the 40% mortality boost

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can sign up here to receive this free daily email.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Diet soda takes the stand

  • The 1-minute longevity boost

  • A word of caution on creatine

The Verdict on Artificial Sweeteners

If you like diet soda, you’re about to silence friends who disagree with your choice of beverage. A review of 20 studies examined whether artificial sweeteners cause weight gain. The surprising outcome: drinking non-caloric artificially sweetened beverages either help with weight loss or have little-to-no negative impact on the scale.

That’s not exactly what you hear on fear-soaked social media threads. But we’re not here to take sides; we just want to help you make sense of science and make health a little less confusing and stressful.

Despite claims about artificial sweeteners raising insulin or making you crave more sweets, that’s not what the research shows. The same goes for concerns about these sweeteners causing cancer, based on a review of 56 studies that suggests the connection is more myth than reality.

Is there any downside to the artificial sweeteners? It depends on the individual. For some, it can cause GI issues. While research has speculated about artificial sweeteners harming gut health, so far, the findings are unclear. (If more conclusive evidence is found, we'll be sure to share it.)

In other words, if you enjoy an occasional can or two of calorie-free artificially sweetened beverages, research suggests it could support your weight loss goals. If you don’t want them, are still worried, or they don’t make you feel good, then stay away.

The Fastest Longevity Hack

Dedicating 60 seconds to your health can make a bigger difference than you think.

Exercise snacks — or short bursts of movement lasting as little as one minute — can improve your cardio health, build strength, and prevent disease.

A study of more than 25,000 people found that dedicating just 1 to 2 minutes per session of high-intensity exercise (or about the time it takes to watch a video on your Instagram feed), repeated a few times per day, can be a life-extending decision.

Researchers tracked participants over 7 years, and the results even surprised us. Those who performed 3 to 4 bouts of those short, intense bursts of physical activity (think sprinting up the stairs) were associated with up to a 40 percent reduction in death from all causes and up to a 49 percent reduction in death from cardiovascular disease.

Will these mini workouts help you achieve all of your fitness goals? Probably not. But that's not the point. Sometimes it's hard to make it to the gym, but you can still take small actions that can have a big impact on your overall health. Set aside a minute — a few times per day — and get your heart rate up. The benefits add up!

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Last week, you learned that creatine is not only safe, but it also has the potential to improve cognitive performance, memory, and executive function — in addition to building muscle.

Naturally, many of you wanted to know the best type of creatine because there are more varieties than Baskin Robbins. Wouldn’t you know, there’s a study that compared creatine options. Researchers compared 17 clinical trials of seven different creatine formulations and found that the best choice (by far) is creatine monohydrate.

Not only is creatine monohydrate the safest option, but it also delivers the best results at the lowest cost (sometimes ⅕ the price of other forms). If you want to supplement with creatine, aim for 3 to 5 grams daily. There’s no need to pre-load or cycle off.