Do you choose diet drinks over water?
By Unite Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN
Either you love water, or you don’t. This article is for those haters out there. We know you exist because you come to camp and want to know why we don’t have you chugging zero calorie flavored water all day long. Just because it has no calories doesn’t mean it’s inherently good for your body.
Does guilt free mean consequence free?
Has the incidence of obesity decreased with the advent of new artificial sweeteners? Nope – it has increased at alarming rates across all age groups, ethnicities and socio-economic classes.
Artificial sweeteners are not harmless magical calorie savers. Were you aware that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages eat more calories per eating occasion? Seriously. Why?
When we eat something artificially sweetened, our taste buds trigger to our brain that gobs of sugar are on their way. The brain signals the pancreas to increase insulin production, insulin floods our body waiting for the sugar to arrive. Nothing shows up so the high levels of insulin trigger us to eat in order to use the insulin up that our body has produced. Artificial sweeteners cause us to eat more and crave more sugar and starchy carbs.
Eating foods that are artificially sweetened habituates us to desire to eat and drink EXCEPTIONALLY sweet things. When our taste buds are bombarded with gobs of sweet, everything we eat needs to be sweeter to satisfy. The more our food is packed with sugar the worse it is for our body.
We drink water, lots of water at fitness camp.
Here are a few fancier options to give plain water more personality to help you love drinking the original beverage of life:
- Infusing water bottles are one of our favorite tools. These bottles are like the gallon infusers you see in hotel lobbies only portable for you. Search “infusion water bottle” on amazon, gobs of options are available. A strainer of sorts inserts into the cavity of the water bottle allowing you to infuse your water with taste bud thrilling options.
- Cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, watermelon, oranges, lemon, lime, grapefruit, blackberries, apple, peaches, apricots, mango, cucumber, and don’t’ forget fragrant basil, mint, rosemary, ginger and turmeric get you started with all kinds of incredible flavor combinations. Flavors from REAL foods not something created in a lab that holds no nutritional value for your body.
- Miss the pressurized ‘pshaaaa’ as a lid twists or the feel of the aluminum ring pressing into place revealing a portal of refreshing liquid love? If sound and texture are part of your craving reach for sparkling water. Pellegrino, La Croix, bubbly, Arrowhead and store brands are exceptional choices for naturally flavored carbonated water. No artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors.
Give it some thought, water is amazing, we can only exist a few days without it. Make excellent choices with your beverages, your body will thank you!