The findings showed that consuming additional calories from sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee can increase risk of weight gain and obesity, as well as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Regardless of how many servings of sugar-sweetened beverages you consume, replacing even just one serving can be of benefit,” said Kiyah J. Duffey from Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg in US.
Swapping one 8-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage with an 8-ounce serving of water could reduce daily calories and the prevalence of obesity in populations that consume sugary beverages.
“We found that people who consumed one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per day, replacing that drink with water lowered the per cent of calories coming from drinks from 17 to 11 per cent,” Duffey added.
Even those who consumed more sugary drinks per day could still benefit from water replacement, dropping the amount of calories coming from beverages to less than 25 per cent of their daily caloric intake, the researchers said in the paper published in the journal Nutrients.
Higher calorie drinks, such as sweetened soda and high-fat milk, have been associated with diets rich in red and processed meats, refined grains, sweets, and starch, according to a 2015 review study.
Lower-calorie drinks, such as water and unsweetened coffee and tea, were associated with alternative diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry.
Diet drinks are also healthier alternatives to sugary drinks, explained Duffey, but other research has shown that people who drink water over low-calorie alternatives still tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, have lowered blood sugar, and are better hydrated.