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Healthy You

NorthShore Encourages You to Rethink Your Drink

Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:13 AM

Everyone knows soda pop has a significant amount of added sugar, but were you aware that many other beverages you find on store shelves do too, including ones marketed as healthy? Fruit juices, sports and energy drinks, sweetened ice tea and coffee drinks all contain added sugar at or close to the recommended guidelines for consumption for an entire day:

  • 20-ounce soda pop: 16 teaspoons of sugar
  • 16-ounce energy drink: 13 teaspoons of sugar
  • 16-ounce sweetened iced tea: 10 teaspoons of sugar
  • 12-ounce fruit juice: 9 teaspoons of sugar
  • 20-ounce sports drink: 9 teaspoons of sugar

The federal government recommends people consume added sugar (like table sugar or syrup added during prep and processing) at amounts less than 10 percent of daily calorie in-take. For someone on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that would be no more than 12 teaspoons a day (not counting natural sugars from milk and fruit). 

NorthShore pediatrician Lynn Chehab, MD, has taken on this issue and recently joined officials from the City of Evanston to formally kickoff a ‘ReThink Your Drink’ campaign encouraging people to drink more water and fewer sugar-sweetened beverages. Local organizations including NorthShore have also committed to reduce access to sugary drinks in their vending machines and cafeterias.

Dr. Chehab also did an abbreviated version of her “Sugar Show,” an eye-opening presentation illustrating the amount of added sugar hidden in many popular beverages.

“There is no doubt that the over consumption of refined sugars contributes to a whole host of serious health problems,” said Dr. Chehab. “We want to make people aware of this and also let them know there are fun and tasty alternatives to sugary drinks.”