We¡¯re drinking more pop than ever before. | Naikon/iStock/Getty Images
Eating fewer calories ¡ª and less added sugar ¡ª is an almost guaranteed weight loss strategy. You already know that doughnuts, chocolate cake, and cinnamon rolls overload your body with sugar and calories. What you might not realize is that cutting back on the amount of soda you drink ¡ª and drinking less orange juice and fewer Frappuccinos ¡ª can have a major impact on your health. You don¡¯t even have to quit sugar completely to see results, according to science.
We drink a lot of soda
Soda consumption hasn¡¯t slowed down in the last decade. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the average American drank approximately eight 12-ounce cans of soda per week in 2013 ¡ª at least a can a day. A 12-ounce can of soda usually contains around 9 teaspoons of added sugar, exceeding the American Heart Association¡¯s recommended?daily limit of 6 teaspoons for adult women.
What happens when you drink your calories?
Live Science says our bodies don¡¯t respond to liquid calories the same way they respond to energy from solid foods. Calories from drinks don¡¯t satisfy your hunger the way ¡°real¡± calories do ¡ª so you¡¯re more likely to consume more, even if you don¡¯t technically overeat. Research has also shown that people don¡¯t tend to consume fewer calories when they consume more energy from sugary drinks ¡ª one reason why drinking your calories could lead to weight gain.
Is there a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and obesity?
There are plenty of risk factors and lifestyle choices linked to obesity that have nothing to do with what you eat. However, what you¡¯re drinking also plays a role in your risk for weight gain and obesity. According to The Nutrition Source, long-term studies suggest drinking soda regularly may be a major contributor to America¡¯s obesity crisis. Unfortunately, that isn¡¯t the only downside to drinking soda with every meal.
How drinking sugar causes diabetes
Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes develop when the body¡¯s cells become resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The more sugar you consume, the greater your risk ¡ª it doesn¡¯t matter where your sugar comes from. People who consume a can or more of soda daily are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes,research shows. That¡¯s a lot of sugar ¡ª imagine what could happen if you cut your intake by just one weekly serving.
What happened when 11,000 women drank less soda
Sugary beverages often cause weight gain ¡ª but can drinking less really lead to weight loss? A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who decreased their soda intake over a two-year period gained less weight. Women who continued drinking the same amount of soda per week, or drank more, gained more weight than those who drank at least one fewer weekly serving. This implies that significantly decreasing your soda consumption could contribute to weight loss over time.
The worst sugary drinks for your health and weight
Unfortunately, soda isn¡¯t the only sweet drink you need to watch out for if you want to lose weight. Many drinks, though they might seem healthier than soda, are just as bad for you ¡ª if not worse. Stay away from fruit juices, energy drinks, and those fancy blended coffee drinks you can¡¯t stop ordering. There are much healthier options out there.
Best beverages for weight loss
Eating fresh, healthy whole foods has a huge impact on weight change. However, replacing unhealthy beverages with healthier ones can help decrease your calorie intake, which might help you lose weight. Water, certain green teas, and black coffee can all serve as healthy, calorie-saving beverages. Drinking more water is good for your health overall, especially when you¡¯re trying to stay hydrated.