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Hidden Sugar in Drinks Could Result in 5 Extra Pounds per Year

A study published in the January 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Americans are guzzling down an average of 300 calories a day in the form of sugary drinks.

That's about 50 calories more than just two decades ago, which could translate into an average weight gain of around 5 pounds a year.

For the study, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health compared the results from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). The NHANES is a survey designed to collect information on the general health and nutrition of U.S. citizens. One of the surveys was conducted from 1988–1994, and the other from 1999-2004.

The first study included 15,979 participants and the second included 13,431. As part of the surveys, participants were asked to complete a dietary recall where they listed the food and drinks they had consumed in a 24 hour period. The answers were used to determine how many sugary beverages the participants consumed daily.

Sugary beverages include any beverage sweetened using sugar - like soda, sport drinks, fruit juice, punch and sweetened tea.

When the researchers compared the results of the two surveys they found that number of adults who drank sugary beverages increased from 58% to 63% from the earlier survey to the later one. They also identified that the average consumption of sugary beverages increased by 46 calories daily.

According to the researchers, there are likely two main factors behind this increased consumption. The first is the convenience of sugary beverages - they are inexpensive and available everywhere. The second is that the size of sugary drinks has gotten much larger in recent years.

For instance, when you look at the once popular 8 oz bottle of Coke®, it looks like a miniature compared to the standard 16 and 20 oz bottles we see in stores today.

Cutting sugary drinks from your diet can be difficult, but well worth the effort. In fact, the amount of calories cut from your diet by completely replacing sugary drinks with healthier alternatives could result in a loss of about 2.5 pounds per month.

Keeping healthy drink options readily accessible or carrying a bottle of water with you are both good ways to reduce your consumption of sugary drinks. If cutting these drinks out of your diet entirely proves difficult, try to at least cut back.

You may also want to try to put the money you would have spent on them in a jar for one month. You could be surprised how much adds up.
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