Sugary Sodas Are Losing Their Pop With Many Americans
For many years, the healthcare industry has been issuing warnings about the risks associated with the consumption of too many sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages with a high sugar content. Sugar-sweetened beverages also include flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, sweetened coffee and energy drinks. Too much sugar can lead to a wide range of health issues, and as we know, soda contains a staggering amount of sugar. In fact, a 12 ounce can of soda may easily have up to 39 grams of sugar. Visualize one teaspoon of granulated sugar, this contains 4 grams of sugar. To put this another way, a 12 ounce can of soda containing 36 g of sugar (grams of sugar will be listed on the nutrition facts label) equals about 9 teaspoons of granulated sugar.
The link between excessive sugar consumption and the development of health complications is well-documented. In addition, the extra calories from drinking sugar-sweetened beverages puts you at higher risk of gaining weight and these beverages provide little to no nutritional value. When you consume sucrose, common table sugar made up of glucose and fructose, your body more easily converts this into glucose, the rapid absorption of glucose can lead to greater spikes in blood sugar (blood glucose). To maintain optimal blood glucose control, it is important to consume more complex carbohydrates containing fiber. Fiber is crucial to help maintain blood glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose. Additionally, if you consume more calories and sugar than your body’s energy requirements, this can be converted to fat. Excess fat accumulation around your midsection puts an individual at an increased risk of developing metabolic health complications.
Excessive sugar consumption can also reduce the effectiveness of your overall immune system. Following a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, and sleep are all key components to optimal health. Eliminating or cutting back on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages is definitely a step in the right direction.
People are getting the message about sugar-sweetened beverages. Studies show that the consumption of soda has been dropping steadily for more than a decade. In another positive step, the consumption of water has been on the rise. Choosing water over soda is also great for the wallet and will save you money!
Why you should quit, too…
If you’ve been drinking soda over a long period of time, it may be a challenging transition at first. Sugar can be addictive and it will take planning and dedication, like any other habit to break. The benefits of cutting back on soda are absolutely worth the effort.
Cutting back on sugar-sweetened beverages and decreasing overall sugar consumption will have positive effects on many of the major organs and other parts of your body:
- Heart. Studies have shown that consuming sugary drinks significantly increases the risk of heart disease, increases the risk of a heart attack, and is linked to high blood pressure.
- Brain. Researchers have found that long-term over-consumption of sugar may impair learning and memory.
- Teeth. We have all heard that sugar is a major cause of cavities. Drinking soda also includes ingredients, like citric acid, that erodes tooth enamel, leaving your teeth even more vulnerable.
- Bladder. Caffeine-containing soda can act as a diuretic.
- Bones. The phosphoric acid in soda is suspected of reducing bone mineral density. Caffeine interferes with the absorption of calcium, decreasing your consumption or giving up soda may reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
If you want to join the growing population of Americans who are decreasing or ditching soda for good, understand that it may not be easy at first, but you can do it! There are several strategies you can try, such as setting a SMART goal to cut back slowly and quit gradually. You may discover other beverage alternatives that you really enjoy. Try flavoring water with sliced cucumbers and strawberries or raspberries and orange wedges. With a little planning and strategic thinking, it is possible to replace sugar-sweetened beverages with other options that will benefit your overall health.
Are you interested in learning more about our Clinical Nutrition team?
Our team of nutrition experts works in the treatment and prevention of disease using nutrition therapy and is an important part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team. Our RDs and DTRs work in both inpatient hospital settings and outpatient clinics throughout Orlando Health.Learn More Here