You may have heard of “diet soda,” but you may not have heard much about its cousin: sweetened soft drinks like those sold in grocery stores and other convenience stores.
In fact, Americans consume roughly 70% of their sugar and 70% to 80% of its calories from added sugars, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a government document used to guide Americans’ dietary habits.
That’s not to say that people shouldn’t eat healthy foods.
They just shouldn’t have to pay for it.
The health consequences of sugar intake can be severe.
According to a 2010 analysis by researchers at Yale University, people who consume more than 100 mg (about 1 tablespoon) of sugar a day were 30% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Those who consumed more than 250 mg (one-third of a teaspoon) of sugars a day had a 30% higher risk of developing Type 2.
Those whose sugar intake ranged from 200 mg to 700 mg (1 to 3 teaspoons) a day also had a 32% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers found.
The effects can be even more serious when the sugar is added to foods that aren’t low-sugar options.
A 2012 study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that people who drank about a gallon of soda a day (about 16 ounces) were 60% more than those who drank no soda a week (about 12 ounces) and a third more than people who didn’t drink soda a month (about 10 ounces).
People who drank more than 600 mg (more than six 8-ounce sodas) a week were more than three times more likely than those whose drinks were not added to their diets to develop type 2.
That means people who drink up to 600 mg a week can potentially be more at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.
The same study found that those who drink more than 800 mg a day are 50% more at high risk for type 2, as well.
The researchers theorize that people with diabetes might be especially susceptible to the effects of sugar on the liver, as the body produces less insulin when it drinks.
The effect is likely to be more pronounced in people who are overweight or obese, since the body makes less insulin if it’s underweight or has diabetes.
“These results suggest that the increased risk for development of type 2 may be more widespread than previously thought,” the researchers concluded.
What can you do?
Reduce the amount of sugar you drink.
Sugar intake can also have a detrimental effect on your health.
When people drink more sugar, they’re also more likely, for example, to binge drink, which is when they consume more calories than they’re taking in.
They also tend to overeat, which can lead to weight gain.
To combat these health consequences, it’s important to keep your sugar intake in check.
“A small increase in sugar intake over time can lead directly to weight increases, leading to more obesity, type 2 and diabetes,” said Dr. Jonathan F. Glaister, director of the Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Southern California.
“So if you’re worried about the health effects of soda, you can reduce the amount you drink by eating less sugar and substituting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods with the kinds of sugars you eat,” he added.
“If you want to reduce the risk of type 1, you need to eat fewer calories than you consume, but you can also reduce the sugar you consume by eating fewer carbohydrates,” he said.
How much sugar can you drink?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently allows the amount that Americans can consume of sugar per day to be 0.8 teaspoons (8 grams) per day, which isn’t too much sugar.
The average American consumes about 30 teaspoons of sugar each day.
In other words, if you eat the equivalent of an entire cup of soda each day, you’ll have about 3.5 teaspoons of soda consumed per day.
That number increases as you age.
But how much can you eat?
It’s important not to eat too much.
The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their sugar intake to 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving.
That is about the amount most people will need to have to be considered healthy, but still be overweight or underweight.
People should avoid drinks with added sugars in them, especially sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
Also, don’t exceed the amount recommended for adults by more than 20 grams per day and by more that 30 grams per week.
That amount is often considered healthy by most doctors, but it may not be safe for young children or pregnant women.
And don’t drink to excess.
If you’re a teenager, the FDA suggests that you limit your sugar consumption to no more than 1.6 teaspoons of sugary drinks a day.
This number is considered safe for teens, but is still a significant amount.
A 2014 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association