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AHA fosters and supports community efforts to make healthy eating and physical activity the way of life in Wake County.

The Soft Drink Frenzy–Kangaroo Cups

 I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have been asked over the past couple of weeks if I  heard about the “Kangaroo Cups.” Knowing the way I am, you would think my friends would be asking me to see my disgusted reaction, but it has been just the opposite! These 32-ounce soft drink vats are sold for a bargain price of $7.99 which includes free refills all summer. I have hesitated to even write this post for the fear that I would promote the sales of these unhealthy beverages even more!

These cups are all the rage in my neighborhood.  Moms are calling the convenience stores at all hours to find out when the new shipment will arrive, and are stocking up for friends and family when they find them available.  I even have one friend who drove to a store over 20 miles from her home because she was told they had just received a case of the cups! Sorry to sell you out, my friends, but I just think this is absolutely crazy.

Some may wonder what I am worried about.  $7.99 for a summer worth of high sugar drinks is a great deal, right?  Let me start by doing a little bit of math for you.  One 32-ounce Coke contains 310 calories.  Let’ say that you drank 5 of these per week for one year without increasing your exercise or cutting something out of your diet.  You would be consuming an additional 80,600 calories per year! To gain one pound, you must consume an extra 3,500 calories. 

According to the math, these extra soft drinks will add up to a whopping 23 pounds of weight gain in a year!  That is assuming you don’t get more than one or drink one more than 5 times per week.  Just to add to my point, the amount of sugar in those drinks equates to 5,373 teaspoons of sugar!!!  Only they don’t use sugar… it’s high fructose corn syrup.

I know some of my friends are saying, don’t worry… I drink diet drinks.  I just won’t go down that path. Even though I know I probably should not, I love to drink a Diet Coke each day.  I do believe that you have to splurge sometimes and that deprivation leads to bigger problems than moderation. 32 ounces per day…not so much. There is a body of evidence proving that artificial sweeteners cause us to crave even more sweets. Additionally, none of us are really sure what those sweeteners do to the body.  We won’t even talk about the artificial colors.  We just know this is all bad.

I will end this rant with a challenge.  The next time you want to reach for that sugary drink, why don’t you grab for a water? I promise you that I will begin to do the same.  If you want to get really wild, maybe an unsweet tea.  If you crave some flavor, adding lemon, lime, orange, or even berries to your water or tea can give it a little bit of a kick.

My next point of investigation will be the new reduced calorie sports drinks that are hitting the market.  If we really need sports drinks to refuel after exercise, why are the manufacturers reducing the calories and sugar that we all know we never needed in the first place?

 

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