SEATTLE – Aug. 8, 2022 – Summer’s in full swing and with temperatures hitting new highs, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, says you should think again before reaching for your favorite beverage to quench your thirst.
“Sugary drinks are the No. 1 source of added sugars in our diet,” said Ruchi Kapoor, M.D., Ph.D., cardiologist, UW Medicine and volunteer medical expert from the American Heart Association. “Those extra calories add up and generally aren’t as satisfying as calories you get from actual food – so you may end up eating more calories than you actually need.”
Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. “It’s a slippery slope. People who are overweight are at greater risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes which can then lead to heart attack and stroke,” Kapoor said.
Drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages not only affects cardiovascular health, but also the health of your teeth.
“Many beverages that we think of as being healthy – like juice, sports drinks and flavored water – can actually damage teeth with sugars and high acidity,” said Dr. Kyle Dosch, D.D.S., Dental Director, Delta Dental of Washington and volunteer expert for the American Heart Association. “Children’s teeth are especially susceptible to damage from sweetened beverages.”
The good news: you can make some easy changes that will keep your body and smile healthy. Below are five tips to help you rethink your drink:
Read the label. Drinks may advertise they are healthy, but are actually loaded with calories and added sugars. Look for these common forms of added sugars listed on nutrition labels: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, syrups, concentrated fruit juice, agave and honey. “Don’t forget to check the serving size. Often one container may be more than one serving size which means double – or even triple – the added sugars,” Kapoor said.
Go slow. If sugary drinks are your regular drink go-tos, start cutting back now. Mix half sweetened and half unsweetened while you get used to less sugar, and gradually reduce the sweetness.
Hydrate with H20. “Water really is the best replacement for sugary drinks,” Kapoor said. “Especially during warmer months, water helps regulate your body’s temperature and proper hydration helps the heart more easily pump blood through the body.” Keep a filled water bottle at your desk or in your car to make reaching for water an easy choice.
Amp up your water naturally. Add fresh citrus, berries or even cucumber to boost the flavor of your water. Check out these infused water recipes for inspiration.
Add bubbles. Mix unsweetened sparkling water with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice as a healthier drink alternative. Even diet soft drinks are a better choice than full sugar sodas.
“As with anything, the key is moderation,” Kapoor said. “Small consistent steps over time lead to better health.”
To learn more about making lasting changes to improve your health visit heart.org/healthy-living.
Delta Dental of Washington is a proud local sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with the Puget Sound office on heart.org/PugetSound, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
For Media Inquiries:
Valerie Koch: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)