Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Upgrade Your Daily Beverages

Are you a soda or a juice fanatic? Do you have at least one sugary soft drink per day? If so, consider this. Just one 12 oz bottle of cola contains 39 grams of sugar (actually high fructose corn syrup). That’s over 9 teaspoons of sugar – over ½ a pound of sugar per week, 31 pounds per year.

According to the USDA, a typical American is consuming ~131 pounds of sugar per year, with the majority of that coming from soft drinks and sweetened, processed foods.

Would you put 9 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee? I’m guessing no. Yet, this is what we’re consuming when we rely on sweetened drinks for hydration, which, by the way, do a terrible job of hydrating the body. All that sugar puts us on a roller coaster ride with our energy and blood sugar levels and becomes a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break free from.

So what are some alternatives to your daily carbonated, sugary beverage?

Water, of course. Not so interesting or fun, but the best form of hydration you can choose. We should be getting half of our body weight in ounces per day of water. How can we make water more interesting? By adding a shot of something tasty, like pomegranate or cranberry juice, a squeeze of lemon or cucumber slices. They all add a refreshing flavor to water without adding much if any sugar or added calories.

Herbal teas. Hot or cold, herbal teas like rooibos, jasmine, chamomile, mint, honeybush all have lots of flavor with little or no calories. Add a touch of honey for a bit of sweetness.

If it‘s the carbonation you’re after, try flavored, sparkling water or add your own flavor as above with a shot of juice. Another alternative is Kombucha, a fermented tea with a refreshing tanginess that comes in many flavors. There are many brands out there to try. It can also be cultured at home using a starter culture.

What’s your favorite healthy, hydrating beverage? Share it here!

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