Trade One Sugary Drink for Unsweetened Beverages (Wellness Habit of the Week)

Lots of people insist they are trying to cut sugar out of their diet. We often hear from health professionals that sugary drinks, even juice, are unhealthy. But it can be difficult to kick the sweet-drink habit. We are surrounded by sugary sodas, artificially flavored and sweetened shakes, and juices that claim to be healthy but aren’t. To resist the temptations, switching your eating and drinking behaviors requires a change in habits.

Adopt: Why Sugary Drinks May Not Be Good for You

If you want a healthy mind, sugary beverages may be enjoyable to drink but may cause challenges to mental health. Frequently drinking sweetened beverages is associated with an increase risk of developing depression (Burleson, Anderson, Copeland, Karcs, & Sullivan, 2016). This risk of depression can increase even if you are using artificial sweeteners (Guo et al., 2014). High consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with increased ADHD symptoms (Yu et al., 2016).

We currently don’t know if sugary beverages contribute to mental health issues. Perhaps we tend to seek sweet beverages when we are feeling distressed. However, the high consumption of sweet beverages in either case is not good for the body.

If you frequently drink sugary drinks, you are more likely to have fatty liver disease (Ma et al., 2015). Drinking drinks with sugar may also make you more likely to develop obesity and problems related to obesity, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers (Singh et al., 2015).

A healthier beverage habit is to drink non-sweetened beverages.

Adapt the Way You Use Unsweetened Beverages and Reduce Sweet Drinks

Water is often ideal in most situations, but you don’t have to stick with just water. Coffees and teas (without added sweeteners) can give you a boost without sugar. Decaffeinated coffees and teas or caffeine-free herbal teas can give you the enjoyment of these drinks without the caffeine.

You can also add a squeeze of citrus or crushed berries to add some extra flavor to bland water.

If you use sugar and sweeteners in your drinks to cover up the taste of poor water quality, try filtering your water first.

Attach Your New Unsweetened Beverage Habit to Your Usual Drinks

Swap out your usual beverages with unsweetened ones. Fill your sports bottle with water and a twist of lemon instead of a sugary sports drink. Commit to drinking your tea without adding honey. Try slowly reducing the amount of sugar you use in your coffee until you don’t crave the sugar anymore. Eventually, you may discover that you don’t crave sweetened drinks anymore.

Remember: Wellness Habits Are the Foundation of a Life of Well-Being

References

Burleson, C., Anderson, K., Copeland, Z., Karcs, C., & Sullivan, K. (2016). Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages associated with increased odds of depression. Epidemiol Open J, 1(2), 53–58. https://doi.org/10.17140 /EPOJ-1-107

Guo, X., Park, Y., Freedman, N. D., Sinha, R., Hollenbeck, A. R., Blair, A., & Chen, H. (2014). Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults. PloS One, 9(4), e94715. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094715

Ma, J., Fox, C. S., Jacques, P. F., Speliotes, E. K., Hoffmann, U., Smith, C. E., … McKeown, N. M. (2015). Sugar-sweetened beverage, diet soda, and fatty liver disease in the Framingham Heart Study cohorts. Journal of Hepatology, 63(2), 462–469. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2015.03.032

Singh, G. M., Micha, R., Khatibzadeh, S., Lim, S., Ezzati, M., & Mozaffarian, D. (2015). Estimated global, regional, and national disease burdens related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in 2010. Circulation, 132(8), 639–666. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010636

Yu, C.-J., Du, J.-C., Chiou, H.-C., Feng, C.-C., Chung, M.-Y., Yang, W., … Chen, M.-L. (2016). Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is adversely associated with childhood attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7), 678. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070678

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