Everyone knows that we need water to survive.
The human body is between 60 and 70% water, and as a person becomes dehydrated, the body’s systems have to work much harder to function. A human will likely die in 3-5 days if he or she doesn’t have any water to drink.
So, we need water to live. No one argues that. How much water we need, however, is a point of contention. Another point of contention is what exactly counts as “water”. Does juice count? What about pop? Coffee?
The standard amount of recommended water a person should have daily is 64 ounces, or a half a gallon. For some people, drinking a half a gallon of water a day is no big deal. For the rest of us, however, getting to our daily quota is rather difficult.
While there is no argument from health professionals that water is the best option, there are other options that still count toward your 64 ounces. Virtually any liquid counts, but some non-water choices are much better than others. Coffee and tea, without creams and sugars, are good options to help you get to your daily allotment. While coffee and tea both have caffeine in them, new research has showed that caffeine doesn’t dehydrate you as we used to believe. Coffee and tea also have the added benefit of being packed with antioxidants, so not only do they add flavor to your water, but they also provide beneficial enzymes to the body.
While caffeine is no longer considered a dehydrator, pop does not end up on the list of good alternatives for water. Simply put, regular soda is so full of sugar and calories that removing them from your diet is a great benefit to your health. Diet sodas aren’t any better either, because the artificial sweeteners can cause long term problems to your health. Also, mounting evidence is showing that diet drinks actually encourage more sugar consumption throughout the day. So while you aren’t getting the calorie bomb with your diet pop, you’re much better off long term staying away from them.
Juice and sports drinks are another thing to avoid. While marketers have lauded them as healthy options, especially as alternatives to pop machines in schools, they pack a huge sugar punch as well. Sports drinks do have some salts and can be seen as beneficial during high intensity, long duration exercises, but they aren’t good for just drinking throughout the day. Most store bought juices are only 10-20% juice, the rest is HFCS and water, so don’t consider them a good option for meeting your goal either.
At the end of the day, water is far and away your best option. An occasional glass of juice or bottle of Gatorade probably won’t have much of an impact on your waistline, just make sure you make them the exception instead of the rule.