What’s in your Drink

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the largest source of added sugars in the American diet stem from sugary beverages such as energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, regular soda, etc. Consuming sugary beverages regularly can lead to health issues such as weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cavities, and gout. The latest dietary guidelines recommend limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of your total daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this means no more than 200 calories from added sugars, which equates to about 12 teaspoons from both food and drinks. Surprisingly, a 12-ounce regular soda contains over 10 teaspoons of added sugar, totaling about 150 calories. CDC research shows that nearly 30% of Americans aged two and older consume high levels of added sugar daily. By cutting out just two regular sodas a day, you could reduce your weekly calorie intake by 2,100.

Here are some tips to swap for a healthier alternative:

  1. Choose water over sugary beverages. It is good for your skin, digestion, blood flow, muscles, etc.
  2. For more flavor, add slices of berries, lemon, lime, or cucumber.
  3. For a fizzy drink, add a splash of 100% juice to sparkling water for a refreshing, low calorie drink.
  4. To break the bad habit, stop stocking up on sugary drinks. Don’t buy them and you won’t be tempted.
  5. If water just won’t suffice, then swap for beverages loaded in nutrients such as low-fat or fat-free milk, fortified milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, etc.
  6. If you are at a coffee shop, swap out the flavored syrups and whipped cream for low fat, fat free, or
    unsweetened milk. Or better yet, try a milk alternative such as soy or almond, or simply go back to
    the basics and get a coffee black.
  7. Read labels at the store. Choose the beverages low in sugars, saturated fats, and calories.
  8. Bring a refillable water canteen or bottle throughout the day to avoid buying a sugary beverage on the go.
  9. Alternatives for energy drinks for a quick “pick me up” include plain or unsweetened flavored water, unsweetened tea, hot or iced coffee, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or whole fruit. Sometimes low energy is often a result of dehydration.

In conclusion, sugary beverages are loaded with added sugars which have many negative consequences on health such as weight gain or heart disease. To avoid this, try swapping for a healthier alternative.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Rethink your Drink”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 7, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html.