— -- Eliminating just one soda a day can have a dramatic impact on your weight and health, according to study published today by Consumer Reports.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief women's health correspondent, said that by eliminating one 20 ounce soda per day, which is approximately 119 cups of sugar in a year, an average sized person can potentially eliminate up to 52 pounds of added sugar in their diet a year.
Too much sugar, Ashton said, can lead to "inflammation, oxidative stress, and it affects the blood vessels in our body, literally every organ system from the brain to the heart to the kidneys," Ashton said.
But the new report proposes alternatives to soda to help people lose weight and reduce their sugar consumption.
3 Soda Swaps to lose weight
Replace the soda with a sports drinks to lose approximately 6 lbs. in a year
Replace the soda with ice coffee to lose approximately 9 lbs. in a year
Replace the soda with water to lose approximately 14 lbs. in a year
"Don't drink your calories," she encouraged. "In general, you want to eat your calories."
Benefits of Water
In a statement, the American Beverage Association said, "Reducing the same amount of calories from any food or beverage would lead to a similar weight loss. It's well known that we need to look at everything we eat and drink to maintain balance –- not single out sugar-sweetened beverages, which account for less than seven percent of the calories we get. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the federal government affirm that these beverages can be part of a balanced diet. America's beverage companies have been greatly expanding their low and no-calorie options and smaller portion sizes to the point where 48% of all beverages sold today are zero-calorie. Additionally, we have made a commitment to reduce the calories consumed from our beverages nationally by 20 percent by 2025. We are for good health, and we want to help people reduce the sugar they get from beverages."
For its part, the Sugar Association said in a statement, "Sugar plays many roles in a healthy, balanced diet by making nutritious foods (like dairy products and whole grains) more palatable, serving important functional and safety purposes, and being part of the enjoyment of life through foods and beverages that are considered treats. Depending on calorie needs, weight goals and physical activity level, people's treat allowances can vary greatly. The Sugar Association supports dietary advice recommending treats that contain few nutrients be consumed in moderation and in the context of personal nutrition needs."
"The Sugar Association is the scientific voice of the U.S. sugar industry, making a difference by continuously supporting scientific research and sharing our knowledge of sugar to increase consumer understanding and confidence in the role that sugar plays in a nutritious, balanced and enjoyable diet," the statement added.