Soda pop is a product that conjures up warm, fuzzy and nostalgic emotions for many people. A wide variety of flavors, brands and types of sodas have been a part of the American culture since the introduction of soda fountains in the early-1800s and the first cola-flavored beverage in 1881. Many of us have a favorite brand. Americans drink 13 to 15 billion gallons of carbonated beverages a year — an average of 15 ounces a day. People who consume the sugary drinks regularly drink 1 to 2 cans per day, which puts them at a 26 percent greater risk of developing diabetes than people who rarely drink regular soda pop.
According to the National Soft Drink Association, soft drink consumption has doubled in the United States for females and tripled for males since the 1970s. Males between the ages of 12 to 29 average one-half gallon of sugary drinks per day. Not surprisingly, soft drink companies spend billions of dollars on advertising soft drinks and a major target is children. Just think about the big food and beverage brands that advertised during the Super Bowl.
So, what’s the problem with soda pop and sugary drinks?
- Empty calories. Most soda has NO nutritional value and, yet, has replaced milk in many diets.
- Tooth decay. Sugar and acid in soft drinks can dissolve tooth enamel, increasing dental decay.
- Increased risk of obesity. Most regular soda contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce can.
- Increased risk of developing diabetes
Other considerations include decreased water consumption, cost and regular consumption of ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, caffeine and chemical additives.
So what can you drink?
The best answer is water. That’s right! If you think that’s boring, you’re not alone. In addition to water, you might consider:
- Unsweetened teas
- Coffee (ask your dietitian if concerns)
- Diet soda (ask your dietitian if concerns)
- Other low-calorie drinks and mixes
- Flavoring water with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice
- Low-fat milk (ask your dietitian for your daily requirements)
Remember, with diabetes, all calorie containing foods have a direct effect on your blood sugar and weight. If you’re overweight, any effort to reduce daily calories to your recommended level is a step in the right direction. Instead of drinking only regular soda, try mixing half regular soda and half diet soda. On a more positive note, an in USA Today indicates that Americans are now drinking more water. Since 1998, the amount of water people drink has increased 38 percent.
Adapted by: Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E.
Tip of the Day
Ask kids to become kitchen helpers! Give kids small jobs in the kitchen and praise their efforts. Children are much less likely to reject foods that they helped make.