(ARA) - We're deep in the hectic schedules of winter time. As we race through our jam-packed days, it's even more important to make sure we are drinking enough fluids to maintain our energy and our good health. But with so many choices and so much news swirling around about what's safe and what's healthy, choosing the right beverages for you and your family can seem complicated.
"There's a lot of inaccurate information out there about beverages and the role they play in overall health and well being," says registered dietician and nutrition-culinary expert Kim Galeaz. "It's important for people to have the facts so they can make informed choices."
Here are five common beverage myths that you may have heard. Quench your thirst for knowledge and you'll find that you have even more healthy options for refreshment and enjoyment.
1. MYTH: Only water hydrates. Contrary to popular belief, water isn't the only beverage that hydrates. In fact, most beverages, including soft drinks, tea, coffee, sports drinks and milk are at least 85 percent water. And that Diet Coke you enjoy in the afternoon? It's more than 99 percent water!
Choose beverages that you enjoy. Several studies show that children and adults consume about 45 to 50 percent more liquid when it's flavored versus plain water.
2. MYTH: Caffeine dehydrates. While caffeine can have a mild, short-term diuretic effect in individuals who don't normally consume caffeine, studies have shown that this is not the case for people who regularly consume caffeine. In fact, a report on water needs released in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine found that all beverages, including those with caffeine, contribute to hydration needs.
Enjoy your morning coffee. Moderate caffeine consumption for adults -- the amount contained in 2 to 3 cups of coffee or 5 to 6 cans of caffeinated soft drinks -- has not been associated with adverse health effects or dehydration.
3. MYTH: Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners aren't safe. According to taste researchers, sweetness is one of our first flavor preferences, yet some people believe the secret to losing weight is eliminating sweetness from their diets. That's not necessary. Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners have been thoroughly tested and used throughout the world for many years, and are approved by the FDA.
Reduce your caloric intake without feeling deprived by drinking light, low-calorie and no-calorie versions of your favorite beverages.
4. MYTH: Carbonated soft drinks cause tooth decay. While all common sugars, including those in bread, cereal, juice and soft drinks, can contribute to the development of cavities if they stay in contact with the teeth, your teeth are exposed to a beverage for only a short amount of time. Also, the saliva that constantly bathes the teeth prevents erosion from acidic drinks like orange juice and soft drinks. Due to improved dental hygiene, tooth decay has declined significantly over the last 20 years, even as soft drink consumption has increased.
Bite back. Visit your dentist regularly and follow recommendations for daily dental hygiene. The widespread use of fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste and mouthwash has greatly improved dental health, making teeth more resistant to acid attack from plaque bacteria.
5. MYTH: All adults must drink 8 cups of water a day for good health. While there is no scientific evidence to support this long-held belief, many people still refer to this as the standard. The Institute of Medicine estimates that Americans get an average of 80 percent of their daily fluids from water and other beverages and about 20 percent is provided by foods. Larger people require more fluids. The IOM recommends 13 cups of fluids daily for adult males and 9 cups for adult females.
Get the facts. The specific amount of fluid you need each day depends on many factors, including your gender, age and weight, your environment, your health, and your activity level. One way to determine your needs is by using a hydration calculator like the one available at www.makeeverydropcount.com. Enter some simple information and you'll receive all the information you need to quench your thirst.
Courtesy of ARAcontent