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What can I drink?

by Cara Croll, Registered dietician, North Wellington Healthcare

It’s that time of year when you might be reaching for that extra beverage to quench your thirst. 

What you choose is very important for your health. 

I frequently discuss this topic in my diabetes clinic as there are limited options when trying to limit sugar intake. 

The main concern with beverages is the high sugar and calorie content. Research has shown that drinking pop, juice and other sweet drinks is more likely to lead to weight gain, diabetes and even cardiovascular disease. 

The problem is that beverages do not satisfy your hunger, leading to excessive calorie intake.  This can easily cause weight gain. My motto is, “it’s better to eat your calories than to drink them!”

You may have heard that juice, iced teas, and chocolate milk have the same sugar content as pop which is about six teaspoons (tsp) per cup and up to 80g sugar (15 tsp) per 600ml bottle.

Iced coffee drinks are not only high in sugar but often fat, adding up to 500 calories for a large size which is similar to eating an extra meal.  

There are plenty of diet drink options out there using artificial sweeteners.

They are an option to help a person eat less sugar but switching to diet products or using a lot of these sweeteners may not help with weight loss. 

Some research studies are leaning towards the theory that by consuming artificial sweeteners (even Stevia), and exposing our taste buds to them, we continue to want (or crave) sweets. 

So, if you don’t need them, don’t use them. This topic could be a whole other article. 

Healthy options

Here are some options:

- plain coffee and tea. Decaf options and herbal teas will be more hydrating. Try homemade iced tea using lemon juice and minimal sweetener or added sugar. Try homemade iced coffee using plain milk. Ask your local coffee places for the best low sugar options and whether a drink can be made less sweet or with milk instead of cream;

- plain water. Many people tell me they don’t like water. However, it’s the best thirst quencher and plays an important role in our overall health. Consider re-training your taste buds to like it.  You can always add some fresh fruit, mint or cucumbers to change the flavor a bit;

- club soda. Just carbonated water, no sugar and no sweeteners. There are so many good fruit flavors these days. Look for PC Blue Menu sparkling water (cucumber and mandarin are my favorites), Dasani Sparkling (black cherry and mixed berry are great), and Nestle Pure Life sparkling (raspberry lime is a hit with my kids). If you can’t tolerate these plain, consider adding a bit of juice to flavor it; and

- be cautious with smoothies. It’s best to make them at home with milk or unsweetened milk alternatives rather than juice. 

Make it more filling by adding a source of fiber and protein (berries, ground flax, chia seeds, hemp hearts, greek yogurt or a protein powder).

Have a great summer and stay hydrated.

For more information about any of the free services offered by the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team, visit or call the Drayton office at 519-638-2110 or the Clifford office at 519-327-4777. 

Community members can also like the team on Facebook (Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team) and follow them on Twitter (@MintoMapleton) for additional healthy living tips and information on upcoming programs and events in the area.

August 11, 2017


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