High temperatures, high humidity, and people drinking a lot more to just stay hydrated. While it is good to keep your body hydrated, be careful what you are drinking. Many people buy sodas, energy drinks, Gatorade, or flavored coffees when they are feeling thirsty; most of these products do not hydrate as well as water and all of them contain high levels of sugar and calories. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, drinks can throw off your daily calorie count. Many people forget to count the calories in their drinks, and drink a large portion of their daily calories without gaining large quantities of needed nutrients. To begin with, the average American should consume between 2,000 and 2,500 mg of sodium per day- one teaspoon of salt has around 2,300 mg in it. They should consume sugar at an average of 37 grams (7.4 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (5 teaspoons) for women. And as mentioned in one of my previous articles, the calorie intakes vary within genders and activeness, but on average, you should consume around 2,000 calories a day. Here are some popular drinks that contain more than just a great taste.
According to their own nutrition facts, one 20oz bottle of Coca-Cola has 240 calories, 75 mg of sodium, and 65g of sugars. So in this one bottle, you are consuming over 10% of your calorie intake for the day and almost double your allowed sugar consumption for the day! In one drink!
Energy Drink- Red Bull
One 8.4 oz can of Red Bull (the smallest/original size) contains 110 calories, 200mg of sodium, and 27g of sugar. So with this one drink, you have 5.5% of your daily calorie intake, 8.6% of your daily sodium intake, and 77% of daily sugar for men and 108%of women’s daily sugar intake. Granted yes, red bull does give you large quantities of energy and there are some circumstances that will require you to be awake and energetic, but this small drink has almost no nutrition in it and a large portion of your daily sodium, calorie, and sugar recommended intake.
Starbucks’ Frappuccino Mocha Flavor
This coffee flavored drink which, granted, does taste good, contains 150 calories, 80mg of sodium, and 26g of sugar. This is 7.5% of your daily calories, 3.4% of your daily sodium, and 70% of sugar intake for men, and over 100% of sugar intake for women. While it also does contain calcium (20% of your daily value), there are healthier ways to get your calcium that are not so packed with sugar and calories.
Personally, I am a huge fan of Gatorade after an intense work out. It provides your body with necessary nutrients, makes your muscles feel better and hydrates your body quickly with electrolytes. My main flaw with Gatorade is that people drink it when they don’t need it and think that it is better than water. Gatorade also writes their nutrition facts to be tricky- they list the serving size as 8 oz serving, when their bottle is really 20oz (this is the bottle the same size as the Coca-Cola bottle). In one of these bottles, Gatorade contains 150 calories, 275mg of sodium, and 35g of sugar. This is 7.5% of your daily calorie intake, 11.9% of your daily sodium intake, and 94.5% of men’s daily recommended sugar intake and 140% of women’s daily recommended sugar intake. While Gatorade does contain electrolytes and Potassium (30mg), its sodium and calorie contents are a large portion of the recommended daily consumption.
My recommendation: stick to water. It will hydrate you better than any of these other drinks without the added calories, sodium, and sugars. An added trick: if you drink lukewarm water, your stomach feels full and you will not get as hungry as quickly. If you drink ice cold water, your body will expend energy having to warm it up, and therefore, you will burn calories. If you just get absolutely fed up with water, make sure that you check the nutrition facts on the back of whatever you are drinking and opt for drinks that are low calorie, have low sugar content, and contain lower amounts of sodium.