Make Water Your Favorite Drink

Posted 04/26/2016 | By HealthCorps

You probably know that sugary soda and juices and energy drinks offer loads of calories. Drinking your calories is associated with weight gain, mostly because we don’t actually feel the calories. When you chew and swallow food, there is a fundamental perception of consuming calories and feeling satiated or full. Guzzle down some caloric drinks, and it’s likely to make little or temporary impact on your hunger. Those liquid calories can, however, add up and that can mean a growing waistline. Experts are recommending that most of us swap out calorie-free water for sugary beverages. A new study suggests drinking more water can actually help to control our weight and help to reduce our intake of sugar, sodium and fat.

The new study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics looked at over all intake of water, which can also source from foods like soup broth, celery, tomatoes and melons. The researchers used the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2012) which represented a sampling of more than 18,300 adults in the U.S. The specific data reviewed was from two days of a food diary that were between three and ten days apart. The University of Illinois lead researcher calculated the amount of plain water that each individual consumed, as a percentage of daily dietary water from liquid and food sources. Black tea, herbal tea and coffee were not included as sources of water though they were included in total water consumption.

On average, the participants consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water (water from tap, cooler, drinking fountain or bottle) daily – about 30% of their total water consumption. Overall, the subjects consumed about 2157 calories, which included 125 calories from sugar-sweetened drinks, and 432 calories from treats (non-essential foods). People who increased their water consumption by one to three cups daily, lowered their calories intake by 68 – 205 calories each day, and they lowered their sodium intake by 78 – 235 grams each day.

Those who drank more water also consumed less sugar and less cholesterol. The benefits were especially notable among men and among young and middle age adults, compared to females and older adults. That may be because higher daily calorie intakes are more likely associated with those groups, so they would (also) experience the most profound impact of drinking water more, compared to others.

The researchers suggest that just recommending “more water daily” might be a viable and effective way to get individuals to reduce overall calories and specifically, intake of sugar, salt and fat. It might be an easy public health campaign that most people can embrace because the mandate is simple, “Drink more water.” The health payoff is clearly substantial, from a weight and overall health perspective. This study also supports previous research that noted that adding more water fountains and dispensers in schools lowered obesity in students.

Quick tips:
• Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day
• Eat “water-rich” foods like vegetables and clear soups
• Flavor water with extremely low calorie ingredients like cucumbers, a splash of lemon or lime
• Unsweetened teas and black coffee are also a good way to add to your daily water tally
• Meet the daily guidelines of nine servings of combined fruits and vegetables daily, since these foods are also rich in water

Source: Medical News Today

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