Rethink Your Drink; Reducing Sugary Drinks in Your Diet

Updated:Nov 14,2014

woman thinking about drinkTake a minute and think about what you drink in a typical day. Unless you are a true water lover, chances are you are getting some extra, unneeded calories through sodas, ice teas, energy and coffee drinks.

Some research suggests that when you drink calories, you aren’t as satisfied compared to eating the same amount of calories in solid food.

So, here are tips on how to switch to healthier drinks that can quench your thirst and still taste good!

  • Read those ingredients Beverages, like energy drinks, can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Also, look at the label carefully as many drinks provide more than one serving, which can double or triple your sugar consumption.
  • Cut back slowly – If you have sugary drinks on a regular basis, start by cutting out one of those drinks a day. A week later, drink two less a day. Continue until you’ve cut out nearly all the sweetened teas, soda, and other drinks from your daily routine. Replace those drinks with the water suggestions below.
  • Work up to water – We often hear we should drink water every day, but that can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Here’s how to crave more water:
    • Carry a refillable water bottle or have a permanent glass at your office desk.
    • Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor.
    • Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.
  • Join the juicing trend –You may have seen infomercials for juicers or read articles about the benefits of making and drinking your own fruit and vegetable juices. These homemade juices can be OK – up to a point. First, it’s always better to eat produce instead of drinking it as you get fiber from the skin and pulp that’s usually strained out by a juicer. Plus, you can drink a lot of extra calories through these drinks.
  • Try to limit your juice intake – because the calories from juices can add up quickly. For example: ½ cup (4 ounces) serving of 100% orange juice contains 60 calories and a ½ cup of 100% grape juice has 76 calories.
  • Sip a smoothie – When you are in the mood for a milkshake or want an afternoon snack, keep on the heart healthy track with a budget-friendly homemade fruit smoothie! Blend ½ cup frozen fruit with no added sugars, ½ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugars and ½ cup fat free milk. 
If you don’t have a blender, mix small pieces of fresh fruit with yogurt and milk, then freeze for an hour. Experiment with different fruit combinations like mango-pineapple or strawberry-blueberry.

Article copyright © 2015 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit