The other 80 percent of fluid you need comes from the beverages you drink or liquid foods you eat. Plain water is considered by many experts to be the best choice because it provides water without adding any calories. Of course it doesn't add any beneficial nutrients either. You can drink tap water, bottled water, sparkling water and there are even waters infused with fruit-flavorings. Some brands of flavored water also have sweeteners added, so you need to read the label if you want to avoid the extra calories (plus they really taste more like soft drinks than water).
Other choices of beverages can be ranked by their nutritional benefit verses their calorie content and amounts of sugar and fats.
Herbal teas have virtually no calories unless you add sugar and milk. Some herbal teas like chamomile are often purported to have soothing and healing properties. Other healthy beverages include 100-percent fruit juices, vegetable juices and low-fat milk. They contain some calories but also offer lots of vitamins and minerals. It's important to note that vegetable juices can be high in sodium.
Coffee and black or green tea contain caffeine and many people think that the diuretic effect of caffeine offsets the amount of water supplied, but recent studies suggest that is not true. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and caffeine-sensitive individuals may need to avoid excess consumption of highly caffeinated beverages like coffee, colas and energy drinks. If you need to watch your calories, be careful with the lattes, too, unless you choose non-fat milk.
Sugar-sweetened soft drinks usually contain no nutritional value, and they may have a lot of calories that can lead to excess weight gain if you regularly consume more calories than your body burns. Artificially sweetened diet soft drinks have no nutritional value and are commonly used to satisfy the sweet-tooth without adding calories.
Other beverages that aren't good choices if you need to watch calories include milk shakes, malts, ice cream sodas and frozen sugary coffee drinks. They all contain lots of calories from sugar and from fat. Even the versions that claim to have less sugar or fat can still have a large number of calories.
More About Drinking Water
- Back Pain and Chronic Dehydration
- Dehydration and Headaches
- Will Drinking Water Help Me Lose Weight
- Why Do I Need More Water When It's Hot?
Armstrong LE, Pumerantz AC, Roti MW, Judelson DA, Watson G, Dias JC, Sokmen B, Casa DJ, Maresh CM, Lieberman H, Kellogg M. "Fluid, electrolyte, and renal indices of hydration during 11 days of controlled caffeine consumption." Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005 Jun;15(3):252-65.