Top Foods to Avoid #3: Regular Soda

A friend once asked me, “As a dietitian, what will you just REFUSE to eat?” So far, I’ve told you why I won’t use coffee creamers or eat original peanut butters. The next offender shouldn’t surprise anyone: regular soda.

But first, I have a confession to make. When I was in 6th grade, before I knew better, I used to bring $2 for a snack, which included a honey bun and a can of Mr. Pibb® from the vending machines. I distinctly remember passing my P.E. teacher who grimaced and chastised me for what I was eating. He knew something I didn’t, but now I’ve seen the light.

In the interest of time, we’ll save honey buns for another blog. Today, I want to talk about the sugar content in regular sodas. You might be more familiar with Mr. Pibb’s more esteemed cousin, Dr. Pepper®, so we’ll analyze him instead. Unbeknownst to me, when I drank that soda, I was taking in about 40 grams of sugar. Back then I hadn’t been exposed to any nutrition guidelines and had no idea what 40 grams of sugar actually meant. But now I do, and I want to share it with you.

One packet of Domino® sugar contains 4 grams of sugar. That means if you drink a can of Dr. Pepper containing 40 grams of sugar, you’re taking in the equivalent of TEN sugar packets in that one beverage!

I don’t know you very well, but I doubt you’re the kind of person who sits down, rips open 10 packets of sugar, and pours them down the proverbial hatch. But that is essentially what we’re doing when we drink even a can of soda. Now wrap your head around these numbers!

On average, one slice of bread has 15 grams of carbohydrate. This soda has more carbohydrate than a sandwich.

Most women should aim for roughly 30 grams of carbohydrate per meal. One can of soda exceeds our recommendations for total carbohydrate per meal for women by 10 grams.

Men should aim for roughly 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal. One soda meets nearly all the carbohydrate he should have in a meal, before having eaten a single bite of food.

Cutting out or limiting sugar-sweetened beverages is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight and improve your health. That’s because when you cut out soda, you cut out unnecessary, empty calories from sugar.

When you first cut back on regular, caffeinated soda, you may notice headaches and a drop in energy level, especially if you drank sodas every day. Here are some Clinical Health Consultant tips to help make cutting out soda a breeze:

  • Cut your intake in half for a few days. Then work on cutting out soda entirely.
  • Don’t skip meals.Try incorporating a smart snack (such as an apple and some almonds) in place of the soda you used to rely on.
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking water to replace the fluids you cut out.

Join me next week for the next food on my list!

– True Health Clinical Health Consultant Stacie Wheatley, MA, RD, LD


For more information on nutrition for exercise and other lifestyle tips, contact True Health Diagnostics at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Clinical Health Consultant.

All True Health Diagnostics materials are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on contents of this information. Readers should always consult the appropriate health professional on any matters related to their health