Your challenge for Week 3 is to swap out 1 sugar-sweetened beverage for plain or infused water on 3 days this week.
Your body needs water to work its best. When you lose more water than you take in, you become dehydrated. Dehydration can make you feel tired, cranky, or dizzy. It can also lead to dry skin or constipation.
Why make a swap? Sugar-sweetened beverages can be anything from soda and juice blends to alcohol and fancy coffee drinks. They are part of your fluid intake, but you get more than just fluid when you drink them. For one thing, you get excess sugar, and it’s easy to take in a lot of it. Sure, adding a little sugar to foods, like drizzling honey on plain yogurt, can improve the flavor and your satisfaction of eating it. Plus, you’ll get a variety of nutrients from the yogurt and a more consistent source of energy to fuel you during the day. However, sugar-sweetened beverages don’t offer you any nutrients beyond the quick energy burst (and drop) that sugar alone provides.
The American Heart Association recommends that we limit added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.
There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. For example, one 20 oz bottle of soda contains 65 grams of added sugar or 16 teaspoons of added sugar.
Maybe soda isn’t your drink of choice. Let’s look at a popular coffee drink.
A grande latte with 2% milk on its own doesn’t contain any added sugars*
If you were to add 2 pumps of a flavored syrup and top it with whipped cream you’d add 12 grams of added sugar. That’s about 3 teaspoons of added sugar, so ladies are halfway there at the start of the day.
*There are natural sugars in the milk. To learn more about the difference between natural and added sugar, check out our blog post at http://www.letsmovestlouis.com/blog/the-low-down-on-added-sugar
If consumed frequently, another beverage type to look at are those containing alcohol. Beverages with alcohol can get in the way of how our body uses the water it needs, leading to dehydration. Since alcohol can get in the way of meeting your fluid needs, this may be where you choose to start swapping. Check out these NIH resources for more information about what’s in common alcohol-containing beverages and how to tell if you are taking in an amount that could impact your health.