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September 2014: Rethink Your Drink

Most kids and teens today get about 8% of their daily calories from beverages; for adults it's generally 5-8%. That can be a problem if those calories aren't considered as part of the daily nutritional tally.

Sugary drinks have been linked to poor diet quality, weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. And people who regularly consume one or more non-diet sodas per day have a 26% greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who generally choose lower calorie or sugar-free options. With so many health benefits at stake, it's important to pay attention to what you are drinking and select healthier alternatives.

Water – whether plain, carbonated, or infused with fruit flavor -- is the best choice, and should be the primary beverage for adults. Low-fat or nonfat milks provide nutritional benefits, and are also a smart choice. Coffee and tea are both calorie-free, but the sugary – and giant -- concoctions available at coffee shops and cafes can pack up to 800 calories or more! Drink coffee or tea black, or with just a little cream or sugar-free sweetener and avoid all of those extra, empty calories.

El Camino Hospital has joined the Hospital Healthy Food Initiative offered by the Partnership for a Healthier America, and we're creating a healthier environment for hospital visitors and staff with our "Rethink Your Drink" initiative. We're eliminating beverages that contain added sugar from our café menus to help encourage healthier beverage choices. Why not do the same thing in your home or office? It's an easy step you can take towards better health and wellness.

This article first appeared in the September 2014 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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