Swap Your Soda for a Healthier Summertime Refreshment
Sugary and even diet sodas are associated with health problems. So why not beat the heat with something cold and beneficial for your body.
On a hot summer day, a cold refreshing soda might sound like a nice way to beat the heat. But there is mounting evidence that sugary sodas may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of your body weight. A recent study in the journal Diabetologia found that the more soda or sweetened milk products you drink, the higher your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, it found that drinking one fewer soda per day cut the diabetes risk by up to 25 percent.
There was no direct cause-and-effect found by researchers, but one theory is that sodas cause a spike in blood glucose levels and the production of insulin, the hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy. Over time, frequent spikes make the body more resistant to insulin, and therefore more likely to develop diabetes.
The study also found that drinking diet soda is associated with a higher diabetes risk. However, that relationship may be explained by several factors. Diet soda drinkers, for example, are often obese or have a family history of diabetes. In either case, they are already at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Dropping sugary or artificially sweetened sodas from your daily routine is a good idea, says dietitian Katherine Patton, RD, LD, with Cleveland Clinic’s Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Team.
“That’s because both regular and diet sodas provide no nutritional value,” she says. “One can of regular soda contains eight to 10 teaspoons (30 to 40 grams) of sugar, which is greater than the American Heart Association recommendation of no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and nine for men.”
Sugary sodas are also high in calories, which is bad for the waistline.
So instead of popping open a can of soda, why not try zero-calorie flavored water or, better yet, water infused with fresh fruit, Patton suggests.
For a soda-like fizz, try flavored seltzer water or sparkling water. Simply adding a twist of lime to a glass of sparkling water can be more refreshing than a soda any day.
In hot weather, try iced tea made of black, green or herbal tea. Just take note if the tea has caffeine.
If the thought of giving up your favorite soda seems overwhelming, Patton suggests weaning yourself, not quitting cold turkey.
“Replace one drink a day with an alternative drink and gradually decrease your intake,” she advises. “I have patients set goals for the amount and frequency of sweetened beverages they’ll have, and also a goal for the volume of unsweetened fluid they will drink.”