Avera Medical Minute: How much sugar is in your drink?

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Sioux Falls, S.D. - How much sugar is in your drinks?

Doctors said it may be more than you think and it could be harmful to your health.

“If you are getting the most of your calories from what you are drinking, you are getting your calories the wrong way,” Avera Internal Medicine Physician and Hospitalist Dr. Jennifer McKay said.

Many people don’t always think about what we are putting into our bodies.

That includes what we drink and whether or not a beverage has a sweetener or actual sugar, your risk of cardiovascular disease is increased.

“In the case of sugary beverages, there is an insulin response that tells your body to store fat,” McKay said. “In the case of sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, we think there may be some kind of an impact on your gut health, but there also may be some kind of an insulin response that we aren’t detecting.”

Doctor McKay said those drinks are full of calories and not a lot of nutrition, which often leads to weight gain.

“Once you start digging into how many sugars are in each of these particular items, you start being a little bit shocked about not realizing what you were ingesting,” McKay said.

So how much sugar is in what you drink?

We took 10 different beverages and measured the amount of sugar cubes that are in the can.

We then compared that to what your daily recommended amount should be.

Women should consume no more than six cubes while men should have no more than nine, but most drinks have more than that.

“I think people would be shocked to find there’s quite a bit of sugar in the vitamin water,” McKay said.

Seven of the 10 drinks all have more sugar cubes than the recommended amount for both men and women.

Mountain Dew had the most with 19 cubes of sugar in one 20 Oz drink.

“It’s making you more insulin resistant,” McKay said. “So it’s impacting your body’s ability to deal with sugars in general and overtime what that can do is lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, some of those types of things.”

Ending up with a diagnosis like that can be confusing.

That’s where Avera Health Plans Heart Disease Care Management Team comes in.

“We're actually an additional layer of support between the member and the provider,” Avera Health Plans Care Management Team Case manager Barbra Philips said. “You know they lean on us and we walk them through the journey of their health. It basically does increase the quality of care that we do deliver and also it contains the cost.”

“Knowing is half the battle and then sort of executing on how you're going to make your life different might be a little bit more of the challenge,” McKay said.

Doctor McKay said you should look at how many calories and carbohydrates are in what you will be drinking before you do.