Summer days mean beaches, barbeques, and more outdoor activities. We all know the importance of staying hydrated on hot days—it’s our bodies’ natural response to reach for a cold drink. But not all beverage choices are created equal.
Why not try to make this summer a soda-free summer? The cola wars are over, and it turns out everyone lost. Soda is the number one source of sugar in the American diet. Americans spend over $56 billion annually on soft drinks, and the average U.S. teenager consumes twice as much soda as milk—750 cans per year! If you drink a single 20-oz. soda each day for a year you could gain up to 25 pounds.
Even diet sodas are high in sodium and can make your body build up a false tolerance to sugars that deactivates your natural metabolic “kill switch” for when you’ve had enough sweets and are satiated. Even “natural” fruit juices have high concentrations of sugar, so experts recommend limiting yourself to less than one cup daily. “Sport” drinks too are full of sugar. Sugary drinks are a major contributing factor to obesity and diabetes.
How to Cut Back
If you are a regular soda drinker try this: count how many you drink over a two-week period, then cut back at least one soda per week over the summer. Try to make it to zero by Labor Day. At the office, ask that the soda budget go to bottled or sparkling water and support each other’s efforts to cut back. Bring the soda free summer pledge idea home and get family and roommates to join in. For a chart to track your soda free days and other resources, go sodafreesummer.org for charts and more tips on how to cut back your sugary drink consumption.
What to Drink
Instead drink water, milk, or unsweetened iced tea. Add a wedge of lemon, orange, or lime, or a slice of cucumber to zest up your water. It will make you feel better, lose weight, and stay hydrated!