Liquid Candy

Would you believe it if there were almost 13 teaspoons of sugar in a 16 ounce bottle of soda? Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, juice, soft drinks, and/or sports drinks are just that; they are sugar. Sugar-sweetened beverages are everywhere. They can easily take up a whole section in the grocery store and consume a lot of space in most vending machines. They can be seen on commercials and magazine ads. If these beverages are everywhere then what is so bad about them; what is the problem?

Beverage consumption, especially those that are sugar-sweetened, is related to a rise in obesity in the U.S. One in three Americans is obese and over half of all Americans are overweight. Twenty years ago, only one-fourth of the population was obese. People are drinking more calories, without changing what they eat to make up for those extra calories. Diet plays a huge role, along with genetics and exercise, in obesity.

There are differences in beverage consumption with age, sex, and race/ethnicity. But, overall, there is a decrease in the amount of milk people are drinking and an increase in the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda is one of the most popular sugar-sweetened beverages. One government survey look at how much soda people drink per day. Middle-aged men drank about 10 ounces and women drank 7 ounces. That's 100 extra calories or more per day.

How do consuming sugar-sweetened beverages lead to obesity? These beverages add calories, which are mostly from sugar, to your diet. How much do they add? Well, if you drink a 16 oz soft drink (which is a common size of bottled drinks), which has 13 teaspoons of sugar, that's an extra 200 calories! If you were to drink a 16-oz bottle of soda everyday without cutting back on how much you eat, you would gain over 1.5 pounds every month!

Action can be taken to fight obesity:

  1. Eat a variety of foods and beverages to balance your diet.
  2. Incorporate physical activity to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Drink more low or no-calorie beverages. Choose drinks like water, flavored club soda, or tea.
  4. Substitute fruits and vegetables for soft drinks!

Remember, these sugar-sweetened beverages are like liquid candy!


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