Tag Archives: Beverages

Choose a Healthy Drink!

Say “YES” to 100% juice, milk and water!
  • Drink plenty of water. 8 cups will do!
  • Naturally flavor water with lemon, lime or cucumber wedges.
  • Drink nutrient rich low-far or skim milk.
  • Drink 4-6 oz of 100% juice per day.
  • Try unsweetened tea.

front of Drinks palm card

Say “NO” to added sugar, caffeine and empty calories.
  • Soda/Pop (diet and regular)
  • Sweetened Teas
  • Vitamin Infused Water
  • Sports Drinks
  • Energy Drinks
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Juice That is Not 100%
  • Coffee

back of Drinks palm card

 

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Important Nutrients to Know: Water

It’s important for your body to have plenty of fluids each day. Water helps you digest food, absorb nutrients from food, and then get rid of the unused waste. Water is found in foods—both solids and liquids, as well as in its natural state.

What To Drink As You Get Older
Learn about why it’s important for older adults to drink plenty of liquids, including water, and how to make healthy choices.

HERE’S A TIP

“But I don’t feel thirsty”

With age, you might lose some of your sense of thirst. To further complicate matters, some medicines might make it even more important for you to have plenty of fluids.

Take sips from a glass of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals. But don’t wait for mealtime—try to add liquids throughout the day. For example, have a cup of low-fat soup as an afternoon snack.

Drink a full glass of water if you need to take a pill. Have a glass of water before you exercise or go outside to garden or walk, especially on a hot day.

Remember, water is a good way to add fluids to your daily routine without adding calories.

Source: National Institute on Aging; Water

The Health Benefits of Tea

Across the country, restaurants, cultural venues and retail shops serve premium teas, while supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are stocking bottled tea.

According to the Tea Association of the USA, the number of Americans who will drink tea today is about 160 million, about half of the U.S. population. And, 2012 continued with the trend of increased consumer purchases of tea — surpassing the $2.25 billion mark in retail supermarket sales.

Ever since 2737 B.C., when Chinese legend says leaves from an overhanging Camellia sinensis plant fell into Emperor Shen Nung’s cup of boiling water, tea has been recognized by cultures around the world for its capacity to soothe, restore and refresh. Far from being an apocryphal promise, tea has been lauded for an array of potential health benefits — from reducing cancer and heart disease risk, improving dental health and boosting weight loss.

Tea and Heart Health
The strongest evidence is on the side of heart health, attributed to the antioxidants in tea. Flavonoids in both black and green tea prevent oxidation of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, reduce blood clotting and improve widening of blood vessels in the heart. Studies that looked at the relationship of black tea intake and heart health reported decreased incidence of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels and significantly lower blood pressure.

Can Tea Prevent Cancer?
Support for tea’s cancer prevention benefits is less compelling. It has been suggested that antioxidant polyphenol compounds — particularly catechins — in tea may play a role in preventing cancer. However, a 2007 review reported that with the exception of colorectal cancer, studies related to black tea and other cancers were extremely limited or conflicting.

Tea for Teeth
In 2010, Japanese researchers reported at least one cup of green tea per day was associated with significantly decreased odds for tooth loss. Other studies have suggested tea may lower the pH of the tooth surface, suppressing the growth of periodontal bacteria. A more likely reason for tea’s anti-cariogenic effect is its fluoride content. Tea usually is brewed with fluoridated water and the tea plant naturally accumulates fluoride from the soil.

Tea and Weight Loss
Evidence supporting tea as a weight-loss aid is based mainly on studies that used tea extracts (ECGC and other catechins, flavanols, polyphenols and caffeine). These results may not be directly applicable to brewed tea consumed in normal amounts.

Tea and Hydration
The caffeine content of tea varies widely depending on the kind of tea used and the way in which it is brewed. Typical levels for tea are less than half that of coffee, ranging from 20 to 60 milligrams per 8 ounces (compared to 50 to 300 milligrams in coffee). Studies found no negative effects on hydration with intakes of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (the amount in about seven cups of the strongest brewed tea).

