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Time to Rethink What You Drink?

May 21, 2012

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Aggressively marketed as important for health and hydration, a mind-boggling array of packaged beverages vie for our attention in the marketplace: sports drinks, energy drinks, fitness waters, vitamin waters—even “designer waters.” That’s not even counting the dozens of varieties of plain bottled water.

To see and hear the advertisements you’d think that before bottled beverages, human beings were unable to manage their thirst or replace the “electrolytes” lost through everyday living.

For sure, water makes up as much as 65 percent of adult body weight. It’s essential for most bodily functions, so staying well hydrated is essential to good health.

But what’s in that bottle besides water?

Many of these supposedly health-promoting drinks have come under scrutiny and even attack by public health advocates.

Experts have concerns about the long-term health effects of many of today’s “enhanced waters” and “energy” drinks, especially on children, teens, young adults, and people with or at risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • The average American adult drinks about 400 calories a day, mostly from sugary sodas, sweetened teas, sports and energy drinks, juice drinks, and alcohol. Those calories add up. Drinking 400 calories of sugary beverages each day can pack on more than a pound’s worth of calories (3500) every nine days--more than 40 pounds a year.
  • “Energy” drinks can simultaneously contribute to obesity and poor nutrition. Drinking high-calorie beverages doesn’t give you the sense of fullness that solid food does, so you keep sipping those empty calories.
  • Many also contain a big jolt of caffeine and other stimulants, which may be harmful and even addictive to children, teens, and some adults.
  • Other energy drinks contain vitamins, amino acids, and unregulated herbs in ratios, amounts, combinations, and forms that may be harmful
  • Many bottled drinks may cause irreversible damage to teeth, because the high acidity levels of energy drinks erode tooth enamel.

Health experts suggest drinking plain tap water to stay hydrated throughout the day, even during and after exercise. Carried in a refillable water bottle, it’s convenient, no-cost, and calorie-free. I find a squirt of lemon or lime and a few ice cubes makes it seem more special.

A diet of healthy meals and snacks each day offers all the calories, vitamins, and “electrolytes” you need to replace what you ordinarily lose.

Exceptions include hours-long periods of hard physical work or intense exercise, and cases of extreme diarrhea and vomiting. In such instances, try this cheap, homemade rehydration drink.

The costs

According to one report, Americans spend $21 billion a year on bottled water, as compared with only $29 billion maintaining the infrastructure of our public water system. Some critics of bottled water think this pits private drinking habits against maintaining municipal water supplies.

Closer to home, the various bottled waters at my local supermarket range from less than a buck a bottle for plain bottled water to $6.00 for a can of a high-end energy drink. My frugal household long ago switched to drinking tap water, along with home-brewed coffee and various teas.

Hot-topic related costs, important but too complex for this blog post, include the steep energy and environmental costs of bottling water, and the social and economic impacts of turning water into a private commodity for sale and profit

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Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, eats weeds, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.

Comments

Our water in Oklahoma is

By justin.w.mayes

Our water in Oklahoma is pretty bad. The drought has affected the lakes and even tap water has made my children sick. It's so bad, the county has informed us we need to boil the water that they bring us. I've used water filters in the past, but it hasn't affected the smell and only dulled the taste. I like bottled water.

Very interesting thoughts,

By Gary Pollard, III

Very interesting thoughts, for sure. If it is man-made and not directly from nature, it is not as healthy as if it were natural. The earth will not produce modified or synthesized drink or food, so why buy the modified stuff? The biggest issue with most of those sports drinks is the high MSG content. Drinking something that is known to hamper the brain's ability to let you know when you've had enough or too much cannot be healthy at all.

I live in a region that has

By r.l.sherrod49

I live in a region that has severe hard water. It looks and smells bad. It is harsh enough to destroy water heaters, refrigerators (with ice makers) and washing machines. It is imperative to have a water softener. Otherwise you will be replacing appliances often. With that being said, bottled water is the best option, nothing fancy just water.

I was born in Michigan on well water. I absolutely loved it. Missouri water no way. So there are parts of the country bottled water is the best option under the circumstances

I drink tap water all the

By pearl64

I drink tap water all the time i fill up water bottles and place them in my refrigator and when i want a drink i just get it out of the frig. i also freeze a couple for long drives or long walks in the summer. just wash them out good with soap and water and reuse the same bottles.when i was a kid growing up we never had alot of pop and chips in the house my mom would
make tea and koolaide and popcorn for snack while we would watch t.v.

personally, I think it's

By JAMES09

personally, I think it's crazy if not insane to buy bottled water. Why buy something that in most places you already have & are paying for? You want ice cold water? Go to the kitchen, turn on the faucet & take a glass or mug, or bottle that you've already filled with ice, and add some water. OH! That container of water was not enough?? Then do it again & again till you get enough. I mean, this is NOT rocket science folks, this is common sense! I realize that some may be a wee bit short in that department, and if that's the case, bottled water is the least of your worries. Filling a bottle with water from your tap is not hard...lest you make it out to be.

If you are going for most

By Juli

If you are going for most excellent contents like myself, just go to see this site every day
for the reason that it presents quality contents, thanks

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I've been a tap water drinker

By jerry litton

I've been a tap water drinker for some time. I also believe in more plant protein than animal protein. Raw fruits, nuts and veggies grown out on the septic tank is better than USDA grown animal protein but i sure do like a burger every once in a while. I also believe water does more for getting rid or wrinkles than all the wrinkle cream in the world. If Adam and Eve did not have it. I believe it might not be good for me either.In other words eating fruits, veggies and drinking room temperture water, getting some exercise especially if it is the prodcut of hard work and male and female marriage is about all there is needed to live a long and healty life. Anything else just don't make much sense.

Amen! I could not agree more.

By JAMES09

Amen! I could not agree more.

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