Water is essential for life. We can only go a few days without water before our body gives up and shuts down. It is important that we drink enough of good quality water every day to stay healthy. But what happens when we feel the need for a little diversity? Can other beverages like sodas, juices, coffee, and alcoholic drinks replace water?
We’re here to give you the answers. We will not only tell you what is good and what is not but also why. Read on to get a clear idea of how other beverages work on the body so that you can make an informed choice when choosing water alternative.
Here are some of the reasons water is so great for the body:
It is sugar-free: Unlike almost all other beverages water is 100% sugar-free. This also means that it has no calories so doesn't make you gain weight.
It is not acidic: A lot of drinks that we consume regularly are acidic in nature. Water, on the other hand, is neutral and does not have any of the harmful effects of acidic drinks.
It detoxifies the body: A lot of credit is given to drinks like green tea and juices claiming that they detoxify the body. However, water is all the body really needs to detoxify itself.
It’s cheap: If you were to replace every cup of coffee and every soda you had in the day with a glass of water you’d be surprised at how much money you end up saving in a month. Try it.
Other beverages and how the body reacts to them
So, first let us answer the main question; can other beverages replace water? The answer is yes. Because most beverages are prepared in water or contain about 90% water, they are all hydrating.
However, what you need to keep in mind is that unlike water beverages contain natural and or artificial additives which could have different effects on the body. In some cases, these effects are not favorable and the cons outweigh the pros of using these drinks to replace water.
Sodas: Sodas can be very addictive and a favorite beverage of millions of people worldwide. Sodas or carbonated drinks are water-based and do hydrate the body. In fact, if you are very thirsty and you don't have access to clean drinking water, but have a can of soda handy, that soda could save your life. Let's put it this way drinking a soda it better than not having any fluids whatsoever but, if you are thinking of replacing water completely with sodas that is a bad idea. Sodas contain sugar, artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, and carbonate. Excessive amounts of these substances cause severe acidity, break down of teeth and bone, weight gain, and in some cases allergic reactions. While you can enjoy a chilled soda every now and then on a hot summer day, remember to consume in moderation and still drink plenty of plain water.
Juices: Juices are a healthier alternative to sodas mainly because they don’t contain any of the artificial additives or the carbonate. Juices have a high water content and also a lot of nutrients that can be beneficial to the body. There is, however, one thing that you need to know about fruit juices and that is that they have a high sugar content. If you are on a diet or don't want to gain a few extra pounds, then you should think of moderating your juice intake. A healthier option to fruit juices is vegetable juices which are lower in sugar, packed with nutrition and also keep you hydrated. Some fruit and vegetable juice combinations are also great and taste better than plain vegetable juice. Having two glasses of vegetable juice a day is healthy, but you still need to drink an additional six to eight 8oz glasses of plain water to get your full daily dose.
Tea and Coffee: Tea and coffee get a bad rep for being diuretics, which means that they cause dehydration. New research, however, has shown that even though excessive amounts do cause dehydration, two to three cups a day will not harm you. The water that the tea or coffee is prepared in will hydrate you and can be counted in your eight glasses of water per day. It is of course still necessary to drink plain water as too much caffeine can have other side effects like insomnia, increased heart rate, anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, etc. Water will actually help to flush out excess caffeine from your system, so if you feel like you've had one cup too many have a couple of glasses of water.
Milk: Milk is excellent hydration. Milk is 95% water and is also packed with nutrition. Drinking a glass or two of milk a day does help to keep the body hydrated and takes care of your required calcium intake. But drinking too much milk has its own share of problems. Milk contains fats and sugars and too much of these nutrients can make you put on a lot of weight. Milk is also not for everybody. People with lactose intolerance prefer to stay off milk completely because their bodies can't fully digest all the components. Water, of course, has no extra components so you'll be just fine hydrating yourself with just that.
Beer: Here's the tricky part about beer – it is mostly water so it does hydrate you, but it contains alcohol, so it also dehydrates you. If you are planning to spend your summer replacing water with chilled beers you are inviting a world of problems. Alcohol is a powerful diuretic which means that is causes you to produce more urine. So for every glass of beer you drink your body discards more water than you are taking in. The result is that you are actually left dehydrated after a few glasses of beer. Beer or any alcohol for that matter is not a good substitute for water and is certainly not recommended if you are already dehydrated.
At the end of the day, it is clear that nothing can really replace water, although milk and veggie juices are a good alternative if you need a change now and then.