Drinking Water in All Seasons

by The Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely

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As the weather starts to change, so can the habit of drinking our water. We think as the weather cools, we need less hydration. We start to think having a soda or two in place of our usual water won't hurt as it's not that hot out now. Well, you've had me harp on the water drinking before and, yes, I'm going to do it again. Every time I turn around, there is a new study, new article or new information about how rotten these soft drinks are and how detrimental they are to your health. (I guess the people at Pepsi won't be calling me to be their spokesperson anytime soon!)

Did you know that soda consumption among American children has increased by 500% in the last 50 years? It's the biggest single source of sugar in the diet today. And after the age of 10, sodas are the most consumed beverage drunk daily over water, milk or juice.

One 12-ounce can of soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. That is equal to about 1/4 cup of sugar and the average American drinks about two cans a day, equaling 1/2 cup of sugar and 300 calories of negative nutrition. Get out your measuring cups and put 1/2 cup of sugar in it. Would you give this to eat to anyone you love?

The soda habit could push you a little closer to tooth decay (with all that sugar, you bet!), diabetes (ditto again on the sugar), osteoporosis (the phosphorus in soda leeches calcium from the bones), obesity (an extra 300 calories a day in two sodas will result in as much as a 30 pound a year weight gain).

So there you have a quick education on sodas. By the way, diet sodas aren't any better. Here's a paragraph from another Food for Thought so we don't have to rerun it:

"The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio ran an eight year study to study the effects of soft drink use. Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, who ran the study, had this shocking statement to say, "What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity. What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher. For each can of diet soda consumed, a person's risk of obesity went up 41%!"

Listen, Americans drink over 13 billion gallons of soda each year. Don't you think it's time we quit the soda habit and help take a million or so gallons of this stuff off the market so we can get healthier, leaner, stronger, have better teeth and prettier skin? Those are just some of the benefits by quitting the soda habit. It's time to drink up and make mine a water!

For more help putting dinner on your table, check out Leanne's website at SavingDinner.com or her Saving Dinner book series published by Ballantine and her new book, Body Clutter. Copyright 2006; Leanne Ely Used by permission in this publication.

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