Think Your Drink!
We’ve talked about sugar, and we’ve talked about artificial sweeteners. Regular sodas, juice, Kool-Aid and here in the south, sweet tea, can
contribute a significant amount of calories. Take this example:
Scenario 1: 16 oz. latte with whole milk (they use whole milk unless you ask for something else)
20 oz. soda with lunch
Sweetened ice tea in the afternoon
12 oz. can of ginger ale with dinner
Scenario 2: 12 oz. latte with skim milk
Water or diet soda with lunch
Sparkling water with lemon flavor in the afternoon
Water with lemon, or seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice at dinner
Scenario 1 provides the consumer with 800 calories in their drink
choices alone. Scenario 2 provides between 125 and 155. That difference
would amount to 1.3 pounds of fat gained per week, 5.5 pounds gained per month, or 68 pounds gained
per year. THAT is a big difference!
But you’re not sure that you want to consume a lot of artificial sweeteners either. Here is a breakdown of what the Beverage Guidance Panel recommends for fluid intake. Remember that 1 drink = 8 ounces or a measured cup.
- Sodas, "fruit" drinks, other sweetened beverages: 0-1 drinks/day
- 100% fruit juices, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages: 0-1 drinks/day
- Diet drinks and other artificially sweetened beverages: 0-4 drinks/day
- Milk/Soy Milk: 0-2 drinks/day
- Unsweetened coffee, unsweetened tea, mineral water, other unsweetened beverages: 0-5 drinks/day
- Water: 2-6 drinks/day
What Would Julie Do?
Personally, I try to have no more than 1 sweetened or artificially
sweetened drink per day. In reality, I probably don’t have more than 2
a week. I try to have unsweetened tea (usually hot) in the morning, water with lunch and during the day, and a juice/seltzer water mix in the evening. I might have hot tea or a glass of water before bed.
Typically, I mix up the types of tea that I drink, just for variety. Sometimes green tea, sometimes herbal tea, oolong, black, or whatever looks interesting at the store!
Now that you know how much difference a drink can make, here are some ways to make smart beverage choices:
- Choose water
- Don’t “stock the fridge” with soda. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water or unsweetened tea in the fridge.
- Serve water with meals.
- Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
- Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink. (My favorite is lemon or lime seltzer water mixed with pomegranate/black current juice).
- When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8oz. cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories.
The bottom line is that our body needs water. Our taste buds want sweet. Retraining our taste buds and our habits is not easy, but can be a smart thing to do for health.
So tip your cup, and try some new beverages or treat yourself to a new reusable water bottle!
References: (Pour Better or Pour Worse, Nutrition Action Newsletter, June 2006.; Rethink Your Drink, Center for Disease Control).
Tom G says
Hi, I love to drink something called XS, a sport drink with no calories and no sugar and it contains 4900% B-12 along with other B vitamins. Just what does B-12 do for my body. I have recently been diagnosed with cancer on my larnyx. I am 60 and in great health otherwise. Any comments?
Good Question Tom!
B-12 functions to make your nerves work correctly. Our bodies have a lot of b-12 stores, so it’s not necessary to have more than 100% in your food intake. If you eat meat or other animal sources of food (cheese, milk, yogurt), then you are most likely getting plenty. I recommend against taking any supplement that provides more than 100% of any nutrient, especially during cancer treatment.
Regarding your particular cancer, a resource that you might check out is the Society for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer (www.spohnc.org). They are a great group that puts out a cookbook and other support information for people with head and neck cancer.
I hope I answered your question!
Andrea Coles says
I’m trying to eat healthy and trying to get my water in. My question is water verses seltzer water? I enjoy very cold seltzer instead of water.
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN says
They’re both good choices. I would alternate just for variety! 🙂 Julie