Drink Responsibly: Beverage Choices for your Health

The one thing we frequently hear is “drink more water.” Health care professionals say it, magazine articles preach it, and our generation perpetuates this advice.

Is there a way to increase your water intake without taking in extra calories, carbs or fake sweeteners? What are your options that provide for variety and health?

How can you drink responsibly and not get stopped by the carbohydrate police?

Beverage choices will quickly spend your carbohydrate dollars so mindfulness is key. The largest contributor to daily carbohydrate intake in the US is sugar-sweetened beverages. Adults who drink the equivalent of one soda per day (about 45 grams of sugar/carbs) are 27% more likely to be overweight or obese.

Children have a 55% greater chance of being overweight or obese if they drink one or more sugar sweetened beverages per day. Drinking beverages with sugar increases insulin release, which perpetuates more than weight issues, including diabetes and inflammation.

One 12-ounce can of soda has 38.5 grams of carbohydrate from sugar, equivalent to almost three slices worth of bread. Since beverage staples are high in added sweeteners, syrups, and flavorings, what beverage options exist so you can enjoy a tasty beverage without breaking your health bank account?

Easy Grocery Store Options:

A great alternative to sodas, juices, and other sweetened drinks, HINT water contains no sugar or sweeteners and comes in 14 flavors! Our favorites are the watermelon, blackberry, and strawberry-kiwi. If you prefer bubbles HINT Fizz is even more satisfying.

Sparkling water that comes in 12 fruit flavors. The cran- raspberry, and lime are favorites.

Agua is unique because its flavors are Latino inspired! Flavors include horchata, lemon lime, guava, and pineapple coconut.

Nama cha is cold brewed raw tealeaves. The unsweetened flavor fits the bill and is a great alternative to ice tea.

On the Go Options: Coffee Bean and Starbucks

Coffee Bean will brew any of their teas hot or cold, and our favorites there are Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl, Moroccan mint, and Swedish Berries.

Starbucks passion fruit iced tea is very satisfying and although contains no sugar or sweeteners has a nice fruity sweet taste.

Home Options

Add-Ins:

  • A few drops of peppermint extract
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves or fresh grated ginger
  • Slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, oranges or sliced strawberries

In addition, an easy beverage for grab and go is brewing your own tea and putting in glass or reusable BPA-free containers.

Watching your liquid carbohydrate calories is an easy way to manage your carb account. Read the ingredient list on any beverage you buy and if in a restaurant ask if there is any added sugar or artificial/fake sweeteners in your beverage.

Whatever the occasion drinking responsibly can prevent much more than a hangover: weight issues, diabetes, and heart disease.

Disclaimer: Susan or associates have not been paid by any of the above companies.

This blog was co-written by Susan Dopart and RD Intern Farah Alrajaan