Be cautious of sugary drinks

Sugary drinks can add unwanted calories and lead to poor diet quality, obesity and diabetes.

Sweetened drink consumption has been on the rise by young adults since the 1970s. A large percentage of added sugars in our diets come from sodas, sports and energy drinks, coffee beverages and fruit juice drinks. Sugar drinks have been linked to poor diet quality, weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Soft drinks are the single largest contributor to caloric intake in the U.S.

Studies show that when you consume calorie-containing beverages, you don’t gain the same sense of fullness that you get when you consume calories from solid foods. Adding a 12-ounce soft drink to your normal diet every day can lead to a 15-pound weight gain per year with the soda containing 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar.

Sweetened beverages contain high sugar contents. Evidence links excessive sugar intake with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, overconsumption of discretionary calories and shortfalls in essential nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends an upper limit for daily added sugar of no more than 100 calories for women (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) and 150 calories for men (38 grams or 9 teaspoons).

So, work towards cutting out the bottles and cans of sweetened beverages and replace them with plain water or unsweetened coffee and tea. Remember that looks can be deceiving as bottled tea or a smoothie can contain just as much sugar as a soda. Read the nutrition information label on food containers. Look for added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey and dextrose on the ingredients list. An ingredient that ends in “-ose” is a form of sugar.

For more information on healthy living, please visit Michigan State University Extension.

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