Say No to Sugary Drinks!

We are constantly hearing about sugary drinks being unhealthy. However, despite the evidence, it continues to be a challenge to avoid the temptation of grabbing a can of something sweet. I see it every day with our participants when they select a soda over a glass of water That’s why this month, in commemoration of National Nutrition Month, my colleagues and I decided to be at each of the waiting rooms of our clinics to educate with an interesting exercise.

We placed three jars on a table as shown in the picture above. One of the jars contains the amount of sugar in one 20oz sweet tea, one contains the amount of sugar in one 16oz energy drink, and the third one contains the amount of sugar in one 12oz soda can. Can you guess which is which?

You may be surprised to see that all of these drinks have such a high concentration of sugar. It can be really shocking to see what the amount of sugar looks like when it is extracted. The jar on the far left belongs to the 12oz soda can, which contains 150 calories and 37 grams of sugar. The middle jar represents the 20oz sweetened ice tea, which contains 239 calories and 59 grams of sugar. The jar on the far right represents a 16oz energy drink, which contains 221 calories and 58 grams of sugar. Each of these drinks are considered drinks that you should drink sparingly and infrequently because of their high sugar contents. There are many detriments of sugary drinks including:

  • High sugar content - Consuming large quantities increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Weight gain - Sugarydrinks are high in calories and therefore a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
  • Do not satisfy - Fluids do not provide the same feeling of fullness as getting the same number of calories from solid food. Eat whole fruit instead of drinking the fruit juice!
  • Bad for bone health - be aware that the phosphoric acid in some sodas leaches calcium out of our bones (including our teeth!).

Liquid calories can be a surprising detriment to your health as drinks loaded with calories, specifically sugar, can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues.

When we think about nutrition and changing our diet, we mostly think about changing the food we eat by doing important things like limiting fat, salt, and empty carbohydrates and replacing them with more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. These are great steps to take towards maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy body, but it is important to remember that diet extends beyond food.

The best alternative: Water! Natural fruit juices are not a better option because although these provide some nutrients and the sugar is natural, they contain the same sugar and calorie content as soft drinks so you need to be aware of the amount you drink.

Water, however, does not have to be boring. You can drink it sparkling, hot, cold, or infused. We have created an infused water recipe for you to try—or you can be creative and come up with your own. Perhaps you have even caught one of our infused water demonstrations in the waiting areas in each of our health clinics throughout the month. We have been working hard to make sure you have the information and options to keep yourself healthy!

Infused Water Recipe


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