3 min read
sugary beverages lined up in a line.

They say there is nothing like a cold glass of sweet tea with a hint of lemon on a hot summer day. On the other hand, is there? The truth of the matter is, many liquids satisfy your taste buds but may not quench your thirst.

When one decides to make a lifestyle change regarding what they eat, it is important to look at the drinks that are being consumed. Sugary drinks such as sweet tea, sodas, juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks are all water with a lot of added sugar. All of them also account for a large percentage of the caloric intake one consumes each day. Having a 32-ounce soda for lunch every day may not seem that bad—especially when it’s only one dollar. What we fail to realize is that we pay for it with our health. Most people do not realize they are consuming 17.5 teaspoons of sugar. That is only if they do not decide to refill it, which may lead to a whopping 35 teaspoons of sugar in the drinks only.

According to the CDC, sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. Overconsumption of calories leads to weight gain. Drinking a high amount of sugary drinks is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, cavities, and heart disease—as well as other chronic diseases that can be prevented just by scaling back on sugary beverages.

Scale Back

Included below are a few ways to cut back on drinking sugary drinks:

Fruit Juice

Drinking beverages like 100 percent fruit juice is ok occasionally in four to six ounce servings per day. Although juice does have vitamins, it is high in calories from concentrated fruit sugars. If you are craving fruit, grab a whole piece of fruit instead and get less sugar with the added benefit of fiber.

Diet Sodas or Artificially Sweetened Drinks

Many people use low-calorie sweeteners to flavor their water or they consume a diet soda to control blood sugar for diabetes. If you must drink them, limit your consumption to no more than 12 ounces a day. They may contain fewer calories, but they can lead to stomach cramping and diarrhea when over-consumed.

Sports Drinks

A great rule of thumb for consuming things like Powerade and Gatorade is:

If you are a spectator you need water, if you are a participator then you can consume either to help restore the sweat and electrolytes your body has released. Sports drinks are good to provide an athlete with some quick carbohydrates after sixty minutes of intense activity. For most others, it is just an unnecessary calories and sugars.

Water: The Essential Nutrient

Water is what one should consume more than any other beverage throughout the day. Water helps to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste. It helps to keep you from overheating, lubricates the joints and tissues, maintains healthy skin, and is necessary for proper digestion. It is the perfect zero-calorie beverage for quenching thirst and rehydrating your body.

Just how much water does one need? Humans need half of their body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need 100 ounces of water to meet your body’s needs each day. Your body weight divided by two is equal to the ounces of water you should consume.

Making the Lifestyle Change

Getting started on reducing your sugary drink intake may be difficult at first but remember you did not get here overnight. So give yourself time to break the old habits and create new lifestyle habits. Set a goal for yourself each day for how much water you will consume.

  • Use cute water bottles or cups that will encourage you to increase your daily water intake.
  • Do not purchase sugary drinks when you buy groceries. Leave them off your grocery list on purpose.
  • If you want a sugary drink, have a cup only (8 ounces).
  • Take it one day at a time, especially if you are a habitual sugary drinker.

Soon you will be well on your way to a healthier, stronger, and elevated new you.

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