- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How We Are Drinking Ourselves Fat
Here in America obesity is at an all time high. Besides over eating, we are now over drinking. Soda, fruit punch, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages are helping us pack on the pounds. One in two Americans drink soda everyday. In most scenarios, avoiding these drinks is almost impossible. Whenever you go to any gathering such as picnics, parties, or meetings there will be an variety of sweet drinks to choose from. Exactly how do sugary drinks make us fat? Well, they're high in sugar & empty calories. Lots of calories because we usually drink these beverages in big tall cups or glasses.
Calories in Soda 101
The average eight ounce serving from a can or bottle of soda is 120 calories. There are no nutritional value in these calories. That's why they're called empty calories. Most people can drink a 20 ounce bottle without blinking their eyes. After you've consumed your bottle, you have just taken in 280 calories! This doesn't include your meals or any other beverages you may drink during the day. During lunch hour, I've been at 7-11 watching customers get a drink. They go straight for the various sizes of the Big Gulp. After guzzling down a 64 ounce Big Gulp, you've drank 960 calories! That's the same amount of calories in some combo meals at fast food restaurants. On average, our daily caloric intake is about 2500-3500 calories. After lunch you're certainly more than half way there, without any vitamins or nutritional benefits at all.
How Sweet It Is
Sugar is the main culprit in all of these beverages. We all love sugar. It makes everything taste good. Who doesn't like a ice cold Coke or another soft drink in the summer? It's sweet, refreshing, and FATTENING. A typical 20 ounce bottle of soda has 16 teaspoons of sugar. Not to pick on soda, sports drinks are just as bad. Gatorade, Powerade, and similar products are in high demand during the summer months. Brutal heat and humidity causes massive perspiration and staying hydrated is a must. For decades, Gatorade has been marketed as being more effective than water. It is touted for restoring electrolytes quicker than water, during intense activity. This has never been proven. Furthermore, with all the sugar & carbohydrates in a serving is it worth it? A 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 200 calories, 440 milligrams of sodium, and 56 grams of sugar/carbohydrates! In years past, I'd drink two or three of those a day! No wonder I never had six pack abs. Unless you're an athlete, stick to good old fashioned water.
Diet Soda & Juices
When weaning ourselves from soda & juices, we try diet or low calorie products. Yes, the caloric intake has been reduced but it's now questionable if diet beverages are any better. Diet products are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Some of the sweeteners have been linked to cancer. Also, just the same as regular soda there's no nutritional value. Some people actually may overeat when drinking diet beverages. Fruit juices such as apple, orange, & grape juice offer vitamins and minerals, but they are loaded in calories and sugar as well. While better than soda, drink these in moderation or eat whole fruit.
Excess calories and sugars, become unwanted and stored body fat. Sugary, artificially colored, and carbonated drinks also wreak havoc on your teeth. The sugars & acids over time dissolve tooth enamel, leading to decay. Who wants to be fat & toothless? The acids can also lead to osteoporosis, as calcium is pulled from the bones. Besides the sweet taste, there is absolute no benefit to sodas, sports drinks, fruit punches, and diet soda. The ultimate consequence could be diabetes, which can lead to amputations and death.
Ok, so WHAT can I drink?
You should know what my answer will be. Of course, it's WATER. It's the only drink that has no calories, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and won't lead to weight gain. I hear you loud and clear. Water is boring and has no taste. To answer that, companies have began producing flavored waters or flavored seltzers. I'd be weary of those as well. They have sweeteners and are carbonated. To give water some taste, I suggest adding a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. It's very refreshing, clean, and hydrating. The lemon provides vitamin C, fiber, & antioxidants. If you still don't enjoy water, you can try unsweetened tea. Emphasis on unsweetened. Naturally brewed tea provides several health benefits such as cold and flu prevention, detoxification, and antioxidants which help slow down the aging process in the body.
In conclusion, eliminating sodas and sugary drinks is a process. Even drinking diet or low calorie drinks is a start. Sodas are a part of most households like the washer and dryer, oven, and television. We simply eat too much but let's not drink too much.