While soda can be a crisp, refreshing treat on a hot day, there's no denying that it isn't good for our health because of the empty calories from sugar. After over 20 years of soda being the most-consumed beverage in the United States (and a hefty correlation with obesity and diabetes to match), the top spot has now been overtaken by a much healthier choice: water.
But how much sugar does soda really contain?
A 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew has 77 grams of sugar, which is nearly 20 teaspoons. The World Health Organization recommends only 25 grams of sugar (6 teaspoons) for the entire day. Someone who drinks two of these bottles in a day has consumed an entire week's worth of sugar, not counting the sugar contained in all of their food.
While many people might be good about tracking the calories in their food, soda sneaks in extra calories that can really contribute to weight gain. Research has shown that slowly reducing calories in soda could cut out up to 40 percent of the sugar while weaning customers off of the overly-sweet flavor, but the trend seems to be that more Americans are just turning away from it completely.
The amounts of soda and water consumed by Americans have changed significantly since 1998. While the average adult used to drink about 52 gallons of soda and 36 gallons of water that year, the newest figures show that annual soda consumption has dropped to 44 gallons while water has skyrocketed to 58 gallons.
Part of water's resurging popularity is the fact that readily-available bottles are making it more convenient to choose H2O over soda on the go. In addition to regular flat water, there are also sparkling, mineral, flavored, and vitamin-infused waters that provide consumers with more options.
Water is certainly a healthier choice than soda, but the increased popularity of bottled water also comes along with serious environmental concerns. Out of the 50 billion plastic water bottles purchased each year in the United States, fewer than 25 percent of them will be recycled. The rest will clog up landfills or end up in the environment, where they pose a threat to wild animals.
Given that bottled water is also 300 times more expensive per gallon than tap water, there are many reasons to carry an eco-friendly aluminum bottle throughout the day instead of buying a new plastic bottle. For those who don't like the flavor of their tap water, a filtered pitcher is a great way to swap water for soda while helping the environment at the same time.
(H/T: USA Today)
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