Flavored beverages might be more exciting than plain water - but maybe they're providing something other than hydration.
Q. I've finally kicked my diet soda habit and I don’t want to replace it with something just as bad for me. I don’t like coffee or tea and water gets boring, even if it is best. What can I drink instead?
Q. My kids really like flavored beverages. Which ones are healthiest?
A. I get a lot of variations on this question. People are getting the message that soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, coffee concoctions, and other sweetened beverages are a huge source of empty calories—excess calories that many of us can’t afford. But everyone seems to be looking for a replacement. Something just as tasty but not as bad for you. Something more interesting than plain water. Most people who come to me with this question also list all the things they’ve tried—lemon water, herbal tea, seltzer, etc.—all of which failed to excite them.
I think the problem is that we’ve come to use beverages not as a source of hydration but as a source of entertainment. Just as we obsessively punch at our hand-held devices to supply a constant stream of mental stimulation, we stimulate our taste buds by incessantly sipping on flavored drinks. We may rationalize this as a way to stay hydrated. But contrary to conventional wisdom, it doesn’t take nearly as much water to stay hydrated as you might think.
If you find water boring, perhaps you’re not thirsty?
Cup of Water image from Shutterstock