The Dietitian Challenge: Week Three

January 15, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge – Week Three: Beverages

Welcome to week three!  This week’s challenge: drink only unsweetened beverages.

The average American eats over twice as much of the maximum recommended sugar intake in a day (6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men).  Eating a diet high in added sugars can raise our triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease.  Eating lots of sugar may also contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation, pre- diabetes, and obesity.  

Since 33% of the average American’s sugar intake comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, cutting down on your intake of them can really impact your health!

Cut out the soda, sweet teas, sugary espresso drinks, and cocktails.  What else is left to drink?  Quite a bit!

Get creative with water!

  • If you miss the soda bubbles, try it sparkling. 
  • Add fruit and herbs for a subtle flavor; refrigerate overnight for a more intense flavor. Citrus and mint is great this time of year.
  • Add a (small) splash of 100% fruit juice

Try milk alternatives.

Cow’s milk is great, but for more variety try milk alternatives.  Make sure they are unsweetened.  Soy milk is great and almond, rice and hemp milks are very low in calories.

Coffee and Tea

Drink it “black” or add some milk for a little creaminess and natural sweetness.  If you’re choosing an espresso drink, skip the flavorings.  A plain latte can be delicious!

100% Fruit Juice
100% fruit juice does not have added sugar and is a good source of vitamins, but it is a concentrated form of fruit, which is made up of mostly artificial_sweeteners_notesugar.  Unlike whole fruit, the juice is lacking fiber, so we digest it more quickly.  Drink no more than 8 ounces of juice a day and make sure it’s 100% juice.

Wine and Beer
If you drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation.  That means no more than one glass of wine (5 ounces) or one beer (12 ounces) for women per day and two for men each day.




Shankar P, Ahuja S, Sriram K. Non-nutritive sweeteners: review and update. Nutrition. 2013 Nov-Dec;29(11-12):1293-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.03.024. Epub 2013 Jul 8.