Sweet Talk: Healthy Replacements for Sugary Drinks

Sweet Talk: Healthy Replacements for Sugary Drinks

This information has been reviewed and approved by Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP, and Michelle MacDonald, MS, RDN, CDE (May 2016).

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Summary:  Sweet Talk Healthy Replacements for Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are sweet nothings: no nutrients, high in calories and may contribute to many serious health conditions.
 
Did you know that many Americans consume 22 teaspoons or 92 grams of added sugar each day?

 

Daily Recommended Limits for Added Sugar*

Men: 9 teaspoons or 37 grams
Women: 6 teaspoons or 25 grams
 
1 teaspoon = 4 to 5 grams of sugar
63 grams of sugar = 244 calories

 

The Surprising Truth about Sugar in Drinks:

Some drinks contain a whole meal’s worth of calories.

12 ounce Drink

Grams of Sugar*

Grape Juice

63

Coffee Shop Frappuccino

57

Cranberry Juice Cocktail

48

Orange Soda

45

Fruit Smoothie

63

Orange Juice

45

Apple Juice

42

Cola

41

Canned Energy Drink

40

Bottled Sweetened Tea

35

Sports Drink

22

Flavored Water

20

Coffee with 1 Sugar Packet

4

*Estimated grams of sugar per 12 ounce drink

 

What Are Low- or No-Sugar Drink Options?

• Water flavored with slices of your favorite fruits and veggies
• Green tea with a few drops of honey
• Seltzer water with a splash of 100 percent juice
• Sparkling or seltzer water with slices of lemon or lime
• Low-sodium vegetable juice
• Iced tea, unsweetened
• No sugar added juices
• Unsweetened soy or almond milk, or low-fat or fat-free milk

 

Make Your Own Flavored Water

Add slices of your favorite fruits and veggies to a pitcher or glass of water. You can also add chopped fruits and veggies to ice cubes to add a colorful kick to your drinks. Try these combinations with 64 ounces of water:
 
• 1 cup each blueberries, blackberries and peaches
• 4 kiwi sliced
• 1 strawberry, 3 basil leaves and 5 cucumber slices
• 2 cups raspberries, 1 lemon
• 1 cup fresh pineapple and 1 piece fresh ginger
 
Use umbrellas, crazy straws and other decorations to add some fun to healthy drinks.

*American Heart Association

 

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