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Americans Drink 25% of Daily Calories

“It’s hard to imagine drinking one-fourth of your daily calories,” are the thoughts of health-conscious beings around the country.  But Americans do, according to statistics.  And I’m not talking about liquids like fruit smoothies, whey protein power shakes and cosmopolitans.  Soda, juice, juice drinks, Kool-Aid, and specialty waters for fun, health and working out are guzzled at an alarming rate.  

Dropping into the Aisle of Soda at a local supermarket yesterday (the Investigative RD in me is prone to ogling at the varieties of sugar water being offered there), a sea of orange, yellow, green and brown swam around me in all sizes of plastic containers.  Diet, sugar-free, caffeine-free, diet AND caffeine-free, and flat, fizzy and healthy water abound (is that anything akin to holy water) – oh my! 

Seems Coca-Cola thinks so – they’ve been advertising Vitaminwater (with 33 g sugar per bottle) as a healthy beverage. Well, a special interest group called the CSPI (Centers for Science in the Public Interest) is calling Coca-Cola to task (aka lawsuit) for making unwarranted health claims about Vitaminwater.   Coca-Cola argues that  “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”

That simply makes me mad.

Once again, a big-time manufacturer of ingestible food-like stuff is claiming we are idiots – I would agree, wouldn’t you, that a drink claiming to contain vitamins should be good for us, at least better than soda? 

Thirty-five percent of Americans are obese.  Two-thirds are overweight.  And dieting is rampant.  Two plus two leads me to believe that a lot of us are turning to beverages like Vitaminwater instead of Coke or Orange Crush as a way of limiting excess sugar, the one culprit most medical and health experts agree is a causative factor in the plight of our country.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published an article advising us to cut down or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages as a sure-fire way to begin losing weight. 

I hear the wails of dissatisfaction already!  “Water doesn’t taste good,” shout the masses.  Let’s get creative then.  Here are some ideas that might boost excitement and delight of your taste buds while eliminating useless calories from your waist:

  • Add a few squeezes of fresh lime, lemon or orange juice to cold tap water.
  • Even better, use the juice of a whole lemon and a drizzle of real maple syrup for homemade lemonade.
  • Add a splash of organic ruby red grapefruit juice to a glass of sparkling club soda and ice.
  • Mix one-fourth OJ (or pineapple and other juices) with 3/4’s water for a lighter taste.
  • Steep a mint tea bag then pour over a tall glass of ice for refreshing iced tea.
  • Try white, green or fruity teas either hot or chilled.
  • Pour boiling water over dried herbs and spices, like cardomom, cloves, cinnamon – even savory ones like cumin and fennel – for a refreshing and naturally healthy anti-inflammatory drink.
  • Toss in a few bits of dried or candied ginger to green tea, pour over ice and top with club soda for a fizzy delight.

Bon appetit now that you’re eating your supper instead of drinking it!

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