Looking for a New Year’s resolution to help you get healthier this year? One of the single greatest contributors to weight gain is drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. If you want to have a major impact on your health, try lessening or removing sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet.
Sodas, fruit drinks, juices, sweetened coffee and tea add extra calories, without giving your body the same feeling of fullness that food provides. This means that you tend to consume more calories when you drink sugary beverages, than you would if you chose to drink water or unsweetened drinks. (Not to mention, sugary drinks are much more expensive than drinking tap water!)
Did you know?
- Every 20-ounce serving of sugar-sweetened beverages contains almost 17 teaspoons of sugar.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single greatest source of added sugar in the American diet.
- Each day Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar, far surpassing the recommended 5 to 9 teaspoons per day.
- The average American consumes 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened beverages each year.
That’s why MyPlate recommends that Americans “drink water instead of sugary drinks” as one of its core messages. If you easily tire of drinking plain water, there are several low calorie or calorie-free options that will keep you stay hydrated without piling on the sugar and added pounds.
- Try switching to seltzer water or club soda; you’ll get the same carbonated sensation as drinking a soda, but without any of the sugar. Add a splash of cranberry or grapefruit juice for added flavor.
- Add slices of lemons, limes, oranges or a few mint leaves to a pitcher of water and chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours before drinking for a low-calorie, tasty treat.
- Milk has natural sugars, so forget the sugar in your coffee and just adding a splash of low-fat or fat-free milk and a few sprinkles of cinnamon for a low-calorie alternative to some of the more calorie-laden beverages served at coffee chains.
- Brew your own unsweetened iced tea in a glass measuring cup or ceramic teapot large enough to hold 2 cups boiling water; place 6 regular-size tea bags and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. (The baking soda will soften the natural tannins that cause an acid or bitter taste.) Pour 2 cups boiling water over the tea bags. Cover and let steep 15 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill and enjoy low-cost, low-calorie ice tea at home!
This year, resolve to make your family’s health a priority. Stick to water and non-fat milk whenever possible, and try to mix up your beverages using the tips suggested above. Do you have another way you like to stay hydrated without expanding your waistline? Let us know in the comments below!