OPINION

Health and Wellness: Sweetened drinks aren’t so sweet for your health

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

Sugar can sneak up on you. Energy drinks, juice, alcohol, flavored coffee and tea are all loaded with sugar. The American Heart Association advises us that sweetened drinks lower “good” cholesterol and increase fat in the blood. 

Try to figure out why you like drinking sugary beverages. Because it’s handy to grab? Choose bottled water instead. Is it because pop and powdered drink mixes are cheap? Tap water is free. Do you enjoy the lift you get from the caffeine? Try unsweetened coffee or tea. Maybe you choose a beverage out of social pressure: young people often choose beverages because of ads targeting their age group. Adults aren’t immune to peer pressure: consider the millions of dollars spent on advertising beer and wine, which contain sugar. Beware of sugary seasonal traditions, such as eggnog or pumpkin spice latte. 

If water seems boring, experiment with infused water. Simply fill a container with water and add in anything from lemon to cucumber to fresh mint for a change of pace. 

Uncover the reason you drink sugary beverages and plan your strategy. In the end, the important thing will be a decrease in your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes