March is National Nutrition month. It is a good time for a refresher on the potential health risks of consuming too many sugar sweetened beverages. Sugary drinks are a major cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States; they have been linked to poor diets, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Soda is the number one source of added sugar in our diets.

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About half of the U.S. population over the age of two consumes a sugar sweetened drink every day. More men than women drink soda; teens and young adults drink more than any other age group. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 3 cans of soda/week.

The amount of sugar in beverages:

20 oz of soda 17 teaspoons of sugar
16 oz of sweetened tea 15 teaspoons of sugar
20 oz sports drink 9 teaspoons of sugar

Some alternatives to sugary beverages:

Water
Non-fat or low-fat milk
100% fruit juice (limit juice to ½ cup/day)
Unsweetened iced tea
Seltzer