Have you been thinking that you should probably give up sugary drinks?
Did you know that sugary drinks have been linked to diabetes, obesity, and now to a shorter life span?
A study at Harvard University found that consuming at least 2 of these drinks each day makes you 31% more likely to die early from cardiovascular disease. Yikes!
This is a serious issue for anyone concerned about their own health, as well as the health of their children. While soda consumption has decreased in recent years, these liquid calories are still the primary source of added sugar for most Americans.
In particular, kids and teens average about 12 ounces of sugary drinks per day compared to the recommended maximum of 8 ounces per week. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatricians has joined many experts in supporting soda taxes and tougher regulations on advertising.
While we’re waiting for policy reforms, it’s a great time to change our own drinking habits. Follow these tips to start consuming more water and less sugar.
13 Tips to Give Up Sugary Drinks
Drink Less Sugar
1. Read labels
Soda is just one variety of beverages with added sugar or other sweeteners. Check the ingredients on fruit drinks, sports drinks, and other items. I’ll bet you’ll be shocked! Juice has some nutrients but is still high in calories and sugar.
2. Understand portions
You may not realize how much sugar you’re actually drinking. A single can of soda contains 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar! Compare that to the American Heart Association’s recommendations to stay under 9 teaspoons a day for men and 6 for women.
3. Tame cravings
Controlling sugar cravings can help you quit or cut back, so it’s super important to stay hydrated and eat more protein. While artificial sweeteners usually have fewer calories, their intense flavor may make you want more of the real thing.
4. Know your triggers
There may be other factors that make you reach for fruit punch or soda. Stay extra alert if you tend to indulge after a workout or while you’re watching TV.
5. Find substitutes
Replace sugary drinks with healthier choices. In addition to plain water, you may enjoy seltzer or a variety of teas. These will make it easy to give up sugary drinks in favor of something more healthy.
Drink More Water
1. Plan for convenience
Make choosing water as simple as possible. Always carry a bottle of water with you. Keep containers of filtered water in your refrigerator. Ask each family member to fill them back up when they run low.
2. Create a schedule
Invent prompts that will encourage you to drink water. Down a glass with each meal and while your coffee is brewing. Drink a glass of water before meals, too.
3. Set a goal
Specific targets may help you stay on track. Aim to consume a half ounce of water for each pound you weigh or replace your lunchtime soda with a glass of unsweetened iced tea.
4. Enhance the flavor
Make water more interesting by adding fruits, herbs, and other wholesome ingredients. Experiment with lemon, ginger, and mint.
5. Add ice
For a more gradual approach, water down your sugary drinks. Ask for extra ice when you’re eating out. Replace your usual glass of wine with a spritzer that’s half seltzer.
6. Buy bigger glasses
Do you feel like frequent refills are interrupting your day? Super-size your water bottles and glasses. You’ll consume just as much liquid with less effort.
7. Cut back on caffeine
If you want to quit your soda habit but it’s more difficult than you expected, caffeine could be the culprit. Switch to a variety without caffeine and see if it makes a difference.
8. Eat fruit
Water from food counts, too. Switching from juice to whole fruit will give you fewer calories and more fiber. Other foods high in water include cucumber, salad greens, and yogurt.
As you can see, it won’t be as hard as you think to give up sugary drinks. It’s like changing any habit: it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you commit to making the change.
Find healthy substitutes and keep working on it until your new choices become automatic. You’ll set a positive example for your children and increase your chances of leading a longer and more active life.
Do you think you have a problem with sugar?
It’s possible to become addicted to sugar, and it can have a negative impact on your health and life. Get my FREE checklist to find out if you’re addicted to sugar, and what you can do to break the habit and start getting healthier!