March is National Nutrition month; it is a good time for a refresher on the potential health risks of consuming too many sugar sweetened beverages. Sugary drinks are a major cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States; they have been linked to poor diets, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Soda is the number one source of added sugar in our diets.
The amount of sugar in beverages:
- 20 oz of soda 17 teaspoons of sugar
- 16 oz of sweetened tea 15 teaspoons of sugar
- 20 oz sports drink 9 teaspoons of sugar
Some alternatives to sugary beverages:
- Non-fat or low-fat milk
- 100% fruit juice (limit juice to ½ cup/day)
- Unsweetened iced tea
About half of the U.S. population over the age of two consumes a sugar sweetened drink every day. More men than women drink soda; teens and young adults drink more than any other age group. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 3 cans of soda/week.