Butterflies sit atop delicate flowers and suck the sweet nectar through their straw-like tongues. Similarly, many people sit down on the couch and sip sugary beverages and soda, but unlike butterflies, humans do not thrive on sugar.
A “sugar sweetened beverage” is any drink that contains sugar as a sweetener. This can include soda, sports drinks, fruit juices, iced teas, and coffee drinks. The amount of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) that children and adolescents consume on a regular basis has keeps on growing. Yikes!
Recent research has shown that there are negative health effects tied to sugar sweetened beverages regularly, these include weakened bones, tooth decay, headaches, and trouble sleeping, plus many others. There is also strong evidence that shows a direct link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and obesity, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. These delicious drinks contain a lot of empty calories; calories that provide no nutritional benefit.
Sadly, the prevalence of sugar-sweetened beverages has overshadowed water. Our bodies are primarily composed of water- about 60%! Water is extremely important for our bodies to function, as all systems in our body require water to run properly. Additionally, we can decrease our daily calorie intake by replacing these beverages with water- even once a day! This will also help with weight loss over time. Kind of a win-win, don’t you think?
Dehydration manifests when we don’t drink enough water, and can make us very sick and tired. Every person needs a slightly different amount of water each day, but the general rule is drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which is also known as the “8×8” rule.
Increasing daily water intake has health benefits. Don’t like the taste…err tastelessness…of water? Try a calorie free water flavoring or powder to give your water a bit of a kick. Another fresh option is to slice up lemons, cucumbers, berries, or limes to put in your water. You’ll get the flavor benefits, but very few calories and no artificial sweetener.