If you haven't already adopted a health resolution for this new year,
here’s a good one: Cut out sugary drinks from your everyday diet.
And we’re not just talking sodas, but also juices, energy or sports
beverages, sweetened teas and coffee drinks. Coffee drinks are one of
the most popular offenders that people often don’t think of as “sweetened.”
“A recent study adds to the ever-increasing amount of medical literature
that shows sugar-sweetened drinks pose major health risks,” says
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE, supervisor of health education and prevention at
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group in Fullerton. “Consuming too much added sugars, such as the kind
found in drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or even plain
old sugar, can lead to increases not just in weight gain, but also increased
risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And these sweetened drinks
are Americans’ major source of added sugar in their daily diets.”
Previous studies have stated that sugar-sweetened drinks contribute to
weight gain because you don’t feel full after drinking one, so you’re
still eating a normal calorie load on top of the calories from the drink.
With about 136 calories in 12 oz. of soda and 135 calories in 12 oz. of
sweetened iced tea, those calories can add up quickly if you drink even
one or two a day.
This latest study, published in the Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, states that sugary drink consumption affects more than your
waistline. “High-fructose corn syrup and sugar contain fructose,”
Watkins says. “Excess fructose is converted in the liver into fatty
triglycerides and that can lead to liver disease and insulin resistance—which
in turn creates a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
How high is that increased risk? The study authors reviewed medical data
and determined that one or two servings of sugar-sweetened drinks every
day can raise your risk of stroke by 16 percent, type 2 diabetes by 26
percent and heart disease/heart attack by 35 percent.
If you are drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages, you’re not
alone. “The study says that half of all Americans consume a sugary
drink every day,” Watkins says. “And it’s a trend that
could continue to grow, because statistics from the National Cancer Institute
say teenagers get most of their daily calories from sugary drinks, while
a 2011 study in nutrition found that calorie intake from those beverages
jumped 60 percent for children ages 6 to 11 between 1989 and 2008. It’s
a large-scale issue, which is why the authors of the latest study advocated
for public health measures to curb consumption of sugary drinks.”
So how do you go about cutting down on those drinks? Watkins suggests you
remember this rule of thumb from the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory
Committee: Added sugars should make up no more than 10 percent of your
daily total calories. “If you must have a sugar-sweetened beverage,
you need to eat less added sugar elsewhere in your diet,” Watkins
says. “The best way to reduce these calories, however, is to stay
away from these drinks and instead drink plenty of water and unsweetened
tea or coffee.”
Need to lose weight? Call or visit our website to hear more about our Healthy
Concepts HMR program, voted No. 1 best, fast weight loss diet program
according to US News and World Report for 2016:
www.stjudeheritagehealthcare.hmrdiet.com or (714) 446-5154.
Learn more about
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE. Learn more about
St. Joseph Health.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.