SAN ANTONIO – Nearly one-third of Americans drink at least one sugary drink a day – usually a soda.
Now, some cities are trying to improve health by targeting sugary drinks with extra taxes.
Consumer Reports looks at whether that strategy is working and what beverages are the best substitutes.
A 20 ounce soda packs a punch of sugar -- about 16 teaspoons. Sugary drinks account for roughly seven percent of all calories consumed in the U.S. and they offer next to nothing in nutritional value.
Some cities are adding hefty taxes to sodas, hoping the higher price will cut down on consumption.
"So called sin taxes can work,” health editor Trisha Calvo said. “The World Health Organization has found that consumption of sugary drinks usually goes down when the taxes on them go up."
If you are trying to drink less soda to reduce sugar and calories, what you drink instead makes a big difference.
Water is best. If people traded one 20 ounce soda a day for water, they’d cut out 52 pounds of sugar a year.
That simple substitution can translate into a potential 14 pounds lost in a year. Research also shows water can alleviate headaches due to dehydration and help fight fever and slow your heart rate.
During exercise, water is crucial. Hydrated runners actually run faster and experts can't explain why, but being well-hydrated can also improve your mood.