Health Impacts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption

It's not just soda. Many people think "soda" when they hear the phrase "sugar-sweetened beverage." In fact, this category includes fruit juices, sports drinks, sweet tea, chocolate milk, sweetened coffees, and even some flavored waters. In fact, ounce for ounce, grape juice and apple juice have more sugar than cola! Water is the best choice, especially for children and teens.

Type 2 Diabetes

Research has proven a connection between type 2 diabetes and the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. African Americans and Latinos are at higher risk of developing this disease and are twice as likely to die from the disease. 

The good news? Type 2 diabetes is preventable with a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise. National Diabetes Status Report (2014)

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Rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic in the United States of America. Two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese (1,2and the nation spends an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions (3).  A typical 20-ounce soda contains 16.3 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories (4). People who drink this "liquid candy" do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food and do not compensate by eating less (5).Read more...  

Read more for recommended strategies for preventing overweight and obesity.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth.  It can be a problem for children, teens, and adults.  Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form. Both children and adults are at higher risk of cavities and long-term damage to their teeth.  Read more...


Heart Disease & More

Regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages has also been linked to increases in heart disease, stroke, cholesterol and triglycerides. When children develop high levels of triglycerides, it increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. A healthy diet and exercise is critical for child development. Read more...


Targeting Your Kids

Soda and drink companies target children and teens with slick ads for their products using multiple channels from print to digital. A disproportionate number of those ads were geared at children of color. The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity reports in 2013, beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise unhealthy beverages.

Should I Switch to Diet?

Diet beverages may save calories, but many contain artificial sweeteners. Recent research points to a possible link between diet drinks and overeating, so even choosing a diet drink may still result in weight gain. The long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on children are not known, so it's best for kids to avoid diet drinks. As with regular soda, diet sodas still contain acids that may damage teeth. Water is the best alternative.


Complications from Diabetes

Diabetes can cause long term health complications, including blindness, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and more. Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented. Take action today to reduce your risk (and your child's risk) of this disease. If you believe you may have diabetes, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Feeling Full Yet?

According to Healthy Food America, sugary drinks represent more than half the added sugars in our diets. When we drink our calories, we don't feel full or satisfied like we do when we eat solid food. This can lead to overeating and weight gain. Obesity may lead to long-term health issues, from diabetes and heart disease to joint problems.