Choose your drink to change your meals
The Mayor of New York recently made headlines when he made public his legislation to ban sales of soft drinks over 16 ounces in restaurants and convenience stores to help combat the city’s obesity problem. This has many people at odds with the mayor over whether he has the right to oversee that part of their life or not. Some have even called him the Nanny because they feel he is overstepping his boundaries. However, the Mayor is aware of how much the soda industry is affecting the health and weight of both adults and children in this country.
When most people begin to consider a diet plan, they reach for the latest fad diet that will help them to drop weight the fastest. The thing is that these fad diets hardly ever work and if they do work it isn’t long and we are right back where we started because we didn’t change the basic core of the problem. The main problem is the high calorie intake of food and beverage in the average life of a person. We can get pretty good at counting calories in our food, but simply forget or discount the calories in our drinks. We like what we drink to be a little sweet, but what if what we were drinking was causing us to crave the most unhealthy food choices, would that make us change our choice of drink?
Researchers at the University of Oregon and Michigan State University have recently conducted surveys to see if what we choose to drink affects what we choose to eat. They found that choosing to drink water with our meals would make us choose to eat the more healthy food choices available like raw vegetables instead of choosing high calorie junk food. In their study they used a group of adults ages 19-23 and a group of children ages 3-5 years. The children ate more raw vegetables when drinking water than when drinking a sweet beverage. The adults preferred the combination of soda and salty calorie dense foods rather than soda and vegetables as well.
Consider the average person walking into a convenience store to get a soda, nine times out of ten they walk back out with a soda and a bag of chips, candy bar, or some other junk food item. If convenience stores offered a salad bar area with carrot sticks, pepper strips, celery sticks, and other raw vegetables, they would end up throwing most of it out every single night from lack of use. People simply do not pair sweet drinks and raw veggies. The combinations in which foods and drinks are consumed can demand each others company. We like to pair complimentary flavors with each other, like red wine and red meat, white wine and fish. But, when pairing these flavors together we are not always getting the best bang for our health.
It is time to take a really hard look at what we are choosing to drink and decide if it is making us also choose to eat the unhealthiest food available. As adults we make choices for ourselves and for our children. Then when our children are adults they will do the same, if we raise our children on juice and soda they will raise theirs the same and soon we have children that won’t drink water. Not drinking water brings out the obesity problem we are seeing in our children along with the higher rates of childhood diabetes. Water is the key to our health, we need to take a step back and really look hard at our lifestyles and habits and change our drink choices and then our food choices will be different as well.
Great tasting healthy water isn’t hard to come by. It can come right out of the kitchen faucet. Water doesn’t have to taste like chlorine straight from the water treatment plant. Often that is the reason people don’t drink water is because they don’t like the taste of it. Technology has come a long way in recent years in developing ways to make water taste better. There are water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, water coolers, drinking water filters, and de-ionized water systems available. All these systems offer different benefits to the homeowner, an in-home water test and advice would help make the decision clear. There isn’t any reason to buy bottled water when you can have a water system right at the kitchen sink to provide all the water you need for cooking and drinking. Simply have your own reusable water bottle or jug and fill it up throughout the day. You can be both environmentally friendly and healthy all at the same time. Drinking water for your own health and that of the children around you can have a large effect on the future health of all Americans.
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