, not just soda.

Sometimes making a healthful choice is a slam dunk. Quitting smoking and exercising more are very good for you. There’s no debate about that. Other times it’s a tougher call. Surely, no one needs to consume soft drinks of any kind. But is it a problem to do so?

My husband gently (but persistently) tells me there is nothing good about drinking diet soda, not even the taste I claim to enjoy so much. The evidence seems to back him up. For me, I have realized (time and again) that I just feel better when I don’t drink diet soda. When I make the effort, I’m reminded how much I enjoy other beverages such as carbonated water or iced tea.

Wish me luck as I once again try to get off diet soda.

Do you drink diet soft drinks? Do you notice any negative effects from doing so? If you’ve kicked the habit, let us know why and how you did it.