What’s in Your Drink?
By Lisalmir Carrero, RD, LDN
With summer just around the corner and temperatures on the rise, hydration is very important. Being hydrated means having enough water in your body for all the different processes that need it. Sweating, talking, blinking, moving our joints and going to the bathroom are all things that require water. As it gets hotter, we lose more water through sweat and want to make sure we are replacing it. Ideally, adults drink at least 64oz of water every day; this equals 4 bottles of water. But what about those times we have a taste for something other than water? What are we really drinking? Read below to learn about the ingredients in some common beverages.
Too much sugar has immediate effects: It gives us a short burst of energy that quickly wears out making us then very tired. This is sometimes called a “sugar high” and “crash”. Sugar slows down the movement of nutrients in our body making it difficult for your organs to get the nutrients they need. Too much sugar in the diet also has long-term effects: because it provides a lot of calories without making us full, it can cause us to gain weight. While 100% juice does not have added sugar, it still contains plenty of naturally found sugar. Juices that say fruit “drink” or “cocktail” are high in sugar because it is added to them.
Tip: Always read labels and choose 100% juice, limit even these to 4oz daily. Think of juices with added sugar, chocolate milk and pop as occasional treats (when reading drink labels, remember 4g=1 teaspoon). Look at the following sheet for drinks that are “best choices” and those you should “drink sparingly.” CLICK HERE FOR “how sweet it is handout” If you are used to sugary beverages, try slowly weaning yourself by diluting with water or adding lots of ice.
Caffeine is found in pop, regular coffee and some teas. It is found in high quantities in energy drinks. Wondering how much caffeine your favorite drink has? Find it here: Caffeine makes us lose water by having to urinate more often, possibly causing dehydration. It can make you restless and can make it hard to sleep.
TIP: Adults should limit caffeine-containing beverages to two 8oz servings per day to avoid being over stimulated and losing too much water. If you would like to have more than 16oz, try decaf beverages.
Whenever anything says “diet” or “sugar free” it is usually made with a sugar substitute. Sugar substitutes are usually man made and will not have the effects we talked about with sugar. However, they get us used to drinking very sweet things and when they are not available; we will likely choose sugary beverages. It is best to train your taste buds to drink plain water. Some sugar substitutes can also cause diarrhea and gas.
TIP: If you are used to sugary beverages, use diet drinks as a “stepping stone” to wean yourself off sugar, but slowly dilute them with water or ice. Remember the end goal is to drink plain water.
To add flavor to water without adding sugar try:
Lemon, lime or orange slices
Decaf green, fruit or mint tea
Sliced ginger or fresh mint
For delicious low sugar drinks try:
Homemade “pop”- ½ cup 100% juice mixed with ½ cup carbonated water
Smoothies made with ice, fresh fruit and milk
Food of the Month
Foods of the Month for November are: Eggs and Spinach
Protein is a key component of our muscles, hair, skin and blood and keeps us full longer than any other type of food. The whites in eggs are a great source of protein while the yolks contain vitamin D and other vitamins. If you are worried about the cholesterol or fat content, substitute egg white for eggs or replace half the eggs in a recipe with egg whites. Looking for a way to jazz up your breakfast? Look at this Breakfast Burrito recipe.
Eggs are great when added to:
Stir fries instead of meat
Spinach is a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including Calcium and Iron. Be sure to eat Iron rich foods with a good source of vitamin C, such as this Sunshine Spinach Salad. The vitamin C in citrus fruits helps your body absorb the Iron in Spinach.
Spinach is great when added to:
Salads (raw, alone or mixed with lettuce)
Pasta (add in the last few minutes of cooking)
Soups (add in the last few minutes of cooking)
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month – Be sure to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day!
National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month – Be sure to include weight-bearing activities, like running, weight lifting or walking, in your exercise plan.
National Strawberry Month, National dairy Month – Try both of them together in a smoothie. Simply add ice and blend for a cooling and delicious drink.
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The University of Illinois at Chicago-Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion (CPHP) is funded by the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to encourage Chicago families to make healthier food choices, learn to prepare and consume healthier foods every day and be more physically active. The CPHP is a program of the UIC Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships. The USDA, UIC and CPHP are equal opportunity employers.