Did you know that one of the things that may be sabotaging your health and nutrition may not be what your eating but what your drinking? Many people are not aware of the hidden effects of what is called sugar-sweetened beverages or SSBs. SSBs are any liquids consumed that are sweetened with added sugars including brown sugar, corn sweeteners, corn syrup, and raw sugar. The most common SSBs are regular sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee or tea. The majority of San Antonians are adding 700 calories a week to their diets through SSBs.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading cause of added sugars in our diets. Frequent consumption of SSBs is related to many problems and diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and cavities. Consumption is higher among men, young adults, African Americans, Mexican Americans and in lower income households.
The most effective way to combat this trend is by drinking more water and making water available to you at home and during your work hours. Water helps you to regulate your body temperature, relieve joint pain, prevent spinal injury and rid the body of toxic waste. By consuming water, you can avoid the unnecessary calories of SSBs and enjoy the added benefits.
The CDC offers some tips on increasing water consumption:
- Carry a water bottle with you so that you can easily access it when you are thirsty. Freezing it will give you ice cold water throughout the day.
- Choose water when eating out. This will help you avoid hidden calories and save money.
- Add a wedge of lemon or lime to your water to make it tastier.
Creating an effective plan for dieting and healthy eating begins with a full understanding of what you are consuming on a daily basis. Just like candy and sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages should be enjoyed in moderation and with an understanding of their calorie value and the role they play in your overall dieting needs. Too many people may be unaware of what they are actually drinking and the added calories involved. Your healthiest drink option is always water so try to make it a goal to consume more water throughout your day.
Julius Hunter is a personal trainer/group exercise instructor with the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and a doctoral student at Our Lady of the Lake University focusing on the intersection between leadership, health, and wellness, resilience, and grit. His personal story includes losing over 100 pounds through diet and exercise and he has a passion to see others live better and healthier lives. You can reach him via email at email@example.com and access more information about the services and programs of the YMCA at https://ymcasatx.org/programs/health-and-fitness