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City of Seattle

December 23, 12:48 PM click here to comment > 0

Cut out sugar-loaded beverages

[NOTE: The following is a guest blog post by Dr. James Krieger, Public Health – Seattle & King County.]

Give yourself a gift this holiday season: cut out sugar-loaded beverages

Let’s face it: making healthy choices this time of year is a daunting task. Tasty treats lurk around every corner. Holiday parties and short, dark days interfere with physical activity. And, frankly, many of us are just too busy this month to put much extra thought into eating healthy and being active.

One small but significant change you can make this holiday season is to drink fewer sugar-loaded beverages.

Sugar-loaded beverages are exactly what they sound like: drinks with added sugars such as soda pop, energy drinks, sports drinks, vitamin drinks and sweetened fruit drinks.

These sugars translate into “empty” calories without any nutritional value, calories that our bodies don’t need. These calories can lead to weight gain and long-term health problems, including Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

It’s astonishing how much sugar these drinks have:

  • One 16 ounce can of energy drink has as much sugar as six glazed donuts
  • A 20 ounce “healthy” green tea drink has as much sugar as four slices of cherry pie.

The small but significant change of cutting out sugar-loaded beverages can make a big difference to your health. Even cutting out one 20 oz. bottle of soda a day will eliminate 250 calories or 16 teaspoons of sugar.  For many of us, that’s enough to stave off holiday weight gain.

What should you and your loved ones drink instead? Public Health recommends water and one percent or non-fat milk.   Instead of soda, drink water, flavored seltzer, or even diet soda.

In the months ahead, you’ll continue to hear about sugar-loaded beverages and their impact on the health of Seattle & King County residents as part of Mayor McGinn’s Let’s Move! campaign and Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work projects.

For more information on some of the current work and the health effects of sugar loaded beverages, please visit:

Enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season.

Posted by: Ainsley Close, Policy Analyst