One of the oldest nuggets of health advice is to drink plenty of water each day. Its impact on our health is obvious, but a new study adds a twist to the water story. It could change the way we eat. It could make our diets healthier…and it all has to do with our minds.
Separate studies on the topic of beverages appeared online recently in the journal “Appetite.” One involved a survey of 60 U.S. adults about pairing food and drink. The other experimented with younger children to investigate drinks and vegetable consumption.
The adults tended to favor the combination of soda served with salty, calorie-dense foods — rather than having vegetables. The youngsters ate more raw vegetables (carrots or red peppers) when the meal was accompanied by water rather than a sugary beverage.
In essence, our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks. The researchers recommend that we drink water with meals as often as possible, because we have a tendency to eat healthier while drinking water. Unhealthy beverages beget unhealthy food choices. We can’t help but associate a “Coke” with, say, a slice of pizza or a batch of French fries.
In this way, water could be a simple dietary change to help combat the rising epidemic of obesity and related diabetes. Also, drinking water with meals would reduce dehydration. That is a very important point, as experts say that 75% of adult Americans are chronically dehydrated.
“If the drink on the table sets the odds against both adults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water,” the researchers conclude.
It’s an important step for adults, and perhaps even more critical for youngsters. If we address things early with children, it will improve nutrition across the board and prevent many kids from falling into the overweight trap. Water makes up 60% of your body weight. Everything in your body relies on water, including functions that flush
toxins away, whisk nutrients to cells, and moisten the ear, nose and throat. Many aren’t aware that we lose water not only with urine, but also by sweating and breathing. We have to replenish our supply. The Institute of Medicine has said that men require about three liters of beverages each day, and women 2.2 liters. Know the adage “drink eight glasses of water a day?” Well, assuming those glasses are eight ounces, that’s only about 1.9 liters. Better up that level!