A new study that found even a single can of diet soda a day increases the risk of heart disease and liver damage has the nation’s health experts debating a range of new ways to limit U.S. consumption of soft drinks – from taxes on sugary drinks to bans on school sales.
But for concerned soft drinkers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following strategies for quitting or cutting soda. CDC officials noted that doing so can significantly reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a range of other health conditions.
The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of soda per year - one or two cans each day, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. “That’s the equivalent of 39 pounds of sugar in one year, which significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity,” CDC says.
Here’s what you need to know.
• Making better drink choices, like jazzing up water with a splash of fruit juice, or choosing unsweetened iced tea could help reduce the risk of weight gain and chronic disease.
• Be aware that fruit juices, lemonade and sports drinks may be perceived as healthy alternatives to soda but can contain just as many calories and sugar. So, don’t forget to read nutrition labels.
• Substituting a bottle of water for a 20-ounce bottle of cola can cut 227 calories from your diet.
• Adding natural lemon flavor to sparkling water instead of having a lemon-lime carbonated beverage or ginger ale can trim up to 180 calories.
• Cutting back on soda consumption without going cold turkey can also have an impact. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 136 calories versus 227 for a 20-ounce bottle.
• Be aware that the Nutrition Facts label on beverage containers may give the calories for only part of the contents. For example, the label on a 20-ounce bottle may list the number of calories in single serving – eight ounces or 100 calories – so the entire bottle contains 2.5 times that amount.
• For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
• Don't stock the fridge with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
• Serve water with meals.