The number one most powerful thing you can do to improve your health is to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened iced tea and coffee, alcohol, and sweetened “health drinks” like vitamin water or kombucha should be replaced.
Dangers of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
How important is replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with non-caloric options?
Sugar-sweetened beverages have zero nutritional benefits and they are the greatest provider of calories in the American diet. These drinks don’t just provide empty calories: They have little effect impact on satisfying hunger, so people can consume large quantities without reducing appetite.
Additionally, sugar-sweetened beverages appear to be a primary cause of the high rates of diabetes and non-alcoholic liver disease that are appearing in people of all ages. Consumption is also linked to development of heart disease, osteoporosis, and gout.
There’s a reason that cities are attempting to ban these drinks: They are killing people.
Replace Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
If you want to transform your health or have body composition goals, it’s time to put your feet to the fire and eliminate liquid sugar. Best choice is to stick with water, coffee, and tea. If you must, diet options are a better choice than sugary soda.
Here are some strategies for livening up your drink choices while you start to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages:
Drink Citrus Water
Add flavor to water by squeezing in some lemon or lime juice. Both citrus fruits contain the compound D-limonene, which increases the liver's ability to metabolize waste products during detoxification.
Add Sea Salt
Adding a shake of sea salt to lemon or lime water in the morning is a great way to give your water a kick and it may support adrenal function for better stress management.
Adding cucumber slices is another refreshing way to fancy up your water.
Use Stevia or Monk Fruit
There are several zero-calorie natural sweeteners that you can add to tea, coffee, or water to get your sweet fix. Stevia and monk fruit are two that are readily available.
Try Sparkling Water
Wean yourself off sugar-sweetened beverages by choosing seltzer or sparking water. Seltzer options are expanding rapidly: In addition to the ever popular LaCroix, Perrier, and San Pellegrino, most stores offer a cheaper store brand seltzer.
Choose Least Worst Options
When it comes to alcohol, if fat loss or overcoming diabetes is on your radar, your goal should be to drink as little as possible. For other situations, choose the “least worst” option. Spanish red wines are associated with better health when drunk in moderation with food. Avoid beer, mixed drinks, and liquor.
The first step to reducing your sugar intake is to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages. By taking this important step, you lay the groundwork to be able to achieve your longer term health goals.