Why is there so much concern about sugar-sweetened beverages?

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been strongly and consistently associated with obesity and a number of related cardiometabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% for every additional sugary drink consumed per day.  And, women who drink one sugar-sweetened beverage each day have almost twice the risk of diabetes.

Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories each than we did 30 years ago.  And, nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks, often displacing other foods and drinks rich in nutrients from a diet, such as skim milk and whole fruit. For example, a 20-oz serving of a sugar-sweetened  soda contains the equivalent of 16 packets of sugar.

Limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages will improve your health.  An average person would lose about 9 pounds a year by eliminating sugar-sweetend beverages from their diet.  For example, substituting water for one 20-ounce soda will save you about 240 calories.

Read the AMA Council on Science and Public Health Report on sugar-sweetened drinks.

Russell Kridel, MD

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