Simple Beverage Swap Ideas:

1. Choose water or lightly sweetened beverages over sugary ones.

2. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it throughout the day.

3. Don’t keep sugar-sweetened beverages in the house! Keep a jug of water in the fridge as an alternative.

4. For an added pop of flavor, add fresh fruit to your water.

5. Mix sparkling water and fruit juice for a healthier carbonated drink.

6. We’re all human. If you opt to have a sugar-sweetened beverage, smaller sized is the way to go.

What are sugar-sweetened beverages?

If your beverage includes any of these ingredients, you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage:


High-fructose corn syrup definition: corn syrup to which enzymes have been added to change some of the glucose to fructose, making the product sweeter than regular corn syrup.



Syrup Definition: Any of various thick, sweet liquids prepared for table use from molasses, glucose, etc., water, and often a flavoring agent.



Honey Definition: Any of various thick, sweet liquids prepared for table use from molasses, glucose, etc., water, and often a flavoring agent.



Fructose definition: a yellowish to white, crystalline, water-soluble, levorotatory ketose sugar, C6H12O6, sweeter than sucrose, occurring in invert sugar, honey, and a great many fruits: used in foodstuffs and in medicine chiefly in solution as an intravenous nutrient.


Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup Definition: Syrup prepared from corn.



Sucrose Definition: A crystalline disaccharide, C12H22O11, the sugar obtained from the sugarcane, the sugar beet, and sorghum, and forming the greater part of maple sugar; sugar.


Fruit Juice Concentrate

Fruit Juice Concentrate Definition: ‘From concentrate’ means that all the excess water from the oranges is removed, yielding a product seven times more concentrated than the initial juice.

Compressing and then freezing the orange juice allows more efficient packaging and transportation. Water is then added in again before it is sold.

Source: Science Focus


Dextrose Definition: Dextroglucose, commercially obtainable from starch by acid hydrolysis.



Sugar Definition: A sweet, crystalline substance, C12H22O11, obtained chiefly from the juice of the sugarcane and the sugar beet, and present in sorghum, maple sap, etc.: used extensively as an ingredient and flavoring of certain foods and as a fermenting agent in the manufacture of certain alcoholic beverages; sucrose


Swapping soda for iced tea has been pretty sweet


I’m Corey Parent – a dad, a husband, and State Senator for Franklin County and Alburgh in Northwestern Vermont.  I have never been a real coffee drinker – I never really had a taste for it, so I relied on soda for caffeine – usually a Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper.  On a typical morning, I’d open my first one by 7:30 am, and I typically followed with one mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon. It wasn’t uncommon to have 4 to 6 sodas a day. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I struggled to find a replacement. I tried coffee again but couldn’t get into it. Then I tried tea, and I found that I liked it both hot and iced, both black and green, and most importantly, unsweetened.

The first few months I made a hard break from soda, just focusing on bringing my tea in the morning and I noticed I began to slide a little as the weather got warmer and would sneak a soda in after work—I tend to prefer a cold drink when it’s warm out. Ultimately,   I switched to iced tea and have found that that is my favorite. I like green tea and will add extra ice and nurse it throughout my morning or afternoon.

Life is Sweet EnoughWhile those first two months I did cut out soda completely, I now have a soda every now and then. We don’t have it in the house. It’s treated much more like a treat now, than a habit. My wife was never much of a soda drinker, and my son is only on milk and water since he is so young, but I think it’s smart to keep it out of the house, not just for me but for all of us.

For anyone thinking of swapping out some of their sweet drinks for a low or no sugar option, it will definitely be an adjustment. You certainly don’t have to cut it all out at once as I did—it took me a few weeks to get to a point where I wasn’t a little off, but eventually I hit a point where I got passed the cravings. Starting small might be a better way to go for you, though. If you have several sugary drinks a day, start by just swapping one of them out. It’s amazing how your taste buds can change, and you can begin to develop cravings for less sugary options.

Senator Corey Parent

Senator in the Vermont State Senate

Why is too much sugar bad for you?

Liquid sugar, such as in sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks, is the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, representing 36% of the added sugar we consume.

Health effects of added sugar

Consuming excess sugar can negatively affect your body in many ways.

How much sugar do you consume in a day?

Americans consume 3 – 6 times more added sugar than the maximum recommended amount by the American Heart Association and CDC. That’s 93 grams, or 22 teaspoons!

So how much added sugar should you be consuming?

Maximum consumption for women and children per day

25 Grams

6 teaspoons

Maximum consumption for Men per day

36 Grams

9 teaspoons

Parent Resources

How to Tame Your Kid’s Sweet Tooth in 30 Days

Sugar in Sports Drinks 

Curb the Colas CDC Podcast

Sugar Shock, Do you know how much sugar your kids eat?

While companies push sugary beverages, parents should promote water. Here’s how.

Individual Resources

Get the Sweet Enough Facebook profile Frame

Create a conversation around reducing sugary drink consumption! Make sure to like the RiseVT facebook page in order to add the frame.