How to Cut the Sugar from Summer Drinks

by in Healthy Tips, May 20, 2012

summer drinks
This country is on a never-ending sugar high! We consume over three times the daily recommended amount of added sugar each day. One easy way to drop your sugar intake is to skip the sugary mixes and bottled beverages and take control of how much sugar’s in your drinks.

Sugar Overload
The American Heart Association recommends that women should eat no more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) of sugar each day, while men shouldn’t eat more than 9 teaspoons (150 calories). Studies reveal that we’re overindulging on added sugar, consuming 475 calories of added sugar every day.

Close to 40% of added sugar comes from sugary drinks like soda, sports and energy drinks, according to published data in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  A 16-fluid ounce container of a sports drink has 7 teaspoons of added sugar (105 calories) while the same amount of soda has over 12 teaspoons of added sugar (180 calories). Energy drinks are full of added sugar too, with an 8.3 fluid ounce can of a popular brand containing 6.5 teaspoons (98 calories).

A Touch of Sweetness
Homemade drinks are a great way to go, but dumping cups of sugar (in any form) will sabotage a perfectly healthy drink.  Whether you use maple syrup, agave, brown sugar, or plain old white sugar, it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way.

As a rule of thumb, use a max of 2 teaspoons of sweetener per serving. Remember, start with less and slowly add more as needed—especially since some sweeteners are sweeter than sugar.

If you prefer granulated sugar, using simple syrup can help cut down on how much sugar use. Simple syrup is an equal ratio of sugar and water heated on your stove-top until the sugar dissolves into the water, making a sweet syrup. This mixture will dissolve evenly in your beverage so you don’t get sugar tidbits floating everywhere, or worse, in a clump at the bottom of your drink.

Getting Creative
Sugar isn’t the only way to flavor cool drinks. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add a splash of cranberry juice to seltzer.
  • Add watermelon ice cubes to lemonade.
  • Toss fresh mint into a batch of lemonade.
  • Mix thinly slice cucumbers into a pitcher of cold water.
  • Muddle fresh berries and add to seltzer or sparkling water.
  • Try Ellie’s berry cubes in iced tea.
  • Try one of these creative ways to flavor up your water.

TELL US: How do you sweeten your favorite summer sipper?

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