It’s my favorite season- summer. With that brings lots of childhood memories of drinking lemonade and eating frozen ices and ice cream while sitting on the curb with friends. Oh how times have changed. Our parents had no idea that some of these products contained an excessive amount of sugar. While sugars are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them, they are very caloric and provide little nutritional value.
Nowadays, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we restrict our daily intake of sugar to 5-10 teaspoons at all stages of life to reduce the risk of obesity and cavities. That’s less than 10% of our daily caloric intake. If possible, less than 5% is ideal. That glass of lemonade I drank regularly as a kid had 20 grams of sugar, which is 5 teaspoons. So I was drinking my recommended allowance of added sugar for the day in just one glass.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumption of sugary beverages accounts for almost half of all added sugars consumed by Americans. To satiate that sweet tooth and to stay hydrated during the summer, low calorie sweetened beverages are a great alternative. Replacing added sugars with low calorie sweetened beverages will reduce caloric intake overall and meet the new recommended daily intake of added sugars. In addition, research finds that using low calorie sweeteners in lieu of sugar facilitates weight loss.
Plus, with summertime in full swing, heat wave conditions have hit several regions of the country on more than one occasion. It’s important to heed the advice heard all over the news- avoid heat related illness by staying hydrated. Drinking enough low calorie sweetened beverages or water is a great way to meet your fluid requirements on hot days.
Keri Peterson, MD is a medical contributor and columnist for Women’s Health and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News and CNN. Based in New York City, Dr. Peterson has been in private practice since 1999 and holds appointments at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center. With a BA from Cornell University and a Medical Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Peterson is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association, and serves as a medical advisor for the Calorie Control Council.