Rethink Your Drink

Monday May 20, 2013

The weather is warming up, and that finds most of us reaching for a cool refreshing beverage. (For the Southerners among us, that means sweet iced tea!) But rethinking your drink is a good way to cut extra calories.

Why rethink your drink?

  • Sweetened beverages can contribute calories to an overall diet.
  • Beverage calories may not provide a feeling of overall fullness.
  • Reducing high-calorie beverages may be an easy way to decrease calorie intake and lose or maintain weight.

What you drink makes a bigger difference in your health than you may realize. Drinks like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Drinking them can be harmful to your health and may lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

The not-so-sweet facts about sugar:

  1. There are 16-18 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 oz soda.
  2. Drinking sports and energy drinks can lead to obesity, heart disease, and  diabetes.
  3. Drinking one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds per year!
  4. Sugar-loaded beverages are the single major source of added sugar consumed by the average American.
  5. Nearly 50% of the average American’s increased calorie consumption is from sugar-loaded beverages.

 

Tips for making smart drink choices:

  • Choose healthy drinks like water, milk, and unsweetened, diluted fruit juices. Sparkling (carbonated) water is another good choice.
  • Drink in the morning: a glass of water, juice, or milk. Tea and coffee are fine if you limit or do without the sugar and cream.
  • Drink all day: Keep a reusable water bottle handy in the car, at home, work, and school.
  • Drink water before, during, and after physical activity. Sports drinks are only needed if your activity is strenuous and lasts more than an hour.

 

*Adapted from US Department of Public Health publication, “Re-think your Drink”.