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Sip Smarter: Our Guide to Healthy Drinks

Your favorite thirst quencher may be brimming with more calories than an ice cream cone. Here's how to drink and still shrink.
soda Soda Can-Dos

The average American downs almost 48 gallons of soft drinks a year, according to Beverage Digest, a publication that tracks industry trends. This makes soda the largest single source of calories in our diet, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and such sugary beverages increase our risk for diabetes and heart disease. Slowly, though, we're starting to cut back. Thirty-four percent of soda sippers in a survey by Mintel, a market research firm, say they're drinking more water and less of the carbonated stuff to stay healthy and prevent weight gain. More than half the respondents worry about the artificial sweeteners in diet soda. Although studies are inconclusive, some experts believe that diet beverages also cause people to pack on pounds, in part because the sugary taste triggers cravings for the real thing. Those findings may help explain why we now guzzle one-third less regular soda and 10 percent less diet than we used to, according to Mintel.

Sip Tip: Need your daily soda fix? Limit yourself to one or two cans a day and drink more good-for-you beverages, like low-fat milk and plain water.