Did you know that today 38 out of 50 states have obesity rates higher than 25 percent? Twenty years ago no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. One reason could be that in recent studies, it has been found that the average person gets more than 20 percent of their total caloric intake each day from beverages or approximately 450 calories per day. In 1965 we consumed only 225 calories from beverages. With the rise of coffee shops, juice bars, super sizing, and smoothie establishments, consumers are purchasing “healthy” drinks laden with sugar, fat, and calories that can be anywhere from 100 upwards of 500+ calories per order. A reduction in just 250 calories per week could equate to a 1/2 pound of weight lost. Even more so, a reduction of 500 calories per day over the course of 7 days could lead to a one pound weight loss per week! To achieve such goals, pay attention to the calories per serving in all your beverages.
A 2010 study from the US department of Agriculture found that soda, energy and sports drinks, including sweetened beverages, are the #4 source of calories for Americans, providing an average of 114 calories/day. Unlike
soft drinks and sweetened beverages, water has no calories. In fact, making a simple switch such as replacing one 140 calorie sugared beverage a day with water can reduce 50,000 calories from your diet each year. This is equal to about 14 pounds of body weight! Any reduction in calories from beverages can only help your overall health. An example would be instead of a medium latte( 16 ounces) made with whole milk worth- 265 calories, try a small cafe latte(12 ounces) made with fat free milk worth Approx. 125 calories. This 140 calorie reduction can make a powerful difference over time if you are eating about the same calories day to day and exercising regularly.
Being properly hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body. In fact, even mild dehydration can cause headaches, decrease alertness, concentration, and memory, an reduce your endurance. So how much water is enough? The answer is to let your thirst be your guide. Water is an important nutrient for your body, but everyone’s needs are different. Most of us get enough water from the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Certain foods are almost 95% water, such as lettuce, watermelon, yogurt, broccoli, and a fresh apple. A healthy body can balance water needs throughout the day. The key is to drink plenty of water if you are very active, live or work in hot conditions, or are an older adult.
What about those sports drinks if you are an athlete? Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and can actually lead to cramping, discomfort, and weight gain over time if they are consumed in excess. If sports drinks are the beverage of choice during activity, adults and kids should choose low calorie sports drinks or those less than about 10-15 calories per serving, like Propel or Powerade Zero. However, the best way to stay hydrated as an athlete is with water. Drink a cup of water before and after workouts and more if it’s hot or your workout is long and strenuous. Sip water throughout the workout for steady rehydration.
There are many other drinks that add extra calories without many nutrients. A 20 ounce of regular pop, for example, has about 250 calories and 15 teaspoons of sugar per serving! The goal is to choose drinks with 10 or fewer calories and less than 3 grams of sugar per serving. The easiest way to do this, and most cost effective, is to simply drink more water! Carry bottled water throughout the day. Give your water flavor by adding lemon, lime,cucumber, or watermelon. Choose sugar free flavored waters, sparkling waters or other zero calorie options. Drink black coffee or tea, or add zero calorie sweeteners.
Don’t forget your daily hydration! Many older adults and children do not get enough dairy. While a cup of soda has mostly sugar and zero nutrients, an 8 ounce cup of 1% or skim milk ( or a low fat, fortified dairy alternative) contains key nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Adults generally require 3 servings of dairy per day, whereas children require 2-2 1/2 cups milk daily. 100% fruit juice provides Vitamin A & C, however it should be limited to 4 ounces daily as it does contain excessive sugar.
Making sure you stay healthfully hydrated is an important part of taking good care of your body, and water is the key! Good hydration is the heart of a healthy lifestyle. Start sipping smart today!
Gina Gilchrist, Registered Dietitian
Fox Valley Physical Therapy & Wellness
2011 Dean Street, St. Charles, IL 60174
Call 630-549-0511 to schedule a nutrition consultation (infants through geriatrics).