In the world of strange news, the consumption of two gallons of Coca-Cola a day being a “substantial factor” in a young woman’s death have brought even more attention to the ever popular drink controversy. Call it soda, pop, Coke, soft drink, fountain pop, or whatever you’d like, these sugary drinks one of the largest source of calories the average American consumes in their diet and studies are showing there are risks.
These sugary calories raise the risk of weight gain and obesity. The process is simple. When you eat healthy calories you are satisfied and feel full. Drinking a soda adds calories to your diet, however, does not give you the full, satisfied feeling and you tend to eat in addition to drinking these calories. Nearly 50% of the total sugars consumed are from sugary drinks including soda, energy drinks, sport drinks, and fruit drinks. One teaspoon, or 4 grams of sugar, equals 16 calories. One 12-ounce can of regular soda has 39 grams, or about 8 teaspoons of sugar, which totals over 100 calories. The American Heart Association’s recommendation for daily sugar intake is 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories for men and 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women.
Moving on to the teeth. Sugary drinks almost double the risk of cavities. Along with the sugar, the drinks contain acid that causes erosion of tooth enamel. The sugars then fuel the bacteria causing tooth decay.
Continuing with blood pressure. According to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, a study of 800 adults with elevated blood pressure reduced their consumption of sugar, sweetened beverages and noticed a drop in blood pressure.
If you’ve been thinking about discontinuing or decreasing the consumption of sugary sodas and drinks in your household there are a few things you can do.
- Drink a smaller serving size. Share a can with someone to ease yourself into denial.
- Mix the soda with seltzer. Gradually increase the amount of seltzer.
- If you are the “cold turkey” kind of personality, switch to water, or unsweetened tea and add fresh mint, lime or lemon.
- Switch to healthy 100% fruit juices. If it’s the carbonation you desire, add seltzer.