How to Make Healthier Drink Choices

Our drink choices undoubtedly impact health. Beverages are the number one source of added sugar in the diet, which increases risk of tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Empty calories and added sugar may be hiding in some of your favorite drinks. In this article, I will discuss how to make healthier beverage choices to impact health positively.

In the video below, Amanda Haney provides tips on how to successfully drink healthy beverages.

Continue reading for more information. 

How much sugar is in your drink

Many popular drinks are full of added sugars. In fact, you may be surprised to find out that most contain more than your recommended amount of sugar for the entire day!

For example: 

  • One 16 oz Monster energy drink contains 50 grams of added sugar.
  • A 20 oz bottle of Pepsi contains 70 grams of added sugar.
  • One 20 oz bottle of a Gatorade contains 35 grams of sugar.

RELATED: Natural Flavors In Food: 5 Critical Questions To Consider

A 20 ounce bottle of Pepsi contains A LOT of sugar!

Daily sugar recommendations

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar for women and 36 grams of added sugar for men. Therefore, read your food labels to see how much sugar is in your favorite beverages. If you’re consuming too much sugar, make the switch to a healthier sugar-free alternative.

Soft drinks are sold in up to 40 ounce portions.

Pay attention to portion sizes

Most nutrition labels show the amount of sugar for an 8 oz serving. The problem with this is that most popular drinks are sold in much larger portions.

For example:

  • Barista coffees are often sold in a 20 oz portion.
  • Sports drinks are routinely sold in a 30 oz portion.
  • And soft drinks are sold in up to 40 oz portions.

If you are finding it difficult to cut out your favorite sugary beverages completely, consider reducing your portion size to an 8-ounce glass. In doing so, you are taking the right steps towards decreasing your sugar and calorie intake!

Here are 4 tips to help you successfully drink healthy beverages:

1) Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day

When you start to get thirsty, it will be right within your reach!

2) Keep the sugar-sweetened beverages out of your home

Instead, stock your fridge with a jug of water or individual bottles to grab and go.

3) If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding slices of lime or lemon

Cucumber, watermelon, mint, or ginger can also be flavorful water additions.

4) Try adding a splash of 100% fruit juice to regular or sparkling water for a low-calorie drink

Remember, what you drink is just as important as what you eat! Know how much sugar your drink contains, reduce portion sizes of unhealthy beverages, and make the switch to water or sugar-free drinks to maximize your health. Simple swaps make a massive difference! 

Meet with your registered dietitian to learn more about managing the sugar in your diet and healthy lifestyle changes.

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Amanda Haney, MS, RD, CNSC
Hi, my name is Amanda Haney. I am a registered dietitian, board-certified nutrition support clinician, Cal State Long Beach alumnae, and former pediatric clinical dietitian. Currently, I am working as a project manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinical dietitian or in my current role, my passion is working in a diverse setting with a variety of teams in order to improve patient outcomes and achieve better health for the families in my community. I became a dietitian because I love food and I love medicine. There is so much misinformation about nutrition in the media, so I enjoy creating educational content that makes nutrition simple and to make your health goals achievable. In my free time, I love soaking up the beauty at the beach, riding my bike, staying active, cooking, and, most of all, spending time with my family and friends!

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