Everyday we are faced with a myriad of choices for beverages. And it can be challenging to know which ones we should pick. Last week, we talked specifically about sports drinks and the best way to hydrate after a workout. This week, we want to talk about the rest of the beverage choices you make each day. Especially in regard to how they can affect your goals!
Hydrating Beverage Choices
Approximately 60 percent of the body is made up of water, so it is crucial for optimal health and function to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Water is the easiest choice when it comes to a beverage that will keep you hydrated. Try to consume around half of your body weight in oz of water a day. So if you weigh 190 lbs, your goal should be 85 oz.
For someone who finds water unappealing or needs some flavor, there are a variety of zero calorie flavoring packets and liquid drops available.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, BodyArmor, etc. can be a good choice for activities where lots of sweating is involved. The idea behind the sports drinks is that they replenish the electrolytes (essential minerals) that are lost from sweat during exercise. Most sports drinks contain water, sugar and some combo of electrolytes. Beneficial for intense activity, the carbohydrates in the form of sugar provide a quick burst of energy and the electrolytes help the body to maintain hydration levels.
The only downside of most sports drinks is the calorie count. For someone watching what they eat or trying to lose weight, consuming 200 calories of sugar water isn’t ideal. If this is the case, plenty of company’s make ready to mix electrolyte packets or tabs which can be dropped in water and are only 20-30 calories. If you’re on a budget, this electrolyte mix can also be accomplished by a pinch or two of sea salt and some lemon or lime juice.
Beverages containing caffeine can be beneficial as they can make us feel more awake and focused. These can be beneficial in the morning to wake up or before a workout to give us an energy boost. Everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine and everyone metabolizes it at a different rate. This means that everyone’s limit for caffeine intake is going to be different.
Certain people cannot tolerate caffeine well and will get super jittery. Those people may have the goal of limiting caffeine consumption. A good beverage choice would be a tea variety with very minimal caffeine or just skip caffeine all together. For others who can tolerate caffeine better, there are a ton of choices. These choices range from a cup of coffee containing about 80mg of caffeine to energy drinks containing around 300mg of caffeine.
Caffeine consumption needs to be tailored to you. Each individual needs to figure out how much caffeine is a good amount. A couple deciding factors are how jittery you get and if you have trouble falling asleep. Drinking an energy drink before you work out may get you super hyped up. However, it may cause you to have trouble falling asleep at night. If that’s the case, then the energy drink might be a bad choice. A cup of coffee or tea may serve you better, still giving you energy to workout but allowing you to fall asleep.
In the end, you have to play around with your caffeine consumption a bit and figure out what works best for you.
Juices and Smoothies
Juices and smoothies are often labeled as health foods. This can definitely be true as they contain a variety of different micronutrients from fruits and veggies. In liquid form, however, juices and smoothies are devoid of fiber which is one of the best benefits of fruits and veggies.
Liquid calories can also be very easy to over consume and are very calorically dense. A smoothie from a juice bar usually has around 500-600 calories and will not be very satiating. Smoothies and juices aren’t a bad choice by any means but they may not be the best choice for your goals. Just make sure you are aware of what you’re drinking and make a conscious decision.
Your Beverage, Your Beverage Choice
At the end of the day, it’s your choice what you drink. The goal of this article was just to educate and help you to make more conscious beverage choices. This is completely dependent on you as an individual and your goals.
Happy decision making!
As always if you have questions, please feel free to reach out or if you would like to schedule a nutrition assessment contact us.