When it comes to health, sugar is enemy No. 1. Refined sugar, which is used in many processed drinks and foods, increases inflammation in the body and can lead to some of our country’s top killers, like heart disease and diabetes. Although candy and sweets are loaded with sugar, there is one product that makes them look like child’s play: soda.
Liquid sugar = nothing good
Sugary drinks and soda contain no essential nutrients. In fact, they’ve been referred to as “liquid sugar.” Soda is the worst culprit, with sweetened juice and highly sweetened coffee beverages not far behind. Even diet soda and other drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners are harmful to your health. Our bodies were not created for the amount of sugar contained in even one can of soda. In fact, the daily allotment of sugar for adult men is no more than 36 grams and only 25 grams for women. Guess how much a typical serving of soda contains. A whopping 39 grams! Can you say “death in a bottle”?
Because of its killer sugar content, soda not only increases your chances of heart disease and diabetes, it may significantly increase your risk for developing cancer. Increased sugar consumption, especially in the form of a liquid, wreaks havoc on dental health, too. Sugar is considered an addictive substance, and the habit of drinking sodas or other sugary beverages can be really hard to break.
In light of this bad news and with the holiday season in full swing, let’s look at some soda substitutes for your next gathering. Many people don’t like to drink water because they find it boring, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be doctored up to have some flavor while still being a healthy beverage. Furthermore, there are plenty of fun mocktails and other drinks that are a healthier alternative to soda.
If you really enjoy soda’s bubbly fun, try soda water instead. This carbonated water can be purchased plain or in a variety of flavors from companies such as La Croix, Bubbly and Waterloo. With no sugar and no calories, it’s a great way to get your bubbly fix without the added dangers of sugar. If you want to take it a step further, use plain water or even soda water and add fresh fruit to create a number of your own healthy sips and spritzers.
For those fans of the sweetness of juice and soda, you may have a harder time rewiring your brain to accept any type of water, period. If that’s the case, try switching to tea sweetened with a bit of honey. Chamomile, mint, spiced and hibiscus teas are all wonderfully flavorful and offer a variety of health benefits as well. Once the weather starts to get warmer, you can drink these iced for a refreshing midday treat.
Simple is better
If you favor the super-sweet coffee concoctions popularized at places like Starbucks, you’re not alone. However, those beverages contain so much sugar that it can put both your health and waistline at risk. Quickly. Instead of jumping on the extra fat whipped whatever, try something simpler, like a black coffee, green tea or even a small latte. It will take some time for your taste buds to adjust to less sugar, but your body will thank you.
Looking forward to a fun gathering with friends? If you like to sip on a cocktail this time of year, why not try something that has a bit less sugar? Check out this great list of recipe ideas and have some fun at your next gathering while also keeping your health a priority.
Whether this information is news to you or you’ve tried (and failed) to kick the soda habit before, now is a great time to put your health first. Soda and sugary drinks, while stimulating and seemingly innocent, are terrible for your overall well-being. Keep yourself focused on finding alternatives and set an achievable health goal. Find out what will work for you: taper off liquid sugar a little at a time or dive in and go cold turkey. Either way, here’s to your finding a whole new level of health and well-being in the coming new year! Cheers!