Re-Think Your Drink

(Wampsville, NY – July 2012) What is more refreshing during the summer heat than a cold can of soda or a glass of lemonade? These drinks may taste great, but did you know that your large sweetened drink could be adding about 400 calories to your daily total? To burn those extra 400 calories, you would need to walk at 3.5 mph for over an hour.

From 1989 to 2008, calories from sugary beverages increased by 60 percent in children ages 6 to 11, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. It’s easy for kids to like the taste of sweet drinks, but it’s healthier for them to grow up learning that water is the best thirst quencher.

Sugary drinks give your body “empty calories,” which are calories from solid fats or added sugars that have no nutritional value. Soda is less filling than solid food, so it is easy to drink many servings without realizing it. These excess calories can cause gain weight, which can lead to obesity and other serious health problems, such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

If you would like to reduce your calories, let’s take a look at what you can do to stay hydrated with healthier options.

Want that bubbly fizz from soda? Try seltzer. Add fruits, cucumber or mint to your seltzer or plain water to give it a tasty twist. Squeeze citrus, such as lemon, lime and oranges, to give it extra flavor.

Another beverage option that provides a healthy and more filling snack is a fruit yogurt smoothie. Combine your favorite fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt and skim milk or water in a blender to make a delicious snack with nutritious fruit filled with vitamins; however, the best option for staying hydrated is water. Staying hydrated is important, especially in the hot summer months.

Drinking water can help prevent headaches, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Re-think your drink: replace sugary drinks with those that will keep you hydrated and healthy.

Caroline Lee is a fellow of Colgate University’s Upstate Institute placed with Madison County Department of Health.

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