Skip to main content

Consumers Know Drinking Too Many Sugary Beverages This Summer Can Cause Weight Gain

June 23, 2015

Scientific review also finds beverages with low calorie sweeteners can help with long-term weight management

Summer is a great time for backyard cookouts and cold, refreshing drinks, but the calories from all of those sugary beverages can really add up. Drinking too many sugary beverages has become an “intractable public health concern,” as noted in a recent review of studies on the use of lower calorie beverages (full review here published in Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).[1] On average, a 12 fluid ounce can of a full-calorie soda or ice tea drink has about nine teaspoons of added sugar and 140 calories.[2] For the average adult, this is about 5-10% of the recommended total daily calorie intake.[3]

Results of a new CrowdTap survey that the Splenda® Brand conducted helps demonstrate how consumers feel about sugary beverages. The Splenda® Brand surveyed 500 respondents across the U.S. to find out how they prefer to drink beverages during the summer. “We wanted to better understand consumer perceptions about added sugar intake and summer beverage habits,” said Maureen Conway, MBA, MA, RD, LDN, Director of Nutritional Affairs, McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. “The average American adult consumes significantly more added sugar than what is recommended by health authorities, and this can contribute to weight gain. In the survey we conducted, we found that about half of the responders know that sugar-sweetened beverages can have high amounts of added sugar. We also found that almost 90% would take what they drink into account when considering long-term weight management.  Importantly, the data also indicate that low calorie sweeteners are definitely a consideration for consumers when making big batches of summer beverages to have on hand, ready to serve.”  To view the full infographic of the survey results, visit

Click-to-Tweet this infographic:

With consumers thinking more about the impact of added sugar in their summer drinks, the recent review of scientific studies published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on sugar-sweetened beverages offers additional helpful insights.  The review, authored by nutrition and obesity experts from several different universities, shows that replacing those drinks with lower calorie alternatives, including drinks sweetened with no-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in Splenda® Sweetener Products, may have “beneficial effects on long-term body weight management.”[4] This shows how small lifestyle changes may result in long term benefits.

More than two-thirds of the U.S. population is now overweight and the average person consumes about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day – and most of that comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the American Heart Association.[5] Lowering added sugar intake is also recommended by health and government associations such as the USDA.

“There have been conflicting studies published on the role of low calorie sweeteners specifically on diet soda and weight gain,” says Conway. “This new review intentionally addresses questions on the use of low calorie beverages in weight management. It confirms that replacing added sugar with low calorie sweeteners can be an important tool for many in plans for weight management, including weight loss strategies.  As consumers look for better ways to reduce added sugars to help with weight management, beverages made with Splenda® Sweetener Products can be a refreshing option with minimal calories.”

Try some of these Splenda® Brand summer recipes to start cutting added sugars from beverages today including:

Southern Peach Tea

Half and Half Sweet Tea

Homemade Mint Lemonade

Sucralose, the zero calorie ingredient in Splenda® Sweetener Products, is not sugar and the body does not recognize it as such. Unlike sugar, sucralose is not broken down for energy. It is not a source of carbohydrate or glucose, and clinical studies have shown it has no effect on blood glucose levels, insulin secretion or blood levels, glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c), or blood glucose control.

For more information about sucralose or the Splenda® Brand, visit

Links to third-party websites are provided solely for convenience. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC is not responsible for the content of such websites, and users are solely responsible for compliance with any terms of use thereon.

[1] Zheng, M. et. al. (2015) Substitution of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages with Other Beverage Alternatives: A Review of Long-Term Health Outcomes.

[2] United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. Web. 17 June 2015.

[3] United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Empty Calories. Web. 17 June 2015.

[4] Zheng, M. et. al. (2015) Substitution of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages with Other Beverage Alternatives: A Review of Long-Term Health Outcomes.

[5] Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, et. al. (2015) Dietary Sugars InTake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.