I really don’t like drinking water. It is plain, boring, and doesn’t do much for me right away.
When I don’t drink water, though, I can tell. Many people who are accustomed to being well-hydrated drink water to avoid the lousy feeling they get when they aren’t.
People who aren’t used to drinking water don’t usually know the difference. They ask, “Can’t I just drink caffeine-free diet soda or black coffee or crystal light instead?” I have to say no.
Do I drink only water and milk, and avoid soda and coffee? No way. It isn’t realistic for most people to do that. Practicing moderation, however, is important. Here’s why coffee, diet soda and flavorings shouldn’t replace plain water.
We do know that consuming too much caffeine can cause ill effects on the heart, gastrointestinal upset and dehydration. So drink your coffee in moderate amounts (up to 400 mg daily), and you will be fine! For the record, one cup (8 ounces) of regular coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine.
On diet soda:
Besides artificial sweeteners, colas also contain caffeine and phosphoric acid, which can affect calcium absorption. Recent research also shows that people who consume more soda drink fewer beverages with calcium. In some people, it has actually been shown to be harmful from increasing appetite, to causing migraines and beyond. In others, a diet soda a day helps curb a sweet craving and is a minor indulgence worth having. Again, I take the “everything in moderation” stance.
While crystal light doesn’t have caffeine, it does contain aspartame, which makes it less helpful than plain water. The body recognizes water as a natural, necessary nutrient. When that water has other ingredients, it just isn’t the same anymore.
The body is made mostly of water, and if you don’t drink enough, the body will have to somehow convert what you do drink to water or adjust to being dehydrated. Adjusting to dehydration means electrolyte imbalances, decreased energy and performance, and organ system malfunction over time. These are just to name a few!
Most people function best with at least 64 ounces of water a day, though some people need more than that. Whatever change you make in your water intake, remember that feeling better, losing weight, sleeping better and performing better are just some of the effects you will likely notice from drinking more water.