The earth’s surface is 71 percent water. Our bodies are 60 percent water. So it is logical that we need to nourish ourselves with water. Not soda. Not juice. Not ‘energy’ drinks. And, no, not milk from other mammals.
At a Mayor’s Fitness Council food summit held recently at the San Antonio Food Bank, experts were encouraging residents to make water their drink of choice. While it’s natural for animals to lap up water, thanks to the multi-billion dollar advertising industry, Americans tend to prefer drinks that are ruining our health.
The Nutrition Source states that of the billions spent on the marketing of soft drinks, a good amount of that budget targets youth — as young as two years of age. As a result, in part from the altered mindsets, obesity is an epidemic, and “adult-onset diabetes” is hitting children in elementary school. Sadly, sugar-laden drinks, including energy and sports drinks, are the number one source of calories in a teen’s diet, says the National Cancer Institute.
While we’ve seen a rise in bottled water marketing, and consumption, according to a U.S. Federal Trade Commission report, from 1989 to 2008, “calories consumed in the form of sugary beverages increased by 60% in children ages 6 to 11, and the percentage of children consuming them rose from 79% to 91%.” Certainly, no pediatrician would encourage a parent to give their baby a bottle filled with soda. So why should an adolescent, or adult, feed their cravings with these poisons?
That’s why the city of San Antonio’s Mayor’s Fitness Council is encouraging the community to cut back on sugary drinks and Drink Up. Eric Cooper, President, and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank introduced a tool kit for community organizers, health care workers, and schools to help spread the word. The mantra is 5-2-1-0. Five servings (or more) of fruits and vegetables each day, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks.
As part of the national Drink Up outreach, the Mayor’s Fitness Council is encouraging women to drink eight glasses of water daily; men, ten glasses. These amounts are over and above the water content from our food.
If you look at a pitcher of water as your daily drinking intake, imagine that the entire wide-body, or belly, is filled with water. The narrowing upper body may be filled with coffee or tea. We’re not talking “coffee-flavored sugar milk,” as a presenter referred to how some people prefer their morning drink. The lower neck on the jug can be filled with low-fat or non-fat milk. Then, one can drink a small amount of pure juice to fill the jug. No fruit-flavored drinks, rather freshly squeezed. While most people in Texas tend to guzzle their liquids, pure juice should be limited to just four ounces per day.
Finally, when you look at sodas and alcohol or energy drinks, there’s no room left in the jug, meaning that intake of these empty calorie, sugar-ridden drinks should be zero.
Just because you should avoid sugar-loaded drinks, does not mean you can substitute them with sugar-free artificially sweetened drinks. Studies have proven that these sweeteners alter your cravings and stimulate the appetite for more high caloric foods, resulting in increased weight. However, artificially sweetened drinks can be used to help transition or wean a sugar-addicted person off of the forbidden drinks.
To help illustrate and drive home the need for people to alter their drinking choices, the city of San Antonio has brochures as part of their tool kit, Rethink Your Drink. Go on Green. The Red, or danger zone drinks, are sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, pre-sweetened coffees or teas, fruit drinks, and whole or two percent milk. All the Reds contain approximately 12 grams of sugar per 12 ounces, and therefore, are considered empty calories, which should be avoided, completely. Take caution with the Yellow drinks: diet drinks, natural fruit juices, and other low sugar drinks including sweetened soy milk or flavored one percent milk. Go with the Greens: primarily tap water and seltzer water as the drink of choice.
According to The Nutrition Source: Harvard School of Public Health, “fruit juice is not a better option (than sugary beverages). Even though it has more nutrients, it contains as much sugar and calories as soft drinks.” South Texans aren’t getting enough of those veggies, either, but that’s another story.