Want a Drink?

Jul 03

As the weather turns hotter, our need to drink gets greater. What our body is craving is water. What we are feeding it is sugar. Here are a few facts to just wake you up:

A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola packs 140 calories and 39 grams of carbs. If you have one can a day, as an afternoon pick-me-up, with dinner or any other time, over the course of the year that adds up to over 51,000 calories — that’s roughly 14 pounds!

Want to get off sodas? Watch this video:

But of course, this doesn’t apply to you, because you drink the sugar free stuff. Well, here’s the scoop on “sugar free” from Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP

Products featuring Splenda are perceived as “natural” because even the FDA’s press release about sucralose parrots the claim that “it is made from sugar” — an assertion disputed by the Sugar Association, which is suing Splenda’s manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals.

The FDA has no definition for “natural,” so please bear with us for a biochemistry moment: Splenda is the trade name for sucralose, a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. It is true that the Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms. (To get a better picture of what this looks like, see this image of a sucralose molecule.)

While some industry experts claim the molecule is similar to table salt or sugar, other independent researchers say it has more in common with pesticides. That’s because the bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons. The premise offered next is that just because something contains chlorine doesn’t guarantee that it’s toxic. And that is also true, but you and your family may prefer not to serve as test subjects for the latest post-market artificial sweetener experiment — however “unique.” (See our article on endocrine disruptors for more information on toxins and persistent organic pollutants.)

Once it gets to the gut, sucralose goes largely unrecognized in the body as food — that’s why it has no calories. The majority of people don’t absorb a significant amount of Splenda in their small intestine — about 15% by some accounts. The irony is that your body tries to clear unrecognizable substances by digesting them, so it’s not unlikely that the healthier your gastrointestinal system is, the more you’ll absorb the chlorinated molecules of Splenda.

So, is Splenda safe? The truth is we just don’t know yet.

Ok, well what about vitamin water?

According to Christopher Intagliata,

“Each bottle of vitaminwater contains 32.5 grams, or two heaping tablespoons, of crystalline fructose. Fructose is a simple sugar that sweetens many fruits, although the crystalline fructose in vitaminwater is produced from cornstarch, not fruit, by crystallizing the fructose in fructose-enriched corn syrups. As one would expect, nobody needs these extra sugars, according to Nestle, the NYU nutritionist. One research team has even indicated that the intense sweetness of sugary drinks may be addictive.

“The way that vitaminwater is marketed and positioned it’s made to look more healthful than other sugary beverages, but it’s not – it’s still just a soft drink,” said Margo G. Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It has this aura of healthfulness that is not deserved. Adding vitamins and minerals to junk food doesn’t make it healthy.””

So really, your best alternative is water. Here’s a whole page on the benefits of drinking water.

Now of course, we need to be careful here, too because we’ve messed up our water supply so badly. Here is some advice from Jordin Rubin of “The Maker’s Diet“:

There is no perfect source of water for most of us, but the best solution seems to be tap water that has been treated with a filter. A ceramic or compressed carbon filter removes all heavy metals, chlorine and other impurities but leaves valuable mineral ions, such as calcium, magnesium, iodine, silicon and selenium.

So, how much water do you need to drink? Take the “self-hydration test” and find out!

Cheers!

Darlene

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