Ready-to-drink canned cocktails are taking up more space on retail shelves, and with their growing popularity comes more variety. The latest trend in these drinks is low-sugar versions, focused on people who don't want to give up a tasty cocktail but are interested in a "better for you" healthier option.
Are low-sugar drinks actually better for you? Here's everything you need to know about what goes into these drinks and how they might be better - or not - for you.
Doctors will likely tell you that reducing sugar consumption is one of the most important healthy habits you can adopt. Everyday, U.S. adults consume an average of 77 grams of added sugar (sugar added as an ingredient, not naturally occurring in the food). That's 15 additional teaspoons, adding up to almost 60 extra pounds of sugar (15 regular bags) yearly.
Why should you be concerned about your daily sugar intake? In addition to gaining weight, too much sugar can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, inflammation, trouble sleeping, and a lack of energy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get no more than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, which means most of us should stick to less than 12 teaspoons of added sugar in our daily diets.
Most cocktails include some kind of sweet mixer - even tonic water contains added sugar. So if you're a cocktail drinker trying to cut down on sugar, low-sugar canned cocktails where you see the full amount of sugar in every drink might be a good alternative.
Many canned cocktails replace cane sugar with alternatives like agave, monk fruit, erythritol, or stevia. Others use fruit juice or simply less cane sugar. It's essential to read the label to see how many grams of sugar are in the drink, but it's just as important to know where that sugar comes from.
Less sugar means fewer calories, and we can all agree that's generally healthier. But replacing sugar with a processed alternative may not always be the most beneficial thing we can do.
Sugar alternatives on the market today are considered safe, but all the science may not be in on some popular artificial sweeteners. A recent study linked erythritol, an artificial sweetener that has gained popularity over the past few years, to a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke. However, scientists caution that more study is needed. Artificial sweeteners may also cause digestive issues in some people.
If you're concerned about artificial sweeteners, stick with drinks that use smaller amounts of cane sugar or alternatives like agave.
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