The Link Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Obesity

3 days ago | Tara Schmidt | @taraschmidt | Comments (7)

Written by Kelly Hastings, a Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences dietetic intern 

Did you know one 20 oz soda contains 17 teaspoons of added sugar? Sugar sweetened beverages are one of the largest sources of calories and added sugars in the US diet. These drinks provide “empty calories”. Empty calories mean that they do not provide any nutritional value. Since they contain a high number of calories and added sugars, these beverages contribute to weight gain. They can also contribute to tooth decay and chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and others.

So, what are sugar sweetened beverages? They include regular soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, regular energy drinks, sweetened teas, and coffee/tea with added sugar. The average amount of calories contained in a 12-oz sugar sweetened beverage is about 150 calories, which is about the same as a small snack, like a serving of nuts. Snacks will keep you feeling full and satisfied. After drinking a can of soda, you do not feel full afterwards because the body does not process the calories from a drink the same way it processes calories from a meal.

What to drink instead of a soda:

  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Infused water (add lemons, mint, cucumber or other favorite fruits)
  • Unsweetened iced or hot tea

The CDC provides some good ways to rethink your drink!

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What is the best sugar replacement? ie: Splenda, Twin

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@somde

What is the best sugar replacement? ie: Splenda, Twin

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I use Stevia or monk fruit if I need sweetener, which isn’t very often.

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@somde

What is the best sugar replacement? ie: Splenda, Twin

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We tend to approach all non-nutritive sweeteners the same, regardless of main ingredient or brand, so we don't have a recommendation. What foods would you typically use these in? Would there be a way for you add a natural sugar, like fruit into plain yogurt, or avoid sweetening it all together, like milk in coffee?

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@taraschmidt

We tend to approach all non-nutritive sweeteners the same, regardless of main ingredient or brand, so we don't have a recommendation. What foods would you typically use these in? Would there be a way for you add a natural sugar, like fruit into plain yogurt, or avoid sweetening it all together, like milk in coffee?

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I have found Stevia to be the least dubious for adding sweetness in an anti- inflammatory diet routine.
Homemade iced tea with or without stevia or key lime.
Some light tonic waters are made with Stevia.
Best to avoid added erythritrol until more research is in.
Look for a brand like “ in the raw”
Favorite mocktail is Qlight tonic and pomegranate 🥤 juice.

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@bq2023

I use Stevia or monk fruit if I need sweetener, which isn’t very often.

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I found some today! Thank you!

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@taraschmidt

We tend to approach all non-nutritive sweeteners the same, regardless of main ingredient or brand, so we don't have a recommendation. What foods would you typically use these in? Would there be a way for you add a natural sugar, like fruit into plain yogurt, or avoid sweetening it all together, like milk in coffee?

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I do not eat a lot of sugar but I have convinced myself I simply cannot get by without a bit of sugar in my tea. I was using honey until the price skyrocketed. I found stevia monk fruit is good (suggested by one of my replies). No after taste. Which fruit do you find best to flavour with? Thank you.!

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My personal experiences after weight loss surgery with sugar free sweeteners especially Splenda is it caused me to gain weight.

There are studies showing sugar free foods does can cause weight gain.

So, I rarely eat or drink anything with sugar free sweeteners. I do drink coffee black and sweetened with 1/8 t of sugar free sweetener and 1/4 t sugar in the raw.

When I want to coffee splurge I go to Starbucks and treat myself to a White Chocolate Mocha.

If I crave cake I share it with my husband. One or two forks and I am done.
Moderation is the key to life!

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