Source: EatRight.org; The Health Benefits of Tea by Joanna Pruess and Neva Cochran, MS, RD, LD

10 Tips to Help You Eat and Drink More Dairy Foods

The Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soymilk. They provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein, and other nutrients needed for good health throughout life. Choices should be lowfat or fat-free—to cut calories and saturated fat. How much is needed? Older children, teens, and adults need 3 cups* a day, while children 4 to 8 years old need 2ó cups, and children 2 to 3 years old need 2 cups.

Download the PDF for the 10 tips.

Source: ChooseMyPlate.gov

The best and worst beverages for weight loss

Drink Pounds Away
Many of us watch what we eat but not what we drink when on a diet. That’s a mistake. The average American drinks one out of five of their daily calories. Choosing the right drinks can tweak your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help cut calories. Which drinks are spoilers and which are helpers on the path to weight loss?

Spoiler: Soda
Every time you chug a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories. Switching to diet soft drinks is an obvious way to cut calories, but the research is mixed on whether this switch leads to weight loss. Some studies show a short-term benefit. Others find diet soda drinkers gain weight. If you eat or drink more calories than you burn, just switching to diet soda may not do the trick.

Helper: Water
Replacing carbonated soft drinks with water will cut hundreds of calories per day. Drinking two glasses of water before a meal may also help you feel full faster, so you don’t eat as much. And drinking enough water may have a positive effect on your metabolism.

Jury’s Out: Fruit Juice
Juice can have as many calories as soda, but it has more nutrients. This presents a dilemma: You want the vitamins and antioxidants without all the extra sugar. Look for 100% fruit juice. Steer clear of juice drinks that have added sweeteners. Check the nutrition label for the percentage of real juice. You can also slash calories by drinking water with a tiny bit of juice added.

Helper: Vegetable Juice
Vegetable juice is as nutritious as fruit juice, with about half the calories but a lot more sodium. One cup of tomato juice has 41 calories, compared to 122 calories for orange juice. Choosing juice with pulp provides some fiber, too, which may help control hunger.

Jury’s Out: Smoothies
Blend a banana, strawberries, and blueberries into a frothy smoothie, and you’ve got a delicious drink. Make your own, so you can control the ingredients: skim milk (or an alternative, like almond milk) and fresh or frozen fruit are all you need. Restaurant smoothies may include ice cream, honey, or other sweeteners that boost the calorie count sky-high.

Jury’s Out: Low-Fat Milk
Eating calcium-rich foods may do a body good, and it may help you lose weight. Some research shows that drinking higher amounts of milk or eating other dairy foods can help with weight loss. For the best all-around benefits, stick to skim or low-fat.

Spoiler: Sports and Energy Drinks
Most sports and energy drinks are calorie bombs like soda. They may have more added nutrients, but you can find the same vitamins and minerals in low-calorie foods. When you’re working on weight loss, stay hydrated with water rather than sports drinks, unless you need the extra nutrients because you’re exercising hard and sweating a lot.

Helper: Black Coffee
When you need a shot of caffeine, coffee is a better choice than soda or energy drinks. Black coffee is calorie-free and rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown that drinking moderate amounts of coffee (about 3 to 4 cups a day) may improve mood and concentration, and may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Spoiler: Fancy Coffee
Once you add heavy cream, flavored syrups, or a snowcap of whipped cream, your mug of black coffee is full of fat and sugar. Specialty coffees can have up to 570 calories per cup: possibly more than an entire meal! If you don’t like your coffee black, add a little skim milk and artificial sweetener to keep the calorie count low.

Helper: Green Tea
Green tea is an excellent choice when you’re looking for a little boost. Not only is it calorie-free — some research suggests green tea extract may stimulate weight loss. It’s not clear exactly how that works, but caffeine and micronutrients called catechins may each play a role. The benefit appears to last only a few hours, so it may help to drink green tea at least twice a day.

