Sounds like a smart healthy living tip, right? Don’t drink your calories. When you consider the empty calories in most sweetened sodas, teas, sport drinks, fruit juices and other options, it makes sense.
It’s a lot harder — for me, anyhow — when it comes to craft beer. As I tend to favor IPAs and stouts (Spring House’s Big Gruesome is a new favorite), a 200-plus-calorie beer isn’t out of the question.
So I made the sacrifice where it hurts a little less: I kicked my soda-a-day habit.
It wasn’t easy — frankly, my intake was closer to 40 ounces of soda a day in college, as I finished my thesis and functioned on little sleep. For my first two years in the working world, I continued to crack open a can each day with lunch.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day. (Men get 9 teaspoons.) A 20-ounce bottle of Coke? Fifteen teaspoons of added sugar. The infographic above, released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, highlights the disparity.
There are also eye-opening images where sugar cubes are stacked next to different sodas, juices and other sweetened drinks to help consumers visualize what they’re drinking.
But when the sugar craving strikes, what can you do?
- Try piece of fruit. Its natural sugars will satisfy your craving while also providing necessary fiber, vitamins and other goodies.
- Try a different add-in. Slice up a lemon or cucumber to add to your water or (unsweetened) iced tea.
- Try lightening your juice. Mixing plain seltzer with a splash of juice gives you the fizz of soda and a bit of sweetness without overloading on sugar.
Have you tried to lessen your intake of sweetened beverages? What do you drink in their place? Leave a comment with your suggestion.