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Sugary Drinks

Most of us don’t think twice about picking up a sweetened beverage to drink with our meals. Whether it be a soda, a sports drink or juice, we incorporate them into our diet without realizing the impact of these beverages.

Although these drinks taste good, we should take a closer look and learn about their contribution to our diets. A quick look at the label can tell us how much sugar we consume when we drink one serving of a beverage. Servings can vary but many drinks recommend eight ounces or one cup to be a serving. Unfortunately, when we buy drinks, generally, they do not come in eight-ounce servings. One drink can vary from eight ounces to 64 ounces for one person. Most canned drinks are 12 ounces and bottled sodas are 20 – 24 ounces.

Usually we will drink the whole can or bottle of sweetened beverage so our serving sizes can double and go up from there. Should this matter? Most certainly!

Eight ounces can pack up to six teaspoons of sugar or about 24 grams per eight-ounce serving. That would be up to 96 calories per cup of the beverage. Some beverages have an even higher amount of sugar. Most of these beverages offer very little nutrients other than pure and simple energy in the form of sugar.

Many folks think sugar is bad for you but your body and your brain need this form of energy. The problem is the way we get sugar. When we consume large amounts of sugar, it goes into the bloodstream. If it is not burned as energy, it is stored as fat. This is one way our weight can increase.

One other problem is that too much sugar intake over an extended period of time might be connected to symptoms associated with pre-diabetes. Scientists and nutritionists are still trying to sort through the data to fully understand sugar’s role in the body.

Until then, drink plenty of water because your body needs it. Reduce sugar ladened beverages to one serving a couple times a week or skip it all together. Concerning juice, four – six ounces a few times a week, but why not eat the fruit to reap all of the nutritional benefits?

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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