How to drink more water and stick to it in 2020

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By Tracy Turner | Ohio State Chow Line

Q: “As part of my 2020 New Year’s resolution, I’ve pledged to drink more water this year. Do you have any tips on how I can stick to my goal and keep up my water intake?”

A: If drinking more water was one of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone. Not only is increasing the amount of water one drinks one of the top consumer resolutions for 2020, but increased water intake continues to be a growing trend as more people seek to boost their hydration rates as part of a healthy lifestyle.

For example, bottled water beat soft drinks as the top beverage in the United States by volume in 2017, with sales increasing 7% over sales in 2016, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a New York-based beverage consulting firm.

And on any given day, the average adult U.S. citizen drinks an average of 39 ounces of water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So why is getting an adequate amount of water consumption so important?

Not only is drinking enough water every day good for your overall health, but water can help you manage or lose weight considering that it adds zero calories when substituted for drinks that have calories, such as regular soda. Additionally, drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood changes, cause your body to overheat, lead to constipation, and cause kidney stones, the CDC said.

Although there is no set recommendation for how much water adults and youth should drink daily, there are recommendations for daily total water intake that can be obtained from a variety of beverages and foods, the CDC said.

For example, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies set general recommendations for water intake based on detailed national data, which showed that women who appear to be adequately hydrated consume an average of approximately 91 ounces of water from all beverages and foods each day, while men average approximately 125 ounces daily.

“‘Choose water first for thirst’ is a good way to make the better choice more automatic,” said Carol Smathers, field specialist in youth nutrition and wellness for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“When you are at home, at events, or at restaurants, choose water first, before reaching for other drinks or snacks,” she said. “You’ll be refreshed and cut costs and calories at the same time.”

So how can you increase your water intake? Smathers and other nutritionists and healthcare experts offer the following tips:

  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  • Don’t stock the fridge with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
  • Serve water with meals.
  • Infuse water with flavor by adding fruits such as berries, cucumbers, lemons, and limes.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out, which is also a money-saver.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

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