I have heard it hundreds of times: “I replaced pop with juice/lemonade/iced tea/etc.” When soda is someone’s “go to” drink, a change like that is a big deal, and should be congratulated; but, it is important to think about whether the replacement is making a positive step, a lateral move, or if it is actually moving backwards!
So, why do we worry about soda/pop/coke in the first place? Well, for those of us managing blood sugar, it is obvious that the added sugar is a concern; and, any time we add sugar, we add empty Calories, which can slow or even reverse weight loss if we don’t watch portion sizes.
If sugar/carbohydrates and Calories are the concern with pop, then shouldn’t we be looking at the nutrition labels of the replacements to determine whether or not we are going in the right direction?
So, let’s compare 8 oz. (1 cup) of coke vs. 8 oz. of iced tea, lemonade, Gatorade, and juices.
27 g carbohydrate
30 g carbohydrate
22 g carbohydrate
27 g carbohydrate
14 g carbohydrate
And this one is my favorite because of how surprising it is! This is a Naked Juice, which are all labeled as “No Sugar Added”:
40 g carbohydrate
Now, to put this into perspective, meals should be about 500 Calories and 45-60 g carbohydrate and snacks 100-200 Calories and 15-30 g carbohydrate. Have just one cup of any of these drinks, and you’re at the top of the sugar (carbohydrate) allowance for a snack!
Is it possible to fit these drinks into a day? Well, yes; as long as the carbohydrates coming from the rest of the meal/snack are limited to keep it within your recommended range.
“Diet” or “sugar-free” drinks won’t have any of the Calories or carbohydrates that these do. Take a look at the nutrition label of your favorite drinks. How do they compare? Have you found any better replacements? My favorite is Crystal Light Pink Lemonade