Spoiler: Coolers
Coolers may sound light and airy, but they are heavy on calories. A 12-ounce cooler containing wine can have 190 calories and 22 grams of carbs. The same size hard lemonade or bottled alcoholic “ice” can have as much as 315 calories. Regular wine is not exactly a diet drink, with 100 calories in a 5-ounce glass. A low-calorie alternative is a wine spritzer: Mix a dash of wine with some sparkling water.

Spoiler: Cocktails
A shot of hard liquor has fewer calories than wine or wine coolers, but once you mix in soda or cream, watch out. An 8-ounce white Russian made with light cream has 715 calories. A less fattening option is to mix rum or vodka with diet soda.

Helper: Light Beer
OK, beer is not really going to help you lose weight. But if you’re out with friends and want to share a pitcher, light beer is the way to go. A 12-ounce serving has about 100 calories, compared to 150 calories for regular beer.

Source: WebMD; Skinny Sipping: Best and Worst Drinks for Weight

The Debate Over Sugary Drinks

In an attempt to reverse the obesity epidemic, lawmakers and health officials across the nation are considering new laws and taxes.

Legislation in California calls for the nation’s first warning labels on sugary drinks. A soda tax is being debated in Illinois, and New York City’s 2012 efforts to ban large sodas is now before the state’s highest court. Meanwhile, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks was enacted in Mexico, which has the world’s highest death rates from sugary drinks.

Americans drink about 45 gallons of sugary beverages a year, a veritable bathtub full of products linked to health problems, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugar in American diets,” said Dr. Goutham Rao, chairman of the American Heart Association’s Obesity Committee, vice chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Chicago and associate director of the Center for Clinical Research Informatics of the NorthShore University Health System. “While obesity is complex and has many causes, discouraging sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a simple, single behavior that can have a positive impact.”

The American Heart Association supports taxes, based on the scientific evidence about the health issues related to sugary drinks. Adults who down a sugary soda a day increase their likelihood of being overweight by 27 percent. Kids with the same habit more than double their risk to 55 percent. Research shows that a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent. Worldwide, sugary drinks are linked to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths each year.

Despite those figures, efforts to do something about it have struggled. More than 30 states and cities have tried to pass soda taxes without success in recent years.

But in California, Democratic state Sen. Bill Monning, who introduced the bill in the nation’s most populated state, said lawmakers have a responsibility to protect citizens. “As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians essential information they need to make healthier choices,” he said when introducing the bill earlier this month.

The measure would place a warning on drink containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. The warning, developed by nutrition experts, reads: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

In Illinois, a case of soda could get a $2.88 price hike if the Healthy Eating and Active Living Act passes. The legislation, introduced Feb. 19, would add a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in sealed containers and be the first of its kind in the country.

The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity predicts that the tax would reduce obesity in kids by 9.3 percent and adults by 5.2 percent, and save more than $150 million in obesity-related health care costs in a year. Similar taxes on tobacco were found to be effective in reducing smoking.

John Sicher, editor and publisher of the trade publication Beverage Digest, said the obesity problem in America is undeniable, but that sweetened beverages are getting too much of the blame. He also was critical of the measures proposed in California and Illinois, saying they won’t work or are unfair.

“Anybody who denies there is an obesity crisis in America has their heads deeply in the sand and the beverage industry does not deny that,” he said. “What I believe is that some of the proposed solutions are unfair to people with lesser means and are not going be effective.”

Soda taxes are regressive and would disproportionately affect lower-income people, he said. Sicher also said the California effort to add warning labels would really add nothing because the ingredients are already on the labels.

Regardless of whether these measures pass, from a public-health standpoint it’s crucial that everyone understands the harm these beverages can have.

Bridget Williams, a Chicago-area registered nurse and an American Heart Association volunteer, is the mother of two teenage boys who knows it can be tough to keep the treats out of the grocery cart.

“We all know that is difficult in a culture of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption,” she said. “But we can no longer ignore the devastating effects obesity has on a person’s life from healthcare and quality-of-life perspectives.”

For more information:
Voices for Healthy Kids
Sugar-sweetened beverage tax policy brief

Source: American Heart Association, Soda debate bubbling across the country