I’ve been thinking about how sugary drinks affect Americans’ health lately. Recent findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that sugar sweetened beverages promotes weight gain in children and adults. And I was preparing for an interview on foods I avoid/limit in my diet – like sugary drinks.
AICR’s expert report and updates also find that these drinks cause weight gain and obesity. And excess body fat is one of the causes of 7 different cancers, including post-menopausal breast and colorectal.
These drinks are everywhere and they’re inexpensive. It seems that America is hooked on liquid sugar and that’s one significant driving force in our obesity epidemic.
Public health groups are working to promote policies for schools and government that will reduce kids’ access to these drinks and promote alternatives that are easy to find and affordable.
At the supermarket though, it’s not always obvious which drinks are good choices. I know I have to look closely at the list of ingredients to see what I’m getting and carefully check the nutrition facts to see how many calories are really in one container.
But with a little time and creativity, there are things you can do now for you and your children and grandchildren to cut back or even eliminate sugary drinks.
1. Make Water More Interesting
Fill a clear pitcher with water and add washed and clean pieces of fruit and herbs. How about strawberries and mint or blueberries and basil? Or mix in a medley of fruit like peaches, raspberries and kiwi. The fruit can be fresh, frozen or canned (choose unsweetened). The flavor is mild, but adds some extra zing. For more ideas see “Not Your Ordinary Water”.
2. Stretch the Juice
A little fizz can up the refreshing value and add interest. Add a ¼ cup of 100% fruit juice to a glass of sparkling water, for a little color and subtle fruit flavor with very few calories.
3. Explore Tea
Spend a little time browsing the tea section of your supermarket and you’ll find a whole world of flavors and colors. From black teas to herbal fruity or spicy teas you can brew up a blend – hot or cold – to please anyone. Here’s a dressed up version of tea – with just a little added sweetener: Iced Almond Chai.
4. Drink Your Veggies
If you’ve got a blender, try experimenting with vegetable smoothies. Watery veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and summer squash are good bases. Have fun experimenting with the kids. Here’s an idea for drinkable gazpacho.
What are some of your favorite low sugar, low calorie beverages?
A study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed a link between between high sugar intake and pancreatic cancer and I understand that PET scans pick up on cancers high demand for sugar as it grows. We seem to be addicted to the white stuff , not just in the massive amount of soft drinks we consume but also in the amount of corn syrup which seems to be a requirement of almost every processed food to come out of our food factories. We need an honest debate, we are killing ourselves or the food industry is killing us. Until we can cure this terrible disease (and that looks a long way off) we must we must change out eating habits, challenge the big food producers and take control of our our health and cut the sugar!
I wonder if you could shed light on the finding that when Cuba entered the Special Period in the early 1990s (after the Soviet Union dissolved, a time of hardship for Cubans), they switched to eating more carbohydrates, primarily sugar. The population as a whole subsequently lost weight and lowered their risk for diabetes and cancer.
“The primary sources of energy during the crisis were sugar cane and rice.”
Impact of Energy Intake, Physical Activity, and Population-wide Weight Loss on Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mortality in Cuba, 1980–2005, American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007
Population-Wide Weight Loss And Regain In Relation To Diabetes Burden And Cardiovascular Mortality In Cuba 1980-2010: Repeated Cross Sectional Surveys And Ecological Comparison Of Secular Trends, British Medical Journal, April 2013
Thank you for such valuable information.