Sugar-loaded beverages are a major source of added sugar in the American diet, and the largest single source of added sugars in children's diets. The health consequences related to excessive consumption of sugar-loaded beverages are serious: the extra calories in sugar-loaded drinks may lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. And obesity rates have increased in tandem with consumption of sugar-loaded drinks -- which has doubled over the past 30 years. In fact, a child's risk for obesity increases an average of 60 percent with every additional daily serving of soda.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 450 calories from sugary drinks per week, or fewer than three 12-oz. cans of soda. But in Los Angeles County, nearly 39 percent of adults and 43 percent of children ages 17 years or younger report drinking at least one soda or sweetened drink per day, far exceeding those limits.
A new online Sugar Calculator aims to help LA County residents become healthier by quantifying the packs and pounds of sugar they consume in sugar-loaded beverages each week, as well as the total cost of these drinks over time.
The interactive tool lets users enter the number of regular sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, frozen coffee drinks or sweetened teas they consume each week, then calculates the packs and pounds of sugar they are consuming and the amount of money they are spending each week, month, year and five years. The Sugar Calculator can be found at: http://www.choosehealthla.com/multimedia/sugar-calculator/
Excessive sodium consumption is a growing public health concern. The average LA County resident consumes more than double the recommended daily amount of sodium. Over time, all that excess salt can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
One reason that we're getting far more sodium than we should is that salt is already added into pre-packaged and restaurant-cooked foods before we buy them. That's why it's so important to read nutrition labels to check the sodium content of foods before we eat them.
The U.S. Government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans currently recommends that you should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, or 1,500 milligrams for older adults, African Americans and people with high blood pressure.
It's time to be more proactive in monitoring your sodium intake to protect your health. Start by boosting your sodium smarts with our Salt Shocker video series, which reveals common foods and ingredients that you wouldn't suspect to have excess salt.