You Should Never Get Refills When Eating Out. Here's Why

If you haven't really been considering the implications of your drink choice while dining out, then it's time you should think it over a bit more. Some drinks that come with refills are harmless, like water. Some choices are better than others, like unsweet tea and coffee. The trouble with getting refills of other drinks is that they often pack a lot of sugar, which is why you should avoid getting refills when you're eating (via Health).

When customers order a sugary soda that comes with free refills in a restaurant, it can be easy to keep it topped off. That means you might lose sight of how much soda you've consumed. While drinking a can or bottle of soda helps you realize that it packs upwards of 100 calories or more per drink, a fountain drink adds up quickly, especially if you get refill after refill.

Also, each one often contains more than 30 grams of sugar. That means that after a refill or two, you've consumed a staggering four times the amount of sugar than what is recommended per day by the American Heart Association.

The health implications of drinking too much soda

Because getting too many refills and drinking too much soda can easily lead you to consume more sugar than you probably should, it's no surprise that it can result in some health implications. Apart from gaining weight, downing too many sugary drinks can also cause the sugar to turn into fat in your liver (via Healthline).

Excess sugar consumption can also lead to insulin resistance. In turn, that can cause type two diabetes. Those who consume too much sugar are at a higher risk of developing other diseases too, like heart disease and possibly even cancer.

In addition to the dangers of consuming too much sugar, the acid in soda is also very damaging to your teeth. The acid can erode the enamel on the teeth, which can cause cavities, discoloration, and cracks to become more prevalent (via Business Insider).

Filling up with diet sodas isn't good either

It might seem like a good idea to simply order the diet or zero-calorie version of your favorite soda while you're out to cut down on the number of calories and sugar you'd otherwise consume. Especially when you go for refills, choosing diet soda does reduce your intake of calories and sugar — but the alternative sweeteners that the diet varieties lean on are not good for you, either. Keep in mind, though, that some diet sodas use natural sweeteners like stevia, which does come with some calories and sugar, and diet soda also has sodium if you're reading nutrition labels (via Healthline).

Studies have shown that people who drink a lot of diet soda are at a higher risk of gaining too much weight and developing metabolic syndrome. Diet soda can make people gain weight because it causes the brain to think the body is hungry by stimulating hunger hormones, which essentially increases appetite.

Furthermore, some studies have also linked diet soda to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Drinking just one artificially sweetened soda per day can increase the risk by 8 to 13 percent. When you factor in refills if you're drinking diet sodas while you're out, that's a lot more than one diet soda in a single day.

Healthy alternatives to soda

Needless to say, the best option for refills or frequent consumption is definitely not soda, be it regular or diet. So, knowing some healthy alternatives is the best and easiest way to stay healthy. Choosing drinks that are lower in sugar or have no sugar at all will help reduce health risks, particularly if you plan to drink several glasses.

While sodas, sugary coffee concoctions, and sweetened drinks like sports drinks, lemonade, and sweet teas might be fairly obvious as high-sugar choices, fruit juice can be a sneaky source of a lot of sugar as well. However, you don't have to give these up completely. Just limit your consumption of them, and avoid refilling your glass if you get one of these choices at a restaurant.

Fruit juice can be replaced with vegetable juice, which has less sugar and all the good vitamins and minerals. A splash of fruit juice can also be used to spike carbonated water for a little extra flavor. Fruits, herbs, and more can be added into still or sparkling water to boost the flavor as well (via Everyday Health).

Finally, unsweetened green tea can be served iced or hot and is said to have some wonderful health benefits. Some scientists have said that green tea can reduce the risk of some cancers, type two diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and liver disease. That sounds like a hard-working alternative to soda, and even if you can't find green tea at your favorite soda fountain or restaurant, you can often find unsweetened black tea, which is another good alternative to soda.