When you are thirsty, you pick up a drink. But is that drink always water? Almost everyone living in an urban environment may say ‘no’ to that. You are shopping in a mall, you feel thirsty, you pick up a cold drink. At office, on your desk, it is almost a ritual to fill up a cup of coffee or tea fairly frequently. In the morning you may have milk, in a café it may be a chiller, and when you work out, a sports drink. Missing something? Your body may be screaming out for plain and simple water. 70% of your body consists of water, and when the body’s water reserves begin to dwindle, it needs exactly that to replenish: water. In fact, all the other liquids are optional extras, and nature did not intend for you to have any of them. Here are some common drinks that do not substitute for water.
1. Sports Drinks
Gatorade and other sports drinks are very popular and easily available. A lot of people believe that if they are working out, they need a sports drink. It is not necessarily true. The major advantage of a sports drink is that it replaces the electrolytes your body loses in sweat. However, the body only needs instant replacing, if it is really hot or you have been working out intensely for an hour or more. Even during intense workouts, it is best to have a few sips of a sports drink and a lot of water. Apart from electrolytes, most sports drinks have chemical additives, 20-30 grams of sugar per bottle and a lot of calories, all of which you may not need.
Caffeine can cause several health ills, if you are addicted to it. One of these is dehydration. When consumed in excess, caffeine becomes a diuretic and causes you to lose a lot of water in urine. This can cause dehydration, which in turn causes your metabolism to slow down, and this spells disaster for your weight loss goals. You need to regulate how much coffee you have, and consciously consume water at frequent intervals.
Soda ads will have you believe that you can have nothing more refreshing on a hot day, but that is as far from the truth as you can possibly get. Sodas basically contain artificial chemicals (associated with several health problems), caffeine and loads of sugar, and other than the taste, offer you nothing. Apart from loading you with junk calories, they are also addictive (thanks to the caffeine) and diminish your desire for plain water. Definitely a drink that does not substitute for water!
A lot of people sitting in a café on a hot day, will have a glass of iced tea, a syrup-based drink or a squash. These chillers do contain a lot of water, but they also contain a lot of sugar and calories. So, without realizing it, your 2-3 glasses of iced-tea a day set you back by about as many calories as a mid-day snack. Additionally, consumption of refined sugar will cause an energy kick, followed by an energy dip. This yo-yo cycle will not allow your body or your mind to perform at optimal levels. Chillers, even herbal ones, are without doubt counted amongst drinks that do not substitute for water.
5. Fruit Juices
Fruit juices do contain some vital nutrients, but the natural sugar in them is a simple carbohydrate, exactly like artificial sugar, with the same effect as mentioned above. If you want the taste and health benefits of fruit, it is a lot better to have it whole rather than in juice form. That way you also get in fiber, which is vital for your body, and is generally thrown away as residue, when juice is extracted.
The best form of tea is herbal tea without sugar, and it may perhaps be the only exception to the long list of drinks that do not substitute for water. Apart from re-hydrating you, herbal tea contains vital antioxidants too. However, research is still ongoing on the properties of herbal teas, and some health experts claim that drinking tea in excess adversely impacts the ability of the body to absorb iron from food. In other words, water still stands alone!
Milk is mostly water, but it has other ingredients that make it a complex product. To begin with, it consists of proteins, which are vital for the body. However, unless you are doing intense bodybuilding, you shouldn’t overload your body with proteins. A lot of things you eat during your day also have proteins, so the question is how much more do you need with milk. Most of us simply cannot afford to have a liter or more of milk a day.
Unless it is in its skimmed form, milk also has a lot of calories and fat, which are detrimental to weight loss goals. Besides, most adults are lactose intolerant after a point, and cannot absorb too much milk. At the end of the day, skimmed milk is great with its calcium and protein, but only within limits.
Nothing can change the fact that your body requires 1.5-2 liters of waters a day. There is no other liquid that you can have six tall glasses of comfortably in a day, and maintain that kind of a lifestyle. If you are serious about your health and weight loss goals, you need to regulate your consumption of these drinks that do not substitute for water. Do you get enough water in a day?
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