Big Sugary Drinks and Your Health

The Soft Drink Situation

If you like to drink canned soda or other soft drinks, and let’s face it, most of us do, consider that there are on average 28 grams of sugar in every 8 ounce can. That is the equivalent to pouring 7 teaspoons of sugar into your system; it’s even worse if you drink fountain drinks or plastic bottles which can be 2-4 times the fluid ounces found in a can.

By eliminating one 8 ounce soft drink per day, you can reduce your sugar intake by almost one cup of sugar weekly. In a year’s time, that adds up to 26 pounds!

To put that into perspective, go to a grocery store and stack five regular sized bags of sugar together. That’s the amount of sugar you put into your body every year by drinking just one can of soda per day.

The same applies for us coffee drinkers. By cutting in half the number of teaspoons we dump into our java, or better yet, by drinking it black, we cut out an unnecessary free-radical that artificially shortens our lives as well as decays our teeth and health. If you must have sweetened coffee, use raw, unrefined sugar, or better yet, Agave nectar, but you should avoid artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose. Stevia extract is a natural, healthy alternative for sweetening.

Are Sports Drinks a Double-Whammy?

Most sweet drinks on the market, even so-called "sports drinks", carry just as much sugar as your average Cola beverage. Be aware of nutritional labels that list Sugar as an added ingredient. Energy drinks are even worse - the added B vitamins don’t make up for the near overdose of added Caffeine and Inositol that each drink contains.

Many newer zero-sugar drinks that tout “no artificial sweeteners” use a substance called Sugar Alcohol. Sugar Alcohol is not metabolized by oral bacteria, and thus far has not been shown to contribute to tooth decay. Nor is it completely absorbed in the small intestines, so its impact on blood glucose levels remains low. However, just like most anything, excessive consumption leads to side effects. At higher levels, sugar alcohol has been shown to increase bloating, diarrhea and flatulence. Not pretty.

Moderation is Good, Abstinence Even Better

Your best bet is to stick with unsweetened beverages, such as water, tea and organic juices. There are many teas on the market now that are organically grown, unsweetened and taste great. Plus you get the benefits of all the anti-oxidants in tea. But if you can’t seem to give up your soda or sweetened coffee, try drinking one less beverage a day, and decrease your intake week by week. Before you know it, you will have weened yourself off and you will be amazed at how much better you look and feel.

Remember, life doesn't have to be sweetened to be sweet.