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Rethink Your Drink

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Did you know?

36% of added sugars in American diets come from sugar sweetened beverages like juice drinks, soda, sport and energy drinks, coffee and sweetened teas!

Consuming too much sugar sweetened beverages not only add unnecessary calories but can increase your risk for to Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Obesity. Sugary drinks are one of the largest contributors to added sugars in our diets, accounting for 22 percent of the empty calories consumed by children and teens.

Quick Facts

  • There are:
    • 16‐18 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 oz. soda
    • Over 4 teaspoons of sugar in 16 oz. Café Latte
    • Over 8 teaspoons of sugar in 20 oz. Sports Drink
  • Drinking one soda per day can lead to an extra weight gain of 25 pounds per year
  • Soda contains phosphoric acid which damages teeth and bones
  • Ordering water in a restaurant once a week can save about $78 per year
  • Most adults need 8-10 glasses of fluid daily to remain hydrated

Most people try to lower their calorie intake by focusing on food, but another way to lower calories is to think about what you drink. Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious when looking at the ingredients list. For example, fruit juice is more nutritious than soda, but it is just as high in calories.

Some common sweeteners found in beverages are listed below. If these ingredients appear on the nutrition label of your favorite beverage, be careful how much of this beverage you drink!

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup

GO, SLOW, and WHOA Beverages

Traffic light

Use this chart as a guide to help you and your family make smart beverage choices. Post it on your refrigerator at home, or take it with you to the store when you shop.

GO beverages: Drink almost anytime

  • Water
  • Fat-free milk
  • 1% low-fat milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Diet soda
  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Diet iced tea and lemonade

SLOW beverages: Drink sometimes or less often

  • 2% low-fat milk
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Sports drinks

WHOA beverages: Drink only once in a while or for special occasions

  • Whole milk
  • Whole milk yogurt
  • Regular soda
  • Calorically sweetened iced teas and lemonade
  • Fruit drinks with less than 100% fruit juice

Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference!

Follow these simple steps to help limit your sugar intake:

  • Always check the Nutrition Facts label.
  • Be aware of the calories in one beverage, can, or bottle.
  • When you drink a sweetened beverage, go for the smallest size.
  • When thirsty, think water first!
  • If you want to drink a large sized beverage, choose water or a beverage with zero calories.
  • When eating out, drink water with meals --water is usually free.
  • When eating at home, serve water or low-calorie beverages with meals.
  • Don’t “stock the fridge” with sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a container of cold water in the refrigerator.
  • For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day instead of drinking sweetened beverages.

Replace Sweetened Beverages with Water:

  • Make water more exciting and flavorful by drinking carbonated water or adding slices of lemon, lime, watermelon, or cucumber, without adding calories.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.

Healthy Beverages - Information from New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on healthy beverages and how most of us consume too much sugar through what we drink.

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