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Rethinking Your Drink Today

How many times will you turn to sugary soda as your beverage this week? Do you treat yourself to one while at a drive thru or when eating out? Do you pour a glass when you watch television at night? Do your kids have a can of soda after school?

If so, you are in the same habits as many Americans, but recent warnings from the Go Red For Women Initiative from the American Heart Association may have you rethinking your drink.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that the average man should have no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day while women and children should consume no more than 6 teaspoons. Unfortunately, Americans are consuming an average of 10 teaspoons every day.

It is easy to underestimate how much sugar is in the most popular drinks. A 20-ounce bottle of pop has the same amount of sugar as six donuts. It is hard to imagine eating six donuts in one sitting but finishing 20 ounces of pop feels like the norm to many people.

And it’s not just sugary soda that is a concern — energy and sports drinks are notorious for deceiving people into believing they are a healthy beverage choice. Additionally, a serving size of a beverage is not always an entire bottle. Everyone should read the label to make sure they are not about to double, or even triple, their sugar consumption.

In Michigan, the AHA and Delta Dental Foundation have launched an educational campaign to teach Michiganders the health risks associated with consuming sugary drinks. The campaign’s goal is to encourage everyone to make healthier choices when it comes to what beverages. The AHA found that too many sugary drinks have a number of repercussions on a person’s health including an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.

There are plenty of healthier drink choices a person can make. Water and low-fat white milk are the healthiest replacements for sugary drinks. Additionally, infused water is an excellent way to add flavor without too much sugar.

Getting kids to make healthier choices and avoiding juice and chocolate milk can be a challenge at first. A recent survey of parents in Michigan found that children drink double the amount of sports drinks, chocolate milk and fruit juice as their parents. The survey also found that 5 percent of children are not drinking water at all during the day.

Kids over the age of two should have no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink a week. Nearly two-thirds are consuming at least one soda or other sugary drink every single day, according to the AHA.

The first step to get kids to make healthier choices is for the parents to start making healthier choices for themselves as well. If a child sees their parents drinking pop or sweet tea all day, they will likely want to do the same. Next, parents should also have the healthier choices readily available to their kids. The goal is make sure that no matter where they go, the healthy choice is an easy choice.

Kicking the sugary drink habit will help everyone maintain a healthy weight and decrease their odds of developing chronic illness. Visit RethinkYourDrinkMI.org or the American Heart Association and Delta Dental Foundation’s websites for more information.

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