More than one-third of Americans are obese and some cities are attacking the epidemic by targeting sugary drinks with extra taxes.
Consumer Reports has important information on whether it's working.
A 20-ounce cola packs a big punch of sugars - about 16 teaspoons. Overall, sugary drinks account for roughly 7% of all calories consumed in the U.S. and offer next to nothing in nutritional value.
Some cities are adding hefty taxes to soda and other drinks hoping the higher price will cut down on consumption.
Trisha Calvo Consumer Reports’ Deputy Health Editor said, "So-called sin taxes can work. 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.
Calvo said, "It's no surprise here. Water is best. If you trade one 20-ounce soda a day for water, you'd cut out 52 pounds of sugar a year."
That simple substitution can translate into a potential 14-pound weight loss in a year. And research shows there are other important health benefits to water. It can alleviate headaches due to dehydration, help you fight fever and slow your heart rate.
Water is crucial during exercise to keep you cool and prevent dehydration. Experts can't explain why, but being well-hydrated can improve your mood. Hydrated runners also run faster.
Consumer Reports says milk and orange juice are also healthier substitutes. They offer important nutrients like calcium and vitamins but they should be consumed in moderation. They can pack a lot of calories.