Consuming plenty of liquids is especially important during hot weather, when we lose more body fluids due to perspiration. Judging from a recently published report, What America Drinks, our current beverage choices could certainly be better. (On average, North Americans consume nearly one-quarter of our calories from beverages. The majority of these calories come from high-calorie, nutrient-poor choices, such as soft drinks, sweetened teas and fruit drinks, sports drinks, “energy” drinks, and alcohol.)
Water is the best way to replenish the body. Many people try to meet the demand by routinely drinking 6-8 glasses daily. Since water needs vary with exertion, climate and body size, this is a reasonable target, but not necessarily right for everyone. Below you will find one of the formulas that nutritionist use to estimate water needs.
Keep in mind that your liquid intake doesn’t all have to come from a glass. The water in vegetables, fruit and what is absorbed by cooked grains and beans also counts (see Did You Know ….? On the other hand, beverages high in added sweeteners, caffeine and/or alcohol have a water-depleting effect. Another drawback to satisfying our need for water with such beverages is their caloric impact – on average, 100 to 150 calories per 8 ounce glass for fruit juices and soft drinks.
To boost your daily water intake, develop habits that make it readily available.
- Keep containers of drinking water in the refrigerator.
- Set water out on the table at mealtime.
- Carry a personal water bottle around with you.
- Extend juices by mixing them with sparkling or still water.
- Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, cooked grains, beans.