Monday, January 7, 2013

Health and Drinks

No, not the alcoholic kind. I know what you were thinking...

One thing I've found is that I have a hard time just drinking water. I forget to do it. And when I do want a drink, I poke around the fridge and sigh because the drinks I want either a) have a boatload of sugar, or b) we don't have. Ho hum drinks. But hydration is important, and we know that having a beverage can decrease our interest in scrounging through the fridge (which generally leads to us eating something we shouldn't). So I've been doing some healthy beverage research. What should and shouldn't we be drinking?

Drink me.
Well, we should be drinking water for #1. You know this. I know this. Men should be drinking about 13 cups of water and women should be drinking about 9 (based upon the fact that most men outweigh women). If you need to, set a reminder on your phone to drink a cup of water. That helped me when I was pregnant stay hydrated. My vote: boring yes, but necessary. Try getting some flavored water (but avoid those high sugar products that you can add to your water). Or add lemon, orange, or even cucumber slices to your water to give it some flavor.

Coffee and tea are calorie-free (unless you add sugar of course). You can drink them. But if they contain caffeine they could have adverse side effects, could actually dehydrate you, and can stain your teeth (among other issues). If you must, do green tea. There are a lot of health benefits there. My vote: moderation.

Fruit juices, especially 100% (so not the "cocktail" mixes) can have health benefits - for example, orange juice has a lot of vitamins (depending on the type you get - I personally hate pulp), and cranberry juice can help with digestive health and avoiding regular UTIs (but not for everyone some research finds). Here's the thing - juice = sugars. Some sugar is fine, but it's not something you (or your kids) want to be sucking down all day. One 4oz glass per day is good. My vote: moderation (and why not eat the fruit instead?).

Vegetable juices offer flavor, fiber, less sugar, and fewer calories than fruit juices. You're Mom was right, you should have had a V-8. My vote: not my fave, taste wise, but better than some others.

Milk is good for bones, right? Well sure. But it's also high in calories. For those of us who aren't growing many more bones, too much milk can be unhealthy. My vote: moderation.

Alcohol is high in calories (and those beers that say they're not don't taste so hot either). And it's dehydrating. And it decreases the functioning of your frontal lobe. Small amounts of it can help with blood thinning, but don't start drinking just for the health benefits. My vote: way moderation.

Soda, while I have loved it for a very long time, has a crap ton of sugar and caffeine (well most do). Definitely not for the health conscious. My vote: avoid.

Sports drinks (like Gatorade) offer hydration plus sugars. If you need them (and will use the sugars while doing something productive), then by all means drink these in moderation. But if you're sitting on the couch drinking Gatorade and don't plan to exercise the sugar calories off, then you should just drink water. My vote: moderation (as long as you're moving).

Still not excited about fluids myself. But water, vegetable juices, some fruit juice, and some tea will have to do. What is your favorite healthy beverage?


  1. I love Nuun. It's a flavored tablet that you add to water that adds electrolytes, but unlike Gatorade, it isn't full of unnecessary calories and sugar. I mainly drink it after long runs, but I drink it on in between days when I need extra hydration or when I'm struggling to drink water.