The daily recommended maximum sugar for women is exceeded by just one 12 ounce can of soft drink such as cola. It contains about 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s 4 teaspoons more than we ought to be consuming in a whole day.
We know the dangers of too much sugar: it is bad for your teeth, can increase weight, and isn’t good for your heart. That latter reason is very important as at menopause heart disease is the biggest killer of women at that time, more so than breast cancer. Sugar can raise your blood pressure and put harmful fats in your bloodstream.
The diet drink dilemma
The biggest mistake many women make when trying to lose weight is to start going for the diet drink option. This is not a good or healthy substitute as research shows that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks can throw off your metabolism, make you gain weight, and increase your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
And a study of more than 3,000 women showed that two or more diet drinks a day can be hard on your kidney too.
Water is your friend
No calories, no sugar and helpful for you in many ways. Staying hydrated keep your body the right temperature (also helps with those hot flushes), gets rid of waste, and even helps your joints stay more mobile. Plain water, again not carbonated, is something you need a good litre and a half of every day.
If you can’t bear just plain tap water, then make lemonade with real lemons and a small amount of sugar. Or choose a sweetener and additive free cordial and use just a small amount as that is a healthier option than diet drinks.
Often the reason we crave sugary soft drinks is that many also contain caffeine. Strangely an actual cup of coffee instead is a better option, even with a teaspoon of sugar, about 15 calories, it’s better for you than a typical cola.
In winter a nice cup of hot tea, especially if it is green, has many health benefits as it is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.. In summer substitute it iced with some lemon and a little honey instead of a soft drink from the fridge.
Unsweetened apple juice half and half with some sparkling water is refreshing and a healthier way to quench your thirst if you are missing your favourite soft drink. Bear in mind though that juice has as at least as many calories per ounce as most soft drinks, so a little splash is all you want.
Do you generally go for a gin and tonic, or vodka and cola when out? Instead go for a glass of red wine as it has fewer calories and may help protect the blood vessels in your heart, plus prevent blood clots.
Creature of habit?
If you regularly have a soft drink to boost your spirits at a certain time of day, say mid-afternoon, then you can’t just stop dead. Habits die hard, particularly when it comes to sugar, so be creative and put a new ritual in place with a cup of coffee, or green tea and a square of dark chocolate.
Giving up, or even just cutting down sugar is not easy so make sure you support your self with a good healthy diet that helps you stay well balanced and cuts down on cravings.