Swap Your Pop for Better Health

Beginning at age 50 (earlier if you are at increased risk), it’s important to start regular colorectal cancer screenings, and according to a recent study, cutting out sugary pop can help reduce the risk for early-onset colorectal cancer among women.  Fortunately, there are many alternatives to soft drinks that replace high-sugar content or artificial sweeteners and chemicals that are associate with a host of health problems. 

According to Harvard Medical School, sugary drinks account for the most added calories and sugar in the American diet.  A typical can of regular soda can contain 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar which add empty calories that can lead to weight gain and a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.   

According to a recent American Diabetes Association study, people who drink at least one to two cans of regular soda a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Women who had more than two sugary beverages a day had a 40 percent increased risk of a heart attack or death from heart disease reports Well + Good. 

Artificial sweeteners are not much better. Studies have found that they may cause people to crave sweets more and eat fewer fruits and vegetables, leading to weight gain.   People may believe that drinking zero-calorie diet soda allows them to indulge in more sweets or processed foods.  Some research has even found artificial sweeteners like saccharin may be addictive.

As the weather warms up, it’s important to stay hydrated.  Instead of reaching for a pop, fruit-infused water, unsweetened iced tea, carbonated waters or kombucha can be refreshing alternatives.   For a quick energy boost to combat the afternoon slump, instead of a soda, a freshly brewed cup of coffee or green tea can do the trick, as long as it’s not loaded with sugar and cream.   Drinking coffee or tea later in the day could interfere with a good night’s sleep; avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon. 

Try weaning yourself off soda for 30 days and see what health benefits you reap; it might be some weight loss, an improvement in complexion, a better dental checkup, or fewer cravings.   Cheers!