How to reduce and replace the consumption of sugary drinks

WHO recommends a reduced intake of free sugars throughout life. The main reason is that its consumption is associated with an increased risk of contracting noncommunicable diseases, which are the main cause of mortality. The recommended amount? That these suppose less than 10%, or preferably 5%, of the total daily caloric intake. With this premise we will check how we can reduce the consumption of sugary drinks on a daily basis, which are often the ones that cost us the most to moderate in our diet.


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It is noteworthy that in the study in which they present these data, it is noted that worries the increase in the intake of free sugars "Especially in the form of sugary drinks." One of the problems of these is that, when drinking them, it is more difficult to be aware of the large amount of sugar and calories that their consumption entails, so they are taken more lightly than solid foods.

Therefore, if this type of drinks is part of your daily diet and you want to reduce your consumption to improve your diet, the steps below can help you.

1. Identify how many sugary drinks you usually drink per day

Knowing what sugary drinks you usually use is the first step to change your habit. For starters, what do we mean sugary drink? A soft drinks, juices, milkshakes, sugary soluble cocoa, yogurt in liquid format, vegetable milks with added sugars, cocktails … The list is long, so the simplest is to identify which are part of your daily diet.


2. Be aware of the sugar in each one

Once you've identified the ones you usually drink, it can be very useful to know how much sugar they contain to strengthen your decision to reduce your intake. You will see it in the table of the nutritional composition of the drink but, in addition, we recommend that you visit the website, which shows the quantities in a very visual way. I'm sure you're surprised …

3. Take those drinks out of your pantry or fridge

Now that you know the sugar they contain, if you are willing to reduce the consumption of these drinks, you need to make it easy. A very basic trick for this is not have them at your fingertips. This will help you to limit your consumption a lot and reduce it to special occasions, for example when you go out to eat or drink something.


4. Look for healthier alternatives

To make changing your habits even simpler, finding healthier alternatives can be helpful. As you know, the healthiest drink and that should be the main source of liquid intake is water, but also there are other healthy options. We give you some ideas below:

Water with fruits and / or ice: putting fruits such as lemon, lime or strawberries and ice in the water, can make it more attractive and reduce the craving for a soda.

Degreased pure cocoa: Do you usually drink milk with sugary cocoa? A healthier option is to replace it with pure defatted cocoa.

Coffee or cinnamon infusions: As a substitute for coffee sugar or infusions, you can add a little Ceylon cinnamon.

Vegetable milk without sugar: If you usually drink oatmeal or soy milk, for example, there are options without added sugars. It's about checking the ingredients and checking that they only contain the main ingredient plus water. That is, in the case of oatmeal: oatmeal and water. In case they usually have a sweet taste, so you will not notice much the difference.

Homemade fruit smoothies: If you usually drink packaged smoothies, you can substitute them by preparing your own. The keys to being healthy is that you use the whole fruit or vegetable so as not to lose the fiber and, of course, do not add sugar.

As for juices, although a natural orange juice does not contain added sugar as the packaging, liquefying it and not beating it loses part of its fiber, so it consumes a drink high in simple sugars that does not equal a piece of whole fruit In this text, the dietitian-nutritionist Julia Jiménez explains in detail why drinking juice is never the same as eating fruit.

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