Consumer Reports: Sugary Drinks

Consumer Reports: Sugary Drinks. (WPEC)

More than a third of Americans are now obese and sugary drinks are often blamed

This 20-ounce cola packs a big punch of sugars, about 16 teaspoons. Overall, sugary drinks account for roughly 7% of all calories consumed in the U.S. and offer next to nothing in nutritional value.

Some cities are adding hefty taxes to soda and other drinks hoping the higher price will cut down on consumption.

"So-called 'sin' taxes can work. The World Health Organization has found that consumption of sugary drinks usually goes down when the taxes on them go up," says Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

If you are trying to drink less soda to reduce sugar and calories, what you drink instead makes a big difference.

"No surprise here, water is best. If you trade one 20 ounce soda a day for water, you'd cut out 52 pounds of sugar a year," said Calvo.

That simple substitution can translate into a potential 14-pound weight loss in a year.

And research shows there are other important health benefits of water. It can alleviate headaches due to dehydration. Help you fight fever and slow your heart rate.

Milk and orange juice can also be healthier substitutes for sugary drinks, but in moderation, as they can pack a lot of calories.

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