to Your Health!
nothing like a cool drink to revive your energy in the hot weather. But you can
really work up a sweat just trying to choose a drink from the never-ending
choices available! With the temperatures rising, it’s a good time to take a
look at the liquid options available and be ready to cool down with some good
enough liquids is very important, especially for those who:
in hot weather and are not used to re-hydrating in the summer
just beginning an exercise program and overheat quickly
outdoors, or plan on spending a lot of time in the hot sun for recreation,
even if you aren’t doing a lot of heavy exercise.
(not enough water) affects exercise performance, and it’s very important to
drink enough fluids before, during, and after exercise. The amount of
fluid needed depends upon how heavy the exercise is, and the amount of fluid
lost during physical activity. For example, athletes should drink between 14-22
oz of fluid two hours before exercise, and 6-12 ounces every 15-20 minutes if
the exercise is intense. Then, fluids lost need to be replaced: at least 16-24
ounces for every pound of body weight lost during exercise*.
For athletes, it is also important to replace lost body electrolytes (sodium,
potassium, etc.), so there are special sport drinks made for athletic
performance. The need to replace
electrolytes depends upon how much body fluid is lost through sweat during
exercise. Generally, for a person who exercises moderately, it is important to
remain well hydrated in hot weather, and the need for fluid and electrolyte
replacement varies depending upon humidity and temperature.
It becomes more important to choose beverages wisely in the summertime, when
keeping the body cool and re-hydrated is critical to good health. Drinking
beverages that contain caffeine, sugar or alcohol (like diet and regular sodas,
coffee and ice tea) are nice “front porch” drinks, but if you need to
replace lost body fluids, avoid them. Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can actually
de-hydrate the body, making the problem worse!
– the Big Winner
course! Water is simply one of those essentials for life and for good health,
but with so many choices, selecting a store-bought bottled water is a sport in
itself! Basically, if you choose to drink bottled water, look for spring water
with a taste that you like, or a filtered water (which means it doesn’t come
from a natural spring, it is bottled and filtered for purity). Either choice is
fine. Sparkling water has added carbonation, but no calories. While water is the
best choice for a beverage, there are a couple footnotes:
labels if you drink mineral water – some contain a fair amount of sodium,
so search for low sodium products.
for hidden calories in “flavored” waters. Flavored waters may be no
better than a soda pop! Check the label of any flavored water for hidden
sources of calories like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or fruit juice.
beverages look like they are low in calories – if you don’t know the
product, check the label for sugar content, alcohol, and any other source of
calories that are “invisible”.
the temperatures rise, stay cool and stay ahead of dehydration. Drink water,
before, during, and after exercise or work outside, especially in hot and humid
and athletic performance – Position of the American Dietetic Association
Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine J Am Diet
diet sodas are “calorie-free”, they do not replace water in terms of
nutrition. Diet sodas contain
phosphorus, and a high phosphorus intake, if not balanced by a good intake of
calcium, can promote loss of bone. (Regular
sodas have phosphorus, too, neither is a great choice). Since many adults do not
get enough calcium in their diet, drinking beverages that contain phosphorus
adds to the problem of good calcium balance, and this can be a problem for those
prone to osteoporosis. Good calcium/phosphorus balance is just one good reason
that children and young people, who are still growing, should avoid drinking
large amounts of either diet or regular sodas.
addition, diet sodas often contain caffeine, which is de-hydrating and adds to
the challenge of replacing lost fluids.
diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, and although they are considered
“safe” in moderate amounts, they are unnecessary chemical that adds to the
other chemicals the body is exposed to on a daily basis. Moderation is the key
when drinking diet drinks.
Pop and Sweetened Beverages
sweetened beverages lose out when it comes to non-nutritious calories. If a
12-ounce can of soda contains about 150 Calories, it’s all coming from sugar
in the form of high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. That’s about 40
grams of carbohydrate, or 8 teaspoons of sugar in each can of soda. While you
probably wouldn’t think of sitting down to eat 8 teaspoons of sugar in a bowl,
that is essentially what you are doing when you drink a can of soda.
traditional soda pop, there are soda “crossovers” - fruit juice-based
beverages that have an equal amount of sugar in the form of various sweeteners.
While some of these beverages contain supplements (herbal, vitamin, amino acids,
etc. that make them appear more nutritious) they are essentially soft drinks
that contain a lot of empty calories. Read the nutrition label for calorie
content and you will see that these drinks contain mostly sugar.
the nutrition labels of all beverages.
some cases, when you drink a beverage from a large bottle, you may be consuming
two servings instead of one – so check for the number of servings in each
bottle or can.
Much has been said about coffee drinks as a source of fat and empty calories.
these coffee specialty drinks become more like desserts and should be treated as
such. If you drink coffee and like to add to it, use skim milk or non-fat,
non-dairy creamers, and avoid pre-sweetened coffee drinks. The syrups, whipped
cream, chocolate, and caramel add up quickly, so making these drinks a daily
ritual can make the difference between losing weight or not. There is also a
tendency to skip breakfast and instead to opt for a special coffee drink.
Clearly these dessert beverages are not a good substitute for a decent breakfast
and can be compared to eating an ice cream sundae for breakfast!
Fruit Smoothies and
shakes and fruit smoothies are really nice, refreshing drinks, and are a pretty
good replacement for ice cream, but be aware that they can be very high in
calories. Made from large quantities of fruit juices, whole fruit, added sugar,
and yogurt, the biggest problem with these beverages is that they are simply too
large, making them very high in carbohydrate and calories. Split these drinks
between one or two friends, and try to keep the serving size to 8 ounces or
less, and they can be a fun treat instead of a nutrition nightmare!
the summertime, enjoy a variety of your favorite beverages, and include plenty
of water. Know that drinks that contain a lot of sugar or caffeine are
dehydrating and are not the best choice for replacing lost fluids. Sodas,
because of their phosphorus (and caffeine) content can be a detriment to bone
health, even the diet sodas, so use moderation when drinking non-caloric
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