With the beautiful summer days, we are more often thirsty. And when we talk about balanced diet, most often we forget an important element: what we drink.
Yet, we all know, we can not live more than a few days without drinking, while it is possible to survive weeks without eating. The human body is composed of 80% of water at birth, contains only 45% of it in the elderly, and represents 80% of the mass of our brain. We all too often forget that drinks can be a significant actor in our (un) balanced diet. Here are some things to get you thinking about what you drink…
And if you do not have time to read: drink water regularly without waiting for thirst (thirst is the first stage of dehydration), and reserve the rest for special occasions 🙂
Hydration = water, and that’s all
Water is the only food needed and sufficient to hydrate our body. Other drinks may be of interest, which can be taste, social, psychological or physiological. Water needs vary from one individual to another, depending on age, physical activity, outside temperature and weather, sweating, feeding…). These needs are on average around 50 to 68oz of water per day, calculated according to the “losses”, we are not going to make you a drawing 🙂
When you do not drink enough, the body’s reaction does not take long: difficulty concentrating (yes, the water bottle on the desk makes you more effective!), Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and in extreme cases: loss of consciousness, coma… In high heat conditions or intense sporting events, these “extreme” cases can occur faster than we think. Drinking regularly and in sufficient quantity is important to stay healthy.
The effects of dehydration can also have a perverse effect, that of making us swallow calories while we are not hungry. Here we are! Dehydration causes a feeling of fatigue, to which we can respond by snacking or having a sweet drink. So if you need to take a break and feel tired, do not hesitate to drink a glass of water before taking anything else 🙂
Sport drinks are ONLY for high intensity effort
When intense and prolonged efforts are made (more than 1h30), such as during a run or a long walk, one can be led to drink a lot of water in a short time. Under these conditions, water “dilutes” the nutrients and especially the salt in our body, and this dilution can have consequences as dangerous as dehydration.
It is in this context that sport drinks, hyper or iso-tonic (which have a mineral concentration greater than or equal to that of our organism, for simplicity) may be interesting. If you do a little jog or a stroll, water is the only drink you will need: Sport drinks bring a lot of calories, from 80 to 150 per glass. As their concentration of sugar is high, they disrupt our body by causing a peak of insulin (see article on the glycemic index) which can cause a drowsiness, the opposite effect of the wanted one!
Alcohol, soda and fruit juice: when and how?
Obviously, a life that would only include water as a drink would be very sad, and it is a French woman who tells you that! With or without alcohol, beverages other than water should remain as exceptions in a balanced diet. Here is a small list of points of vigilance or at least food for thoughts for you:
Alcohol (recommendation 2 per week on average)
With about 100 calories for a glass of 12cL of wine, 170 calories for one half (33cL) of beer and 130 calories for 4cL of pastis, one quickly understands where the calories of the aperitif come from. If you compare with a handful of peanuts (35g) at 215 calories, it is best to avoid combining the two. A trick: start the aperitif with a large glass of water to quench your thirst, you will drink only for pleasure, at least in theory 🙂
Long considered “healthy” options, fruit juices are actually false friends. The vitamins they bring are countless compared to the sugars they contain. Especially if you consume vegetables and fruits daily. There is as much sugar in a glass of orange juice as in a glass of coca! So if you want to have fun, tell yourself that one is worth the other, and forget the so called vitamins from the juice. Nothing replace fruit and vegetable in the diet.
The sodas are generally forbidden in their “classic” versions. You should also be wary of the light versions, not for calories (they do not contain any) but for their sweet taste that deceives the brain that get used to the sweet taste. In the long term, this directs your consumption towards “real” sweet foods … The good news is that you can get unused, substituting sodas by lemon soda water for example, or flavored with fruit or mint. If this is your case, you must re-habituate the palate to the taste of water, and keep the sodas for special occasions.
Should we prefer bottled water?
The sanitary quality of tap water is generally very good, and municipal websites provide information on water quality. The problem can come from its taste, and there, as they say, there is no accounting for it.
Mineral water or spring water? It depends on the continent!
In America, unlike Europe, bottled water is often demineralized and then remineralized. It can also come from natural sources. In each case, it is indicated on the bottle. In America, mineral waters are waters containing a high content of minerals, and spring waters contain few minerals.
In Europe, on the other hand, “mineral waters” contain constant levels of minerals and are necessarily from springs, while “spring waters” may have varying levels of minerals.