Think About Your Drink - Making Healthy Choices for Adults Ages 60+
November 9, 2022
When making healthy choices, we often focus only on what we eat rather than what we choose to drink.
But news flash! Many popular beverages such as soda, energy and sports drinks, fruit drinks, and flavored coffee and sweet tea have little to no nutrients and are loaded with added sugar.
Unlike the sugar found in fruit, added sugar does not occur naturally. So it is not paired with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help the body process sugar. Without fiber, sugary drinks do not contribute to a feeling of fullness, making it even easier to have too many. And, excess sugar in the diet is linked to a number of health conditions, including weight gain, diabetes, heart and liver disease, and poor oral health.
Added sugar recommendations - for all the food and drinks we have in a single day - are no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. This means that a 12-ounce can of regular soda that contains 10 teaspoons of added sugar, is too much!
Water is the best first choice beverage because your body needs water to function properly. By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already a little dehydrated. In fact, older adults are at a greater risk for dehydration than other age groups. This is in part because we lose sensitivity to our sense of thirst as we age. Drinking water during and between meals can help you avoid dehydration.
What can you do when water gets boring? Add a splash of 100% fruit juice, crushed basil or mint leaves, chunks of fruit, or your favorite tea bag. Low or non-fat milk is a healthy choice too! Or opt for sugar-free sparkling water, or flavored water.
How can you tell if you are properly hydrated? Look at the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine, like the color of apple juice, tells you that your body needs more water. Aim to drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow color or clear. Keeping in mind that some medications and supplements can also change the color of your urine.
Plain drinking water provides optimal hydration while being inexpensive, calorie- and sugar-free, and readily accessible. Don't you feel like enjoying a cool, refreshing glass now? Ahhhh!