If you’re at a healthy weight and aren’t concerned about calories, do you really need to worry about sweetened beverages? Yes! A high intake of added sugars isn’t just linked with obesity, it’s also tied to high triglyceride levels—both factors that boost your risk of heart disease. And “sweetened” beverages can be very high in sugar, with some drinks containing more of the sweet stuff than you should consume in an entire day!
How much sugar is OK in a day? The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. You won’t find “added sugars” listed on labels, but you will find “sugars” which includes naturally occurring, as well as added ones. Most sugary beverages, such as soda, contain only added sugars so it’s easy to calculate how much you’re getting. On labels, you’ll see sugar listed in grams so to convert that to teaspoons, simply divide by 4 (since 4 grams sugar=1 teaspoon).
Some beverages, such as fruit juice, have calories and sugar but also contain vitamins. So is fruit juice a good beverage choice? That all depends. Get the answer at my blog, “Fruit juice: To drink or not to drink” to sip smarter.
How many glasses of fruit juice do you have in a day? Leave a note and tell me here.
Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.