The beverages you choose play a bigger impact on your health than you may think. Consuming large amounts of sugary beverages may increase your chances of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Sugary beverages contain added sugar. Added sugars are considered “empty calories” because they have no nutritional value, yet they provide calories.
The American Heart Association recommends women limit their consumption of added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons a day. For men, they recommend limiting consumption of added sugar to less than 9 teaspoons a day. Added sugar consumption for children should be limited to no more than 4 teaspoons a day. Keep in mind that one teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar.
To put things in perspective, let’s take a look at how much sugar is in popular beverages.
- Soda (20 fl.oz.) – 65 grams of sugar or 16 teaspoons of sugar
- Sports Drink(24 fl.oz.) – 42 grams of sugar or 11 teaspoons of sugar
- 100% Orange Juice (15 fl.oz.) – 45 grams of sugar or 11 teaspoons of sugar
- 100% Apple Juice (15 fl.oz.) – 49 grams of sugar or 12 teaspoons of sugar
As you see, it’s very easy to exceed the recommended amount of added sugar in a day. It’s important to note that both 100% fruit juices listed above, do not contain any added sugar. The sugar in these juices is natural sugar, sweetened by fruit. However, because 100% fruit juice is concentrated in sugar, it’s wise to limit these beverages also.
How can we savor the flavor of beverages without added sugar?
Drink more water! Water is vital to our health. With a few tweaks plain water can turn into a flavorful drink, even kids can enjoy. Infuse water with your favorite fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries, citrus, or even cucumbers. For a carbonated effect, use club soda in place of water.
If you’re not ready to give up your favorite beverage, try cutting down a little at a time or consider diluting half with water.
Rethink your drink with this flavorful recipe.
2 liters club soda
2 packages of raspberries or 12 oz. package frozen raspberries
3 lemons cut into 1 inch circles
1) Place lemons and raspberries into the bottom of a beverage pitcher.
2) Pour both liters of soda into pitcher.
3) Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature or refrigerate.
Keiser University Dietetic Intern