Sugar: The Habit That Could Be Causing You to Gain 15 Pounds a Year
As a doctor, I hear these all the time: “My weight crept up on me.”
“I didn’t even notice it, but I gained 20 pounds last year.”
“I don’t know where this extra weight is coming from.”
For many of us, it can be easy to put on extra pounds without realizing it. While there are many factors that can contribute to weight gain, there is one cause that is often easy to miss: excessive added sugar, especially in the form of sugary beverages.
How Much Sugar Are You Really Consuming?
Consider this: Coke, Pepsi and Sprite each have 38–41g of sugar per 12-ounce can — that’s more than the World Health Organization’s recommendation for total daily sugar consumption of 25g.By drinking just one soda a day, it is easy to rack up your daily sugar intake without even realizing it.
But soda isn’t the only culprit. Orange juice, prepackaged teas and sports drinks can all have similar sugar contents to a 12-ounce can of soda. None of them fall under the WHO’s guidelines for less than 25g of daily sugar intake.
“It is not necessary to never indulge or enjoy food or life. I am unaware of any study that shows one Coke or one cookie killed anybody… But if you are balanced in terms of calories in and exercise/activity out, and a Coke or Starbucks sweet coffee is tipping the scales in the excess direction, it gets accounted for eventually. Kinda like taxes.”
There is growing evidence that all of this increased sugar consumption, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and other added sweeteners in sugary beverages, can increase our risk of heart disease and death. Plus, all of that sugar can add up to sometimes surprising results when you step on the scale.
How Daily Sugar Intake Can Affect Yearly Weight Gain
While small excesses in sugar consumption can go virtually unnoticed day to day, they can show up as extra pounds in a year.
For example, if you drink a 12-ounce Coca-Cola every day, that equates to about 15 pounds of weight gain per year. A daily 12-ounce caramel macchiato from Starbucks would earn you 18 pounds in a year. And winding down with two light beers in the evening could cost you another 23 pounds of weight gain every year.
Those numbers can add up pretty fast — and if you’re drinking more than one soda, ordering a larger drink size, or adding a sweet snack to your daily diet, that’s a lot of sugar that can quickly translate to extra pounds.
This isn’t to say you should never indulge, but kicking your daily soda habit could save you 15 pounds or more every year. Be mindful of the sugar content of your food, and cut out excess sugar where you can — your heart and your waistline will thank you.