It’s becoming more and more evident that drinking sugar sweetened beverages regularly are tied to increased weight and risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.  But, are they the REAL problem?

Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are any drinks with sugar added into them.  These include soda pop, sweetened iced tea, lemonades, fruit punches, etc.  These drinks are high in calories and taste very sweet.  They contain mostly sugar, and not much else.  

I’ll be honest, I enjoy a sugar sweetened beverage as much as anyone.  They are refreshing, tasty, and are sometimes more appetizing than unsweetened tap water.  I do drink them from time to time.  Like I said in one of my earlier posts, no food is inherently “good” or “bad”. 

So, what’s the catch?  These drinks are packed with sugar and calories.  They do not fill you up as much as normal food, so you drink more.  Here’s the real problem: we drink WAY too many SSBs.

Soda pop was introduced in the 1950s in only 6.5 ounce bottles.  The prevalence of weight gain and diabetes back then were nowhere near where they are today.  Now, we can buy them in 12 ounce cans, big gulps, and 20 ounce, 1 liter, and 2 liter bottles.  Restaurant chains even offer small, medium, large, and extra large drinks.  Even the small drinks are 12-16 ounces of soda pop!  I have met people who drink a 2 liter of soda pop each and every day,

So, what can we do?  I’m not going to tell you to give up these drinks entirely.  Giving up something we like is very difficult.  But, we can definitely cut down on them.  I think these drinks should be reserved to only special occasions.  But, I can’t ask you to do that.  How about switching out a can a day for some water?  That would instantly cut 250 calories from your day.  Remember, small changes make a difference in a year!

As always, trust your gut!

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