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Why You Should Stop Drinking Soda

Soda and other sugary beverages are often blamed for weight gain, and for good reason! It’s nearly impossible to drink regular soda on a daily basis, and still meet dietary recommendations for added sugars. Just one 20 oz bottle of regular soda packs in 60 grams of sugar. That’s equivalent to 15 teaspoons of added sugars. In comparison, the American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to 6 teaspoons or less per day. Men are supposed to limit added sugars to 9 teaspoons or less per day. One 20 oz regular soda contains nearly 2-3 times as much sugar as we should be consuming in 1 day!

“But I don’t drink soda!”

Even if you avoid sodas, you may still be drinking too much sugar! Other sugary drinks, such as lemonade, sweet tea, flavored coffee beverages and milkshakes can also pack in sugar, calories and fat.  For example, a medium chocolate milkshake from McDonalds has 630 calories, 89 grams of sugar and 17 grams of fat. A 16oz bottle of organic lemonade contains 44 grams of sugar! Still not healthy options by any means.

Sugary drinks contain “empty” calories, which means there is very little nutritional value compared to other foods. So for weight loss and better blood sugar control, sugary drinks should be the number one thing to go.   If you are ready to ditch the sugary drinks for good, keep reading for 5 delicious and refreshing alternatives to try this summer!

  1. Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold brew teas are a great alternative to soda because they are calorie free but taste delicious! Try iced black, oolong or green tea with lemon or milk. To avoid added sugars, be sure to check the label on premade teas to make sure they haven’t been sweetened. Teas contain polyphenols and flavanoids, powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radicals.

If you are looking for a caffeine free alternative, give herbal teas, like hibiscus, passion fruit, peach or wild raspberry a try.  While less is known about the antioxidants and health benefits of herbal teas, they are still a low calorie and refreshing alternative to sugary beverages.

  1. Naturally Flavored Seltzer

If fizz is what you are looking for, then try a naturally flavored seltzer on ice.  Just like other drinks, seltzer is a bit of an acquired taste.  If it’s not sweet enough for you, try adding just a splash of 100% juice to a can of seltzer for some natural sweetness.  Seltzer is great for a hot summer day!

  1. Infused Water

Nothing beats water when it comes to healthy beverages, but water can get kind of boring! In order to get your 8 cups a day of water in a tastier way, try infusing water with fresh fruit or herbs. Try peaches with basil, strawberries with mint, or a citrus blend with lemons, limes and oranges or try one of these recipes. For best results infuse water overnight in the fridge and drink the next day.

  1. Iced Coffee

Skip the frappucinos and flavored coffee drinks, and opt for just a plain old iced coffee with a splash of milk or half n half.  Frappucinos, flavored coffee drinks, and other blended coffee drinks are typically laden with fat, sugar and calories. Switching to plain iced coffee or tea with milk could save you about 400 calories and 50 grams of sugar for a grande size beverage.

  1. Real Fruit Smoothies

Although many store bought smoothies contain added sugars and syrups, a homemade fruit smoothie can be a refreshing treat for a hot summer day.  Start with your favorite frozen fruit, such as a tropical or berry blend and blend with water, low fat milk or an unsweetened non-dairy milk. Toss in some spinach or kale for an extra shot of vitamins and minerals.  To round our your smoothie out, try adding a teaspoon of chia seeds, ground flaxseeds or protein powder.

For more tips on how to stay safe and healthy this summer check out 5 Ways to Stay Healthy this Summer and Avoiding Heat Related Illnesses. Need help with changing your diet? Call us today at 301-288-1319 to set up an appointment with our Registered Dietitian for personalized nutrition advice to help you meet your health and nutrition goals!