Last updated: February 24. 2014 9:44AM - 1265 Views
By Renee Diggs-Neal | Cooperative Extension

Renee Diggs-Neal
Renee Diggs-Neal
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“What will you have to drink?” is an everyday question, whether at home or eating out.

A normal response would be sweet tea, juice, coffee, soda, milk or water. Did you know any beverage that’s sweetened with sugar is considered a soft drink? That means, out of all the choices you have for beverages, there are more than 450 soft drinks to choose from.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center, helps its participants make smart beverage choices. They are learning to rethink their drink choices as part of the Eat Smart, Move More program.

Most participants are shocked to learn the amount of added sugar in their favorite beverages and the consequences from over-consumption. Imagine a 20-ounce bottle of your favorite regular soda contains 16 to 20 teaspoons of added sugar. This is no big secret — it’s listed right on the container. Looking at the nutrition facts label, you will notice not only the amount of sugar and calories, but also the size of the soft drink container and number of servings. The sugar content is listed in grams. Go ahead and do the math: Four grams equals about one teaspoon. Locate the grams of sugar on the label and divide by four. The result gives you the total number of teaspoons of sugar in your drink.

So here is the really big question: how many soft drinks do you drink each day? Kristine Clark of the Sugar Association reported that soft drinks are a major source of added sugar in a person’s diet and account for 33 percent of added sugar consumed in a day. The United States Department of Agriculture states that 10 percent of sugar consumed daily comes from sweetened fruit drinks. Exchanging just one soft drink for water each day will drastically decrease your sugar and calorie intake. This is why EFNEP is helping Robeson County residents learn how to make smarter drink choices throughout the day by watching what and how much they drink. So the next time you go to pick up a soft drink, rethink your drink choice for your health.

For more information, please contact me at 671-3276, by email at renee@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

Renee Diggs-Neal in the expanded food and nutrition program assistant with North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center.

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