The average American consumes nearly 19 pounds of sugar each year by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (carbonated soft drinks; fruit, sport, and energy drinks), coffee, and tea. This sugar supplies ~34,000 calories (the energy stored in ~10 pounds of body fat), contains virtually no beneficial nutrients, and is associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and other chronic conditions. Follow the wellness-supporting tips below to slash sugar from your beverage routine:
Work toward mostly water
- Make plain water your beverage of choice. Start by replacing other drinks with water once a day.
- Keep a reusable water bottle with you. Refill it throughout the day.
- Boost the flavor by adding sliced lemon, lime, or cucumber — take it up a notch with herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary.
Favor fruit instead of juice
- While both contain natural (not added) sugar and beneficial nutrients, whole fruit contains less sugar than juice. For example, fresh orange sections (~14 grams/cup) have 1/3 less sugar than orange juice (~21 grams/cup).
- Fruit contains beneficial fiber — a nutrient lacking in most people’s diet — whereas fruit juice does not.
- Choose fresh, frozen, or canned fruit with no added sugars instead of juice to reduce your total sugar intake and get more fiber.
Sip on lower sugar swaps
- If you drink cocktails, try our lower carb happier hour suggestions — they have less sugar.
- If you do indulge in sugar-sweetened beverages, compare added sugars on nutrition facts labels to identify which is lowest.
- If you’re thirsty and plain water won’t do, or you’re craving a café-style drink pick-me-up, try these swaps:
Make smart beverage choices to reduce your sugar intake. Drink plain water most of the time, swap fruit for fruit juice, and choose lower sugar beverage options when plain water won’t do.