Many of us fall into the slump of drinking soda and juice in college. Numerous varieties of each are offered to us daily in our dining halls alone — how could we not? Soda and juice are easily accessible, and sometimes it feels as though we really need that extra burst of sugar-infused energy to keep us awake at 2 a.m. when finishing that paper due the next morning.
Recent studies, though, are finding that excessive soda and juice drinkers are more susceptible to weight gain over a prolonged period of time. Researchers are even finding that children who began consuming one or more sugar-sweetened beverage, or “SSB”, by the age of 4 had more weight gain than their water-drinking counterparts. This weight gain followed many of those children who consumed more than one SSB a day throughout their childhoods. The study also found that parents were not truly, consciously aware that the SSBs were a substantial factor in the weight gain of their children. So maybe it isn’t our faults for wanting to consume SSBs such as soda and juice on a daily basis, maybe it’s because it has been ingrained in our daily routines since our first childhood memories.
Thankfully, with a little but of added effort, there is always a way cut down on the SSBs and add water intake without feeling as though you are extracting flavor from your drinks. Let’s face it, we not only love SSBs because of the sugar rush they give us, but also because they taste delicious. If you are not satisfied drinking a solid eight glasses of plain water a day, add some flavor to your water. Some fun and delicious additives to your water can be slices of cucumbers, half a juiced lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, or raspberries and mint leaves. If you feel as though you are still craving more flavor in your water than opt for the numerous amounts of non-sugar flavored water or seltzers in your local grocery store. Natural flavoring is added to these beverages without adding the sugar content and they taste delicious.
Now I am not saying to cut all SSBs out of your diet, but cutting down on the amount consumed, especially if you have more than one a day, will result in weight loss without much effort involved. For example, one of my best friends, Mark, a daily SSB drinker consuming at least 2-3 16 oz. bottles of Coca-Cola a day, gave up soda for 10 weeks and lost 12 pounds. Let me repeat that, 12 pounds! He did not change anything in his diet or daily routine. All he did was drink more water and stopped drinking soda for that amount of time. If he can do it, I have faith that you can do it, too! Just remember, drinking your recommended eight glasses of water a day doesn’t have to be boring, add some flavor.
By Marisa Malanga