Your waistline will thank you if you swap that can of soda for a sparkling glass of water. A new study found that replacing a single sweetened beverage with water might reduce the risk of obesity and improve your overall health. Kiyah J. Duffey, co-author of the study from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and colleagues, published their findings in the journal Nutrients.
There are almost 35% of American adults classified as obese and now at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. Consuming these sugar-sweetened beverages is considered a key contributor to our obesity epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that more than ½ of the U.S. population drinks sugary beverages on any given day and the consumption of these drinks is highest among teenagers and young adults. There are more than 9 teaspoons of sugar and 136 calories in a single 12-ounce can of cola, so it’s easy to see how sugary drinks can play negatively with our health.
Duffey and colleagues investigated how switching an 8-ounce sugar-sweetened drink with an 8-ounce serving of water can impact the calorie intake and also the overall health. Data was analyzed by the researchers from the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), which involved more than 19,000 American adults, aged 19 and older.
How swapping sugary drinks for water affected participants’ calorie intake, Healthy Beverage Index (HBI) scores, a system developed by Virginia Tech researchers to assess how certain beverages affect health and obesity prevalence were reviewed by the researchers.
It was found by the team that those adults who swapped a single 8-ounce sugary drink (including soda, energy drinks and sugar-sweetened coffee) for an 8 ounce serving of water, reduced their total percentage of calories from drinks to 11% from 17%.
The number of calories coming from beverages could drop to less than 25% of their daily caloric intake for those who consumed and replaced even more sugary drinks per day with the water replacement.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2015-2020 recommend that no more than 10% should come from added sugar. They believe that swapping a single sugary drink for water could bring it much closer to this target.
So when you get ready to grab that sugary drink, just think of the extra calories you are really reaching for. Make a pact to start off with just one single soda or other sugary drink for a glass of water, and strive to increase it over time. Record your weight and keep a chart to show your progress. This is but one way to enrich your life, and it’s a simple one.