Hydrate Effectively and Stay Hydrated

Lee Health Healthy Living

Many popular drinks are laden with calories that could add hundreds of calories to your diet. Calories in drinks are listed on the labels but you must read Nutrition Facts labels carefully. Most labels will give the calories per serving, not per bottle so be sure to check the serving size of the bottle to get an accurate count of your caloric intake otherwise you could consume twice the calories you planned on.

Drinking beverages with your meals that are sweetened or have a high fat content can add almost 800 calories to your diet. You will not add any extra calories to your diet by substituting a bottle of water, diet soda, unsweetened sparkling water or water with a slice of lemon or lime. Keep diet beverages to a minimum since the added artificial ingredients and chemicals can slow down your body’s fat burning processes.
The Centers for Disease Control offers insight into other names that artificial sweeteners use so that you can better tell if your drink is artificially sweetened. They are:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

Some people simply don’t like the taste of plain water so they avoid drinking it. Many have found that adding slices of fruits or vegetables to your water will add flavor and zest. Some popular fruits used to infuse water are Watermelon, Strawberries, Peaches, Pineapples & Oranges. These fruits have high water content and are also great to eat to increase your hydration level. Since our bodies are comprised of 60% water, our health depends on staying hydrated. Some effects of dehydration are fatigue, high blood pressure, skin disorders, high cholesterol, digestive disorders and more. Our bodies need plenty of water to function properly and to be healthy.

It is also very important to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and more if you have been exercising. Renee Melton, MS, RD, LD, advises the following water intake when exercising. Beginning 1-2 hours before your workout, drink 15-20 ounces of water. Drink another 8-10 ounces of water 15 minutes before you begin. During your workout, be sure to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes.

Our humid weather here in Southwest Florida can also affect our hydration level. Michael Gleiber, MD, PA of Southwest Florida notes:
“Hot, humid climates like those along the Gulf coast, the Caribbean, and parts of Latin America also cause excessive sweating, which can be problematic in this type of climate. Our bodies produce sweat to keep us cool, but it is only when the sweat evaporates that our bodies cool down. When there is already a high level of moisture in the air, it is difficult for the air to absorb the moisture from our skin. This can eventually lead to a loss of body fluid and dehydration. You have probably heard this several times before, but it bears repeating: drink lots of water. You need to keep your body hydrated, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outside. Aim to drink 1-2 glasses of water for every hour you are outside. This will help you to restore your fluid levels and reduce water loss.” 

For more information on hydration and calorie intake of beverages go to Rethink your Drink at CDC.