MICHELLE GRAVES: Soda vs. juice, a no win situation

Reducing consumption of sugary drinks not an easy feat

Last week, I wrote about the abundance of choices at the grocery store, in particular the cereal aisle, chips and even produce.

I’ve recently found myself with another conundrum. I’ve decided to give up, or at least cut down, on my soda intake.

When I worked second shift at the Pioneer Group, which owns the News Advocate, in Big Rapids, I used to drink a 32 ounce Mountain Dew nearly every day.

Now I don’t remember the last time I drank a 32 ounce fountain pop, period.

At most, in recent years, I’d drink a soda a day. Not too horrible, but it’s been a personal goal to cut down on my sugar intake. (I’m also trying to cut back on the amount of sugar I put in my coffee.)

Since I’ve been cutting back, I’ve been searching for alternatives to pop.

Once I started looking at the amount of sugar in pop, I prefer Pepsi, I started comparing that to the amount of sugar in other drinks.

I have to admit, it’s quite frustrating. Many alternatives have just as much sugar, if not more. I may as well drink the Pepsi.

The smaller 8 ounce cans of Pepsi have 26 grams of sugar. The same serving size of Minute Maid orange juice contains 23 grams. Lemonade, 28 grams; apple juice, 24 grams; the list goes on.

According to an article on npr.org from June 2014, a researcher said that fruit juice consumption is “associated with health risks because of the high sugar content.”

“I think 100 percent fruit juice is as bad as sugar-sweetened beverages for its effects on our health,” said Barry Popkin, a leading obesity researcher and professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

So, no pop, no juice … what’s left?

An 8 ounce serving of Gatorade (my favorite is fruit punch), contains 14 grams of sugar. That still seems like a lot of sugar to me.

Nestle Pure Life Splash is basically flavored water, and according to its website, is “enhanced with zero-calorie sweeteners.” Hmmmm … what does that mean?

Similarly, Sparkling ICE flavored sparkling water is sweetened with natural fruit juices, yet the nutrition facts don’t list the amount of sugar it contains.

One alternative that provides the same fizz as soda is LaCroix, which is a carbonated, flavored water. Surprisingly, it contains 0 grams of sugar.

However, I’ve tried it … I’m still searching for an alternative.

I’m sure someone out there is saying, what about diet soda? Which makes sense; it doesn’t contain sugar.

However, diet sodas are made with artificial sweeteners. And studies are conflicting over just how healthy those are.

Eight ounces of milk even contains 13 grams of sugar.

It seems we just can’t get away from it. So what’s the solution?

One website I read suggested watering down your fruit juice. That’s an option.

Vegetable juice is another alternative, but can be heavy with sodium.

I found a “recipe” for tea soda, all you do is make your favorite herbal tea and refrigerate. Then add sparkling mineral or soda water. I might give it a shot.

Right now I feel my best options are to drink more plain old water and limit my intake of pop and juice and other sugary drinks.

Here’s to moderation and H2O!

Michelle Graves is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate and Benzie County Record Patriot. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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