More and more of us West Virginians are becoming concerned about soda (pop) and other sugary drinks. Every day it seems like we hear about a new health problem that is linked to getting too much sugar. Whether it’s Type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), obesity, tooth decay or heart disease, there’s nothing sweet about getting sick or dying younger than we should. Learn more by clicking below.
Diabetes is a disease that means someone has higher than normal levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Diabetes can harm different parts of your body. For example, it can affect your eyesight and how well your kidneys work. More than 1 in 7 West Virginians have diabetes, and most of them have a form that is called Type 2 diabetes.
- Getting too much sugar from foods or drinks raises a person’s risk for Type 2 diabetes.
- Drinking one or two sodas (pop), sports drinks like Gatorade or sweet tea each day will raise someone’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 26%!
Rethink your drink to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Many West Virginia children and adults are overweight or obese. And soda (pop), sports drinks and sweet tea are part of the reason. Why? Because people who drink soda and other sugary drinks do not feel as full as they would if they ate the same number of calories from solid food.
One study found that for each extra 12-ounce soda that children drink, their risk of becoming obese goes up by 60%. Wow! This means drinking one less soda each day is an easy way to lower your risk. That’s an easy change to make!
Many people are starting to change their habits by rethinking their drink. Join other West Virginians who are reaching for healthier drinks. Many of them are starting with simple changes — like drinking one less soft drink each day. Or they may replace a soda with either water or milk.
Rethink your drink for a healthier body.
Sugar is “fuel” for the disease that causes tooth decay (cavities). The more sugar you drink from soda (pop), sports drinks, sweet tea and other sugary drinks, the more likely you are to get a dental cavity. Having unhealthy teeth with cavities can cause toothaches. It can also make it harder for West Virginians to learn and earn:
- Children with unhealthy teeth are nearly 3 times more likely to miss school, and they are more likely to earn lower grades.
- Adults with unhealthy or missing teeth can have a tougher time finding jobs. And having dental problems can cause adults to miss work, leaving them with higher dental bills to treat their cavities.
Milk is another drink that’s a good choice for your teeth. The calcium in milk builds stronger teeth. And milk contains proteins called caseins that form a protective film on the surface of your teeth.
Rethink your drink for healthier teeth.
What does sugar added to soda (pop) or other drinks do to the heart? A study looked into that question by learning about the health habits of 40,000 men over a period of about 20 years. Here’s what they learned — men who drank about one sugary drink each day had a 20% higher risk of a heart attack than those who rarely had sugary drinks.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars that you consume:
- For children, this means staying below 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar each day. For example, the natural sugar in whole fruit like an apple or orange is not counted as “added sugars.”
- For adults, women are encouraged to stay below 6 teaspoons each day. Adult men are advised to stay below 9 teaspoons each day.
Do you know how much sugar you or your family gets each day from drinks and foods? You can find out by visiting the Sugar Overload Calculator.
Take turns using the calculator with your friends, brothers or sisters, classmates or neighbors. It’s a fun way to learn just how much sugar you’re drinking and eating.