Posts Tagged ‘beverages’


Many people are consuming more sugar each day in foods and drinks then they realize. Added sugars contribute zero daily nutrient needs to our daily diet. A few things that most of us consume that have sugars include: regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cookies, cakes, pies, fruit drinks, dairy desserts and sweetened milk. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared. These added calories can lead to extra pounds and have been cited to contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But the added sugar Americans consume as part of their daily diet can more than double the risk of death from heart disease, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon

How much sugar is just right for you? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup.  For more detailed information and guidance on sugar intake limits, see the scientific statement in the August 2009 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association. According to the study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day.

For more tips on healthy eating, cooking and recipes: Simple Cooking with Heart www.heart.org/simplecooking


Journal of the American Heart: Circulation, August 2009. http://circ.ahajournal

Writer Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA

Reviewer: Liz Smith, SNAP- Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.


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Need more energy? Have this energy drink. If you are playing a sport, you need a sports drink. Really, do we need sport or energy drinks, vitamin waters, or fruit flavored drinks? The advertisers claim we need them. What is truth and what is hype? sports beverages

• Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are engaging in continuous, vigorous activity for more than 60 minutes in hot weather. Most sports drinks have lots of sugar and calories. Most of us don’t need the extra nutrients, electrolytes and/or protein as your diet usually provides what is needed. Water is the best drink for rehydrating, which is what your body needs. Sports drinks increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. Low-fat or fat-free milk can be a better option to drink when engaging in sports or physical activity to regain what you have lost.

• Energy drinks are not needed and may over-stimulate the cardiovascular and nervous system causing some detrimental effects. Most energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine and other stimulates. Energy drinks can be dangerous for people with unknown heart issues. Energy drinks are not safe for youth. In fact, studies have shown youth who drink energy drinks are less able to concentrate and may have a slower reaction speed. Extra vitamins in energy drinks do not really help your body. Energy drinks have been associated with many health concerns such as increased blood pressure, sleep problems, seizure activity, heart arrhythmia and others. Avoid powdered caffeine which is very dangerous.

• Vitamin waters have added vitamins which are better obtained by eating vegetables and fruits. These drinks also contain added sugar and sodium. Don’t pay the high price tag for these which also increase the risk of obesity. Eat a healthy diet and drink water.

• Fruit flavored drinks tend to be high in added sugar and other ingredients. Some of the herbal fruit flavored drink ingredients have not been researched on children. These drinks also increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, dental caries and cardiovascular disease.glass of iced tea

• Sweetened teas and coffee drinks have added sugar and carry the same health risks as sports drinks. They also can cause sleep disturbances and nervous problems in youth and adults.

Beverage manufactures are trying to convince us that they are providing us with “ready-to-go” attractive beverages. Most of the health claims on the bottles cannot be proven true and the added sugars increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Drink water!
It is the best drink. Other recommended choices include nonfat or low-fat milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice in small amounts. Eat a healthy diet, and you will have the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Writer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Center for Weight and Health, (2014). Hiding Under a Health Halo, University of California at Berkeley, Available at: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/healthhalo.html
Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2010). Milk Joins the Roster of Sports Drinks, Mayo Clinic, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/sports-drinks/bgp-20056125
Nutrition Action, (2014). Caffeine in Food – Caffeine Content of Drinks Revealed! Available at http://nutritionaction.com/daily/caffeine-in-food

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According to the January 10, 2013 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) the number of emergency room visits involving Energy Drinks more than doubled from 10,068 visits in the year 2007 to 20,783 in 2011.

This report also identified that there are more male patients than female patients, and that visits doubled for both male and females. Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of caffeine.  The amount of caffeine varies from energy drink to energy drink. Ranging from about 80 milligrams (mg) to more than 500 (mg), compared to 100 mg in a 5 ounce cup of coffee or 50 mg in a 12 ounce cola.

The report states, “Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake.”   It also indicated that there is a “growing body of scientific evidence” showing harmful health effects of energy drinks. In particular with children, however, new findings suggest that older adults may be at risk as well. “The safety of these products among adults who take medications or have medical conditions has been questioned.”

Energy drinks are not the only beverages on the rise in America. Americans are also drinking more soft drinks than ever. Per capita soft drink consumption has increased almost 500 percent over the past 50 years. There is enough regular soda produced annually to supply every American with more than 14 ounces of soda every day for a year. One reason for the steady rise in soft drink consumption is larger portion sizes; fountain drinks can range in size from 22 to 64 ounces. Children start drinking soda at a remarkably young age, and consumption increases through young adulthood.

photo (4) (2)

Choosing healthy beverages is a great first step to an overall healthy diet. Try these tips to help you and your family have a healthier diet.

  • Help children learn to enjoy water as the thirst quencher of choice.
  • Make soft drinks a “sometimes” beverage to be enjoyed in moderate amounts. Remember that soft drinks include fruitades, fruit drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and sports drinks.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for easy access.
  • Add lemon, lime, other fruit, or a splash of juice to water.photo (5) (2)

Reviewed by:  Heidi Phillips, B.S, Program Assistant, FCS, Wood County Extension.

For a complete copy of the report:



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for

Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 10, 2013). The DAWN

Report: Update on Emergency Department Visits Invo



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Having problems meeting your healthy-eating goals?   Do you suffer from snack attacks? Snacks may be hindering your healthy-eating goals.  The amount of calories the average American eats in snacks throughout the day now constitutes a fourth meal or about 580 calories.Person eating pizza

Part of the problem may be that you can buy snacks anywhere, from the gas station to the office supply store.  The more we see snacks, the more likely we are to want to buy them and eat them.

What drives us to eat or want snacks?  In a recent study scientists found that rats developed cravings to fatty foods because of the release of chemicals after eating them.  Scientists think we have the ability to recognize fat, and we are likely to try to eat as much as possible.  Packaged foods and restaurant meals usually have layers of sugar, salt and fat which increase our brain’s craving center to want more.  David A. Kessler, MD, in his book The End of Overeating, calls that a vicious cycle of “conditioned overeating.”  We see, we want, and we eat = Snack Attack.

So, how do we break the cycle?   We need to start taking control of our eating.  If we eat only at planned meals and snacks our instinct stops hitting us with triggers to get us to eat more at other times.

  • Plan ahead by not having unhealthy snacks in the house.
  • Make fruits and vegetables your snacks.
  • Avoid packaged goodies.  One recent Harris survey found that people usually don’t check the nutritional information on crackers, cakes and candy like they do on canned goods.  What are we avoiding?

Beverages account for many snack calories.  The sodas, coffee drinks, sports drinks and others add calories and don’t make us satisfied either.   Many times we eat something with them, adding more calories.

What do we snack on?  Try some of these foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Nuts (These are high in fat and calories, so don’t eat too many.)
  • Fruits (Apples, pears, oranges, etc.)
  • Whole Grains (Try some popcorn without butter or only a little salt.)
  • Vegetables (Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)

Two small snacks a day (low in calories) can help you control your hunger and be healthy.  Plan your snacking instead of eating what you see or smell and giving into snack attacks.

What healthy snacks do you eat?


Kessler, David A., [2009].  The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. [2011].  When Snacks Attack,   Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, October 2011, 29 (8) p. 4-5.

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