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Healthy Alternatives to Soda

Each year Americans spend thousands of dollars on what they eat. They often have illnesses that force them to change their eating habits. Many are concerned because of weight issues, or eating disorders.  These diet and health concerns exist in all races and cultures. It is truly a common ground.  It is important to think about what you eat, but have you ever thought about what you drink?

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Beverages are often overlooked in the process of choosing a healthy diet. Many assume that the beverage is an insignificant little detail when it comes to the meal. If you are only concerned about an enjoyable meal then this may be the case.  However, if you are talking about being health conscious then what you drink can carry a lot of weight.

The Truth About Soft Drinks

The soft drink has become Americans most popular non-alcoholic beverage. The soft drink is cool and refreshing. It sizzles and tingles on your tongue as it goes down. It packs a powerful punch to your taste buds, with rich twists of texture and flavor. It comes in variety of bold dark flavors and fun fruity combinations.

But the major cause for concern does not lie in its flavor, of course.  It lies in its extremely high sugar content.  Soft drinks contain an average of 6-11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz serving. The average consumer is not aware of this because the label records the sugar in the form of grams. The sugar content in most candy bars is also listed as grams.  When you compare both labels the sugar grams are the same, give or take a few grams.  In other words a regular soft drink contains just as much sugar as a candy bar.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, particularly carbonated soft drinks, may be a key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity.  

What This Means

If you are having trouble losing weight, then you may need to pay attention to what you drink. In order to lose weight you must reduce or overall caloric intake, or the amount of calories you eat in an entire day.  Remember that beverages contain calories, too. Many sodas contain caffeine which can ultimately slow down your weight loss process. Controlling your beverage intake is one way to reduce a huge amount of your calories daily.  If you are not a water lover, there are still alternatives to regular soft drinks.

Diet Sodas

If you must drink soda, at least consider switching to diet. In terms of sugar, diet soft drinks are a healthier choice. They contain significantly less sugar than regular soft drinks.  When considering diet soft drinks, though, remember that most do not contain vitamins or any other nutrients.  They also contain sugar substitutes such as aspartame, which carries its own unique concerns.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juice contains a large amount of sugar and therefore, isn't a great option for people looking to cut down on sugar and calories. However, fruit juice contains many other vitamins that are unique to whatever fruit it comes from. When considering fruit juice, it is important to read the label.  Look for 100 percent fruit juice.  This ensures that you are getting a complete product. Otherwise it is no healthier than regular soft drinks.  The store bought kind contains some preservatives but overall, is a healthier choice than soda.  Fresh or homemade juice is an even better option. Remember that all juice is high in sugar. To reduce the sugar content try mixing half water and half juice together.  The taste is very refreshing and the amount of sugar per serving is reduced by 50 percent.

Tea

Tea is an excellent choice for weight loss. It allows you to control the sugar contain. There are many different varieties of tea.  Herbal teas provide many health benefits and are often formulated to help in the weight loss process. It is important to consult a health care professional when considering herbal teas.

Powder/Punch Mixes

Powdered mixes are flavored powders that are mixed with water to achieve a beverage.  These allow the consumer to maintain some control of the sugar content.  The more powder the more sugar. Powder mixes come in sugar and caffeine free. They are a good choice for weight loss.

Sametra Gardner has been writing professionally since 2010, with her work appearing on various health and nutrition related websites. She specializes in writing about nutrition and health-related content. Sametra holds a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from Alcorn State University. Her passion for the food and nutrition industry began as a young adult. While attending college she witnessed first hand the impact that food service and nutrition can have on others. She was inspired to learn more and became a health/nutrition writer. Gardner desires to increase food and nutrition awareness of others in her community by spreading the knowledge, and wisdom that she has gained through years of education and hands on experience.


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