Cut it out!

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Health
Tags: , , , , ,

If you do just one thing this year, give up soft drinks, all drinks with added sugar, and all drinks with artificial things in them (such as “vitamin waters”), and don’t allow your children to drink them, either. This could easily be the single most healthy thing you could do for your family.

I recently finished a wonderful and horrifying book called we the EATERS, by Ellen Gustafson. More on that in a later post. But the statistics she cites and that I’ve seen in other places are horrifying.

  • The amount of added sugar (not naturally occurring sugar in food or dairy products) that we ingest yearly has risen from 6.3 pounds/person/year in 1822 to over 100 pounds/person/year today. Between 1980 and 2005, the increase was 18%.
  • Ahh, desserts you say. But no. Almost half of the added sugar comes from sweetened pop/soda/soft drinks, energy and sport drinks, and fruit drinks.
  • A large soda from a fast food restaurant has between 17 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar, over three times the amount recommended for women by the American Heart Association and double that for men.
  • Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories for teens (226 on average/day.)

What else has risen during this time period and has been shown to be tied to this inrcease? Heart attacks, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other health problems. Studies also show that when we consume sugary drinks, we tend to eat more; hence the low price of them in restaurants, fast food or otherwise.

What’s bad for adults is worse for children with their smaller size and growth yet to go. We take pop out of schools, yet allow chocolate milk (take a look at the sugar content) and sports drinks. Prices kept low means that low-income families can easily afford these drinks, much to the detriment of their health.

The good news? Soda consumption has dropped.

The bad news? What’s being offered instead is just as bad. The companies who sell pop are now putting out “healthy” tea drinks and enhanced water drinks that are filled with sugar. A 20 oz. SoBe green tea has over 12 teaspoons of added sugar. The coffee drinks offered at Starbucks and other places that well them are crammed full of sugar.

More bad news. Soda consumption has spread around the world, pushing out healthier alternatives in countries where nutrition already suffers. And artificial sweeteners, while less caloric, come with their own set of deadly issues.

The bottom line? Whether to lose weight or just for other aspects of health, one of the easiest things you can do in 2015 is to cut drinks with added sugar out of your life. Check the bottle or cans and you’ll be shocked at the amount of sugar. Remember that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women per day, no more than 9 for men, and no more than 8 for someone eating 2,000 calories a day!

Don’t add sugar to the coffee and tea you consume or at least add as little as possible. I drink tea daily and sweeten none of it.  It may take a bit of time for your tastes to adjust, but cut out a little at a time and you’ll soon be down to zero (or at least, every little.)  It doesn’t matter whether a company adds the sugar or you do, it’s still bad for you.

Finally, cutting out these drinks will save you lots of money, whether in food costs or future health care costs. So my health advice for you for the upcoming year is:

Cut it out!

  1. Uncle Spike says:

    We consume perhaps 1 litre a YEAR in this house, usually just when forced to drink the stuff when visiting others. Our kid doesn’t even like it, preferring water, milk or our own juice from our own fruit. In fact, his school have nothing but water on the premises.

  2. wwalford says:

    I have to agree, I used to drink the soda’s ect but stopped when I had to start buying them myself. Now on the odd chance I do have one I battle to finish a 330ml can because it is just to sweet and you feel sick afterwards. Some good advice. Good luck everyone that does this.

  3. nowathome says:

    I have done that a while ago!

  4. Seltzer water rocks! You get all the nice fizziness and not a bit of anything else. I love the stuff.

    • I’m not a big fan of carbonation, but if you like it, seltzer water’s the way to go. Scary, though, that so many people drink copious amounts of the sweetened junk! The health results alone are staggering.


  5. suej says:

    I mainly drink water, and some tea and coffee (no sugar). I used to have apple or orange juice at breakfast, bu gave that up when I noticed the sugar content! It’s my teeth I worry about most!

    • Most health experts suggest eating the fruit instead of drinking the juice, even though the sugar is natural, because with the fruit you also get fiber. When I was growing up, we had cereal every morning and I used to add a small bit of sugar. Since I was eating Cheerios, there really wasn’t much added sugar. One day I stopped with the added sugar and never missed it. Now I make my own granola. The recipe uses honey and not that much for the amount it makes, so I’m happy. Can’t really eat things that are too sweet, which is good. 🙂


  6. Honie Briggs says:

    I am glad that you shared this information. I don’t drink soda, but my husband does. It is always in the house. It takes up room in the fridge and causes me irritation on a daily basis for a number of reasons; mainly because I’m concerned for his health. Your right, soda is not good, even for people who don’t drink it.

  7. Good points. And worse yet, many of the low-fat-no-fat snack foods contain extra sugar to make up for the lost flavor and texture that fat used to provide.

    • Very true, Sharon. Yet it seems that the drinks are worse, especially since people who drink them tend to eat more…and often junk/snack food. All of them should be given up and real food and drink used instead, not that all real food is good for you, but better than these.

  8. Helen C says:

    Another great advice. I don’t drink soda either, but I do make apple, carrot, celery juice. ;-( Helen

  9. I’ve been drinking water and herbal teas for quite a while now. No sodas or sugary drinks. Even at restaurants, I have plain water. it also saves $3.00 on every bill.

    The most recent fun thing I’ve added to my liquid diet is making my own home brewed seltzer. I bought a CO2 canister and the fittings, and make fresh seltzer every day. Nothing added. Home brewed Perrier – which I love, and cost pennies a liter.


  10. Pekebun says:

    Many Americans are not aware of the level of sweetness in drinks, cakes, ice creams, etc sold here. I came to live in the US 17 yrs ago & my 1st bite of a piece of fruit cake actually gave me ‘sugar shock’. It actually numbed my mouth & I couldn’t taste sour, salty or bitter items for about 1 hr. In a way it was a blessing in disguise because it actually killed my sweet (my level of sweet) tooth for good.

    • Too many people are habituated to food that’s too sweet (and too salty, too.) I’m fortunate that we didn’t have lots of sweet things when I was growing up and I never developed that level of tolerance for sweets.


  11. I just tell folks, “I gave up drinking” when they offer me a soft drink. I drink hot and cold teas with nothing added. I’d rather spend my money at Shang Tea than support poisonous sugar drink companies.

    • Tea’s a great investment, even more so after I discovered re-steeping! I don’t add anything to my teas, either, and drink some almost every day, especially on these frigid winter days. But I even drink hot tea in the summer.