Livewell Northwest Colorado: How sweet it is not?

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By the numbers

Amount of sugar in common 20 ounce sized sugar sweetened beverage:

Mountain Dew: 18 tsp.

Coke: 15 tsp.

Arizona Tea: 12 tsp.

Gatorade: 8 tsp.

Vitamin Water: 8 tsp.

Starbucks Frappuccino: 16 tsp.

In Routt County, 82 percent of students and 71 percent of adults surveyed reported drinking one or more sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) every day. A SSB includes all beverages containing added sugar and includes soda, less than 100 percent fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees.

The “0” component of the 5-2-1-0 message reminds us to drink “0” sugar-sweetened beverages each day.

Did you know:

■ 30 percent of all calories consumed daily are from SSBs.

■ SSBs are the No. 1 source of sugar in the American diet for children and adults.

■ SSBs are the third-highest source of children’s calories overall.

■ Drinking just one additional SSB every day increases a child’s odds of becoming overweight.

■ U.S. teens drink two times as much soda as milk.

■ Drinking just one 20-ounce bottle of soda each day for a year can result in gaining 10 extra pounds.

■ Companies spend more to market SSBs to children and adolescents than any other food category.

Hydration substitutes are heavily marketed, and it can be confusing what benefits they provide for your body’s functioning.

Sports drinks are flavored beverages that usually contain sugar, minerals and electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium and calcium). Some examples are Gatorade, Powerade, Accelerade, All Sport Body quencher, Propel and Vitamin Water. Most people do not need these. They are recommended only when you have been doing intense physical activity for an hour or longer (e.g., high-intensity sports such as soccer or long-distance running).

Energy drinks are flavored beverages that typically contain stimulants such as caffeine and other compounds along with sugar, added vitamins and minerals and maybe even protein. Some examples are Monster, Red Bull, Power Trip, Rockstar and Jolt. Drinking these could cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, trouble sleeping, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, upset stomach and even caffeine toxicity. Children and adolescents should never have energy drinks.

Make water your first beverage of choice. Save money and improve your health by incorporating more water and less SSBs into your day with these three easy suggestions:

■ Carry a reusable bottle of water with you at all times;

■ Serve only water at meetings; and

■ Order water when you are eating out.

Let’s work together to make Routt County the healthiest County in Colorado by drinking “0” SSBs each day.

Barb Parnell, of LiveWell Northwest Colorado Community, can be reached at livewellbparnell@gmail.com.

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