It is hard to believe, but a donut actually has less sugar than a soda. A regular donut has about three teaspoons of sugar, while an average 12 ounce can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar for most women and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for most men.
Sugar is often referred to as "empty calories" since it offers no nutritional benefit. Sugary drinks are one of the biggest sources of empty calories and added sugars in the typical American diet. However, it is not just soda, drinks such as fruit punch, lemonade, some energy, and sports drinks provide excess calories and little to no nutritional value. Drinking just one serving of any of these drinks a day, without changing typical calorie intake, can add an extra 5 pounds or more a year!
Multiple studies link excessive soda consumption with obesity. For example, a study of Massachusetts schoolchildren found that for each additional sugary drink a child drank per day, their odds of becoming obese increased by 60%. However, experts say not to replace regular soda with diet soda, which has its own problems.
As kids, we were taught to drink our juice, but we should reconsider consuming this beverage as well. Of co,urse juice is more nutritious than soda, but it often contains just as much sugar. For example, a 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains nearly the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke, around 10 teaspoons of sugar. Eating the actual fruit is probably a better choice than drinking the juice. For instance, one cup of pure orange juice has nearly double the calories of a whole orange and contains almost twice as much sugar. Plus, orange juice contains much less fiber than whole oranges, so it is not as filling as an orange.
If you love your sweet beverages, limiting or eliminating soft drinks or other sugary drinks is a great step toward maintaining a healthy weight and improving your health. Cut down gradually: replace one regular soft drink (or one diet soda) per day with an alternative drink. The best choice: water. If it's the caffeine you crave, you're better off with tea or coffee, with minimal added sugars. It may not be easy but in the long run, it will be worth it
Here are some ideas for alternative beverages...
Flavored water can be made right at home by cutting up your favorite fruits, vegetables, or herbs. You can try adding lemon, oranges, cucumber, or mint. Add these to a pitcher of water and you’ll have a refreshing drink that looks as good as it tastes!
If you love the bubbly taste of soda, try drinking sparkling water. Same bubbly feeling with fewer calories!
JUICE AND SELTZER
Mix up your own flavorful bubbly drink. Try a no-sugar-added juice with seltzer to create a light bubbly beverage just like soda! Just use a splash of juice for taste.