Americans have been losing the battle against the bulge. As the obesity problem in our country grows with our individual waistlines, many programs and diet plans have been tried in an effort to get healthy again. New York State tried a ban on big sodas. Voters in Berkeley, California have approved a soda tax. All of this goes to show that people are growing wise to the soft drink problem and have made the switch to other beverages. A lot of people will skip a soda, but too many will down some fruit juice instead without thinking twice. However, it’s not just soda that is contributing to the problem.

Let’s take a look at the nutritional information on some popular drink brands.

Coca-Cola                                                     Ocean Spray Cran Apple
Serving size:         12oz                                                                          10oz
Calories:                140                                                                            140
Sugars:                   39g                                                                           36g
Sodium:                 45mg                                                                        55mg

The Cran Apple juice has more sugar, more calories, and more sodium in a smaller serving size than a can of soda. It’s not just juice that’s the bad guy either. That medium sized mocha you get for your morning coffee? That’s 360 calories or to look at it another way, 18% of your daily recommended calories. Not to mention there’s also 35g of sugar in there too.

So what should you do when you are thirsty? Reach for the old stand-by, water. Water has zero calories, zero sugar, and is sodium free. Drinking a glass of water instead of a can of soda is an obvious way to help with weight loss but water also helps you lose weight indirectly. It helps you avoid over-eating as too often our bodies confuse being thirsty with being hungry. So grab a glass of water before you grab a snack. After you finish that drink you’ll often realize that you weren’t hungry after all.

Soda is the easy target in many of our health initiatives but it isn’t the only source of extra calories, sodium, and sugar. There are hidden calories everywhere. Be sure to check the labels on all of your beverage choices. If you don’t have the time or the patience to read every label, just grab yourself some ice cold water instead. No nutritional label required.