NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Rethink Your Drink

Rethink Your Drink

                The mayor of New York recently made news when he attempted to ban large size sodas in New York.  While the proposed ban did not happen, and was probably a little heavy handed, the mayor’s line of thinking that there is a relationship between what we drink and our healthy was very accurate.             Choosing healthy beverages is a great first step to an overall healthy diet. Americans are drinking more soft drinks than ever. Per capita soft-drink consumption has increased almost 500 percent over the past 50 years. There is enough regular soda produced to supply every American with more than 14 ounces of soda every day. One reason for the steady rise in soft drink consumption is larger portion sizes; fountain drinks can range in size from 22 to 64 ounces. Children start drinking soda at a remarkably young age, and consumption increases through young adulthood.
                People who drink soft drinks take in more calories than those who do not. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages has been associated with weight gain, overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. A 12-ounce can of soda has 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. If these calories are added to the typical diet without cutting back on something else, one soda a day could lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds in one year.

                Sports drinks, another popular soft drink, are for athletes who participate in high-intensity, aerobic exercise for at least 90 minutes. Most of us are not that active so the added sugar and sodium in sports drinks are unnecessary for most individuals.

                Try these tips to help you and your family re-think your drink:

-  Help children learn to enjoy water as the thirst quencher of choice.

-  Carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.

-  Make soft drinks a “sometimes” beverage to be enjoyed in moderate amounts. Remember that soft drinks include fruitades, fruit drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and sports drinks..

- Make water exciting by adding lemon, lime, cucumber, watermelon or other fruit.  

- Instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, stock the frig with a jug or bottles of cold water.

- Serve water with meals.

- Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.

- When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, select the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-oz.cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100calories.

- Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages.

- Learn to read nutrition facts labels carefully. The label may promote “only 100 calories per serving” but how many servings does that bottle contain?  If it’s five servings, you’ve just consumed 500 calories!

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