We’ve all heard our parents tell us that sugar is bad for you, but are some sugars worse for you than others, and how much sugar is too much? Over 70% of all food contains some form of added sugar and consumption of soft drinks such as soda has increased more than five fold since 1950. The prevalence of childhood as well as adulthood obesity has been on the rise in recent years and studies have found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and fruit drinks have been linked to obesity. One study of rural communities in the U.S. found that those who drank one or more servings of soda per week were more likely to be overweight or obese than those who drank less.
The most common form of added sugar found in beverages such as soda and fruit drinks is fructose. When people consume large amounts of fructose the liver can get overloaded, turning fructose into fat. Scientists believe that large amounts of fructose can contribute to diseases like obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
Moreover, sugary drinks will not fill you up if you consume them before or during your meal, which can result in a 17% increase of overall calorie consumption. Studies also show that people who constantly drink sugary beverages gain more weight than people who don’t and children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages everyday have a 60% higher risk of becoming obese.
Do you love soda or flavored drinks but don’t want to consume all those extra calories? There are a few simple swaps you can make to get all the flavor of your favorite drinks minus all the calories. Some ways you can decrease your liquid calories are by swapping a soda a day with a glass of flavored seltzer, switching to infused water, enjoying unsweetened iced teas, or mixing alcoholic beverages with tonic water compared to high calorie sodas.