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Skipping just one sugar-filled drink or downing a glass of water instead can significantly reduce the risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Cut back on sugar-filled drinks

Replacing just one serving can be of benefit

Experts have for years warned of the health risks associated with drinking heavily sweetened drinks but it was recently found replacing even just one such drink can be of benefit for reducing your body weight and improving your health.

According to nutrition consultant and researcher Kiyah J. Duffey, skipping just one sugar-filled drink or downing a glass of water instead can significantly reduce the risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Duffey investigated how calories from beverages impacted weight gain and overall well-being as part of her ongoing research on understanding the determinants of dietary intake and the link between diet and long-term health outcomes, including obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

“Regardless of how many servings of sugar-sweetened beverages you consume, replacing even just one serving can be of benefit,” said Duffey.

She modelled the effect of replacing one 8-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage with an 8-ounce serving of water based on the daily dietary intake of American adults aged 19 and older, retrieved from the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

It showed that this one-for-one drink swap could reduce daily calories and the prevalence of obesity in populations that consume sugary beverages. Switching from sugar-filled beverages to water can lower the prevalence of obesity among individuals by as much as 33.5 percent to 34.9 percent.

A reduction in the number of daily calories coming from sugary drinks also improves individual scores on the Healthy Beverage Index – a scoring system which was designed to evaluate individual beverage patterns and their relation to diet and health based on standards set forth by the Beverage Guidance Panel and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

According to the guidelines, no more than 10 percent of daily calories should come from added sugar and that calorie-free drinks, particularly water, should be favoured.

Data also shows higher scores correlate with better cholesterol levels, lowered risk of hypertension, and in men, lowered blood pressure. The broader goal of the index is to help people identify what and how much they drink each day, as drinking habits can impact eating habits.

Sugary beverages led people to consume higher amounts of unhealthy food such as refined grains and processed meats. In contrast to this, individuals who consumed lower amounts of calories in their drinks were healthier and more likely to eat better.

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