Healthy sips

It’s a change you can make today for a future of better health for your entire family: Cut back on soda pop, both regular and diet. Why? Here are five good reasons:
  1. Regular soda pop is full of sugar. In fact, sugar-sweetened sodas are the biggest source of added sugars in kids’ diets, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those empty calories can pack on the pounds fast at any age.
  2. Drinking too much soda pop can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. One study showed that people who drink one to two cans of sweetened soda a day increase their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. Just one can a day may increase your risk of having a heart attack.
  3. Both regular and diet soda are bad for your bones. Many soft drinks contain phosphorous, which might reduce the amount of calcium your bones absorb, says the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The jury is still out, but better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Diet soda is no better for you than regular when it comes to your heart. Middle-age adults who drank more than one soft drink a day – diet or regular – had a 40 percent greater rate of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Older women who drink two or more cans of diet soda a day are at increased risk of having a heart attack, too.
  5. Diet soda pop may also damage your kidneys, especially diet colas, if you drink two or more servings a day.

Kick the soda habit

As with anything else, moderation is key. Shaekira Collins, a registered dietitian at Providence Sacred Heart, suggests these strategies to help you and your family cut back on or cut out soda pop completely. 

  • Instead of sugar-sweetened soda, liven up water or unsweetened sparkling water with a slice of fresh fruit, cucumber or herbs such as mint.
  • Swap your sugary drinks for unsweetened iced tea. Just go easy on the caffeine.
  • Don’t keep soda pop in the house, so your kids won’t get used to drinking it regularly.
  • If you are clamoring for something sweet, mix fruit juice and sparkling water. Remember: Fruit juice is high in sugar and calories, too, so don’t overdo it.
  • Parents, lead by example. “Your kids will drink what they see you drinking,” Collins says.