Rethink Your Drink

How Much Added Sugar Are you Drinking?

4 grams sugar = 1 teaspoon

1 serving or 1 bottle of this drink has almost 5 tsp. of sugar

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19/4 = 4.75 teaspoons of sugar!

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for adult women and 9 teaspoons per day for adult men. To put this into perspective: the average 20-ounce soda has 16 teaspoons of sugar, a Tall/small (12 ounce) Caramel Machiatto from Starbucks has 23 grams or nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar.

Too much sugar isn’t so sweet for your health

Many people eat more sugar than they realize. I think it is important to be aware of how much added sugar we are eating because it may have adverse health effects. Added sugars have no nutrients and contributes to added fat and can lead to obesity. Scientific evidence supports that added sugars is associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease mortality. This is because when we consume excess sugars (and carbs too…just so you know sugars are a form of carbs), our body stores these substrates as fat. Over time, fat is deposited in our arteries which puts added stress on our heart because our body needs to keep the blood pumping. Little exercise or sedentary behaviors only exacerbates the symptoms. This can eventually lead to chronic disease (heart or diabetes), high medical bills, and death yikes! I have counseled many patients with heart disease and speaking with them on making small simple lifestyle changes can really go a long way.

Try these healthy beverage choices instead:

  • Stock your refrigerator with fresh cold water, sugar-free tea, low-fat skim milk.
  • Do you get bored with water? Infuse it with fresh fruit, such as lemons, berries, or cucumbers
  • Add a splash of 100% fruit juice to sparkling water for a special treat
  • Keep healthy beverages within reach for children

Are you a chronic soda or fruit juice drinker and struggle to change your drinking habits? Try this first:

  • For the 1st week: fill your cup with 3/4 sugar beverage and the rest water
  • After you are taste buds get used to this flavor (2nd week): fill your cup with 50% sugar beverage and 50% water
  • 3rd week: 75% water and 25% sugar beverage

References:

1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp

2. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-24.

3. http://www.starbucks.com/menu/nutrition

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