Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks may be keeping us from drinking enough water.
Sugary drinks are the fourth highest source of caloric intake in adults in the US, according to Teresa Anderson, a registered dietician & nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator for Lovelace Medical Group.
A 20 oz Regular soda contains about 250 calories and a liter is about 425 calories. Drinking 2 – 20 oz bottles a day means that people are drinking 500 calories per day just from sugary drinks alone. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, these numbers are staggering – people are getting nearly a quarter of their calories from sugary drinks.
Most of Teresa’s clientele are overweight, have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Occasionally she discovers that some folks are routinely drinking over 1000 calories (roughly 2 ½ liters of soda) daily from combined drinks. That is enough calories to support a 2 to 4 pound weight gain each week. For those with diabetes who stop these drinks Teresa has seen their blood glucose levels come down a few hundred points just with that change in beverage choice.
Most people don’t need the electrolyte replacement from sports drinks either, despite the ad campaigns. As for energy drinks, there are other and less expensive ways to get caffeine, e.g. regular – ‘ole coffee, if that is your pursuit. Some energy drinks have ingredients that can make medical health problems worse and /or interfere with medications you are on which could actually be dangerous.
We all know that sugary drinks are not particularly good for us, but do we really understand what specifically they do to our bodies?
Consuming this quantity of sugary drinks leads to the following:
- Insulin resistance - for those at risk for or who have obesity or pre-diabetes
- Abdominal obesity - known to be a primary risk factor for weight-related diseases
- Osteoporosis - for soda drinkers, a disproportionate intake of phosphorus to calcium leads to bone loss
Undoubtedly drinking sugary drinks are bad for your health, but most importantly it may lead to drinking less water. Proper hydration can provide you with more energy, better sleep, healthier skin, less temptation to overeat, a better immune system, better kidney function and so much more.
Drastic change in diet with liquid consumption is difficult all at once, which is why you can take small steps toward eliminating sugary drinks. Try adopting one of the following plans that works for you.
- Don’t keep soda or sports drinks in your home
- Add flavor to your water in place of sugary drink
- Ask for water at the restaurant
- Buy the smaller cans of soda
- Use a sugar-based drink only on occasion, as a treat
- Resist drinking sugary drinks on the weekdays
Simple commitments like this can be baby steps toward a noticeably healthier you. Remember, the goal is not to instantly switch to a lifestyle you can’t keep up with. The goal is increase your water intake and decrease your sugary drink intake. Later in life you will never regret the sugary drinks you didn’t drink.