|WATER IS THE FLUID OF CHOICE FOR
Peggy Papathakis, RD
|When you talk about hydration, water is the fluid of choice. Thats
because drinking beverages such as iced tea, coffee, sodas, beer and wine actually
encourage fluid loss due to their caffeine and alcohol content. Too much caffeine can even
increase blood pressure and cause an irregular heartbeat.
fluids for water can negatively impact our health, especially that of children. A study
published in Pediatrics magazine found that children who drink more than 12 ounces
of juice per day "were significantly shorter or more overweight than
classmates." Prolonged consumption of juice directly from the bottle also can lead to
cavities from sugars and carbohydrates that remain on teeth.
Health experts contend that when children are raised on sugared beverages such as
juices, they become accustomed to the sweet flavor and shy away from water. In fact, a
1995 study in The Archives of Disease in Childhood has shown that 71% of preschool
children drink no water at all during the day. This contributes to dehydration, which can
impact the body in many ways.
As for teens and adults, reliance on fluids other than water also has serious side
effects. For instance, the sugar in colas contributes to tooth decay in teens, while in
adults, phosphoric acid can diminish bone density.
"Substituting other fluids for water can negatively impact
our health, especially that of children."
Sugar-containing beverages contribute to obesity in children and adults. Thats
because excess energy from sugar is stored as fat in the body.
In addition, a study in the September 1997 issue of Mens Health magazine
indicates that drinking apple juice or grapefruit juice instead of water can increase your
risk of kidney stone formation by 36 percent.
As for sports drinks, they are useful when consumed after or during vigorous and
prolonged exercise in high heat. But most experts agree that for moderate exercise, water
works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages. For instance, if you drink 12 ounces
of plain water, your body will absorb 8 ounces of it within 15 minutes. If you drink 12
ounces of a 10% sugar solution, less than 1 ounce will be absorbed in the same period. The
typical soft drink is a 10-12% sugar solution.
Remember that ingesting water in proportion to sweat loss best maintains cardiovascular
function and prevents body temperatures from rising too high.
Peggy Papathakis, R.D. is a California-based Registered Dietitian and Clinical
Nutritionist Pediatric Specialist at the University of California, Davis Medical Center in
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Copyright © 1997 Center for Holistic Instruction, PLLC. All rights reserved.
Revised: July 31, 2015.