Is one bottle of soda a day bad for you?
Natasha Bhuyan, MD, is Chief Resident at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. For more information, talk to your doctor or call (602) 839-4567.
Question: I’ve heard that soda isn’t good for you, but how bad can it really be? I only drink one bottle a day.
Answer: With summer heat approaching, now is a good time to think about staying hydrated and choosing appropriate beverages to quench that inevitable thirst. The number of sugary sodas, energy and artificial fruit drinks available for purchase has grown rapidly, creating a trend toward an abundance of unhealthy beverage options.
This increase in consumption of sugary beverages has contributed directly to the rise in new cases of both diabetes and coronary heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
A 12-ounce serving of a regular soda or carbonated energy drink contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar. One teaspoon of sugar is about 15 calories—the amount contained in a sugar cube or sugar packet. That means one can of regular soda contains about 150 calories of sugar.
The AHA recommends that most women should consume no more than 100 calories (about six teaspoons) of added sugars per day, while most men should consume no more than 150 calories (about nine teaspoons) of added sugars each day. So even a single can of soda would exceed the daily upper limit of added sugar for females, and would equal the daily upper limit of added sugar for males.
In children, soda has been linked to increased body weight, low calcium and diabetes. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no sugar-sweetened beverages for kids.
Sugary products disguised as being more “healthy” include:
- Fruit juice drinks
- Sports drinks
- Prepackaged sweetened lemonades
- Prepackaged iced teas
All these contain anywhere from eight to15 teaspoons of sugar, depending on the brand and bottle size. Another danger is that many beverages are being packaged in 16-ounce or larger containers that deliver even more hidden sugar and calories.
The best beverage to consume to avoid these health risks is, of course, water. The flavor of plain water can be enhanced by adding fresh lemon, cucumber slices, peaches, berries, basil, or herbal fruit teas. Purchasing unsweetened varieties and adding sweetener sparingly as not to exceed the daily limit is a way to have complete control over your drinks.
It is important to read labels carefully on all products to determine serving size, sugar content and calories. Any type of sodas, energy drinks or artificial juices should be consumed very sparingly, if at all - and certainly not daily.