The benefits of limiting sugary beverages

About half of the added sugar Americans consume each day comes from beverages, according to Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a video interview published by Medpage Today on September 23, 2016, Hu outlined the public health case against sugary beverages—they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cavities—and offered recommendations for healthier sipping.

There is conflicting evidence on the healthiness of diet soda, Hu said. While short-term studies have shown that swapping it for full calorie soda can reduce weight and body fat, over the long term, diet soda may increase risk of diabetes and heart disease. Water, coffee, and tea are better choices, Hu said.

While fruit juices do contain some beneficial nutrients, they can also contain high amounts of sugar and calories, Hu said. He recommends limiting juice consumption, and instead eating whole fruits, which pass more slowly through the digestive system and cause less of a spike in blood sugar. For children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than six ounces of fruit juices per day. While there are no official recommendations for adults, Hu suggests drinking no more than three or four glasses of 100% juices per week.

Watch Medpage Today interview: Facts on Americans’ love affair with sweetened drinks

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Daily sugary drink habit increases risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke (Harvard Chan School News)

Read more stories about sugary beverages from Harvard Chan School News