Healthy Drinking…More of the Same Old Healthy Eating Advice?

By Cindy Bishop
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Our Marsha is off for a few days looking at colleges with her daugher (yes, Marsh…she’s going to college…yikes!!) I’m posting this for her. Read and enjoy…

‘Have you seen the latest nutrition advice designed to help us manage our beverage consumption, and by default, our waistlines? Healthy Beveage Guidelines, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have been designed by a panel of ‘leading nutrition experts.’  The work was funded by Unilever, makers of Lipton tea, and surprise, surprise, tea is heavily promoted as a beverage of choice – up to 8 servings of unsweetened tea daily.

I’m not usually anti-food-industry; I do think some of the nutrition education that comes from their hallowed halls is valuable.  That could be because I used to write a lot of it. But I’m taken aback by these guidelines because, once again, they have us counting calories, numbers of servings, trying to figure out percentages of what we eat, and in general, just eating (or in this case, drinking) by the numbers.  No truly healthy eater I know eats or drinks this way.  She may assess periodically how many servings of vegetables and the like she’s eaten – using a little wise nutrition knowledge to balance her choices – but basically, she listens to her body.

As I write this post, though, I am finding a few things in favor of the graphic.  I do occasionally run across the weight struggler who doesn’t realize that drinking a lot of juice every day may not be the best choice for her.  Juice is fruit minus the fiber, and as a result, it has less staying power than the whole fruit.  So you drink it and might find yourself getting hungrier faster than you would if you had the whole fruit.  And you also might find you need more to feel satisfied initially – the whole fruit does a better job of filling you up. And of course, there is the all-too-common dieter who lives on diet soda.  The guidelines advise no more than 4 servings of diet soda a day – that’s not 4 20-ounce bottles, btw.  I think there’s two servings in one of those bottles.  Up to 4 servings daily of coffee is okayed, and I guess that’s reassuring for those of us who like coffee but worry whether it’s really healthy for us.  And the most recommended drink is water…but really, is there anyone left in the world who doesn’t realize that water is our best choice for hydration?   Maybe I’m too close to the subject….

Okay, so there’s some potential good to come of this for those who are really clueless about nutrition.  I don’t know many weight strugglers, though, who fit that description.  And the guidelines appear to be directed to that group, in an attempt by academics and the food industry to do something about the fattening of America. 

Somehow, methinks, this really isn’t going to do it.  It may up the consumption of tea, though!’

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