Thursday, August 22, 2013
Being well-hydrated is essential for good health. Our bodies rely on water to perform tasks such as flushing toxins from our organs and delivering nutrients to our cells. In fact, we’re made up of about 60% water! In order to maintain this critical balance of water in our bodies, the Institute of Medicine recommends about 9 (8 fl oz) cups of fluid a day for women, and about 13 cups for men.
But what we drink and how much we drink can affect more than just our hydration levels. Choosing the wrong beverages can increase our waistlines and our blood sugar, too.
Our bodies don’t register the calories in liquids the same way they do with solid foods. So liquids with calories don’t make us feel full like food does. For example, drinking a 200-calorie bottle of sweetened iced tea along with lunch doesn’t make you feel any fuller than if you drank a bottle of zero-calorie iced tea with lunch instead. But, if you added a 200-calorie protein bar to your meal you’d feel stuffed. The bottom line is that when you drink sweetened beverages like juice, soda and bottled teas, it’s easy for the calories and sugar to add up without realizing it.
Water, seltzer, unsweetened teas or other zero-calorie drinks are great options to keep you hydrated without unwanted calories and sugar. For more flavor, try adding lemon or lime to water, try flavored seltzers like raspberry or orange, or try adding a small amount of juice (no more than ¼ cup) to seltzer or plain tea.
If you’re on the go most of the day, keep a thermos or refillable water bottle with you so you can sip throughout the day. When you’re at home, keep a full glass out where you can see it so you’ll be reminded to drink up!