UNITED STATES—Something that many Americans fail to realize on a daily basis is a vast majority of the calories we consume come from actual fluids that we drink. Yeah, you might only think about food, but that glass of milk, juice, can of soda, smoothie and so many other things we drink are calorie laced at times. We all know and we’ve been told countless times that water is the best thing for the body; it provides vital nutrients we need to operate at full capacity.

However, no one wants to drink water 24/7; you want a bit of variety when it comes to your fluids, anything to jazz up the flavor and eliminate that blandness that you have come to expect. Now, we’ve already been warned that various juices and soda, pop, carbonated beverages (whatever you want to call it), are loaded with far more sugar than we could ever expect. I mean I will be 100 percent honest; if you see the amount of sugar in a 12 ounce can of soda or a 20 ounce bottle of soda, you might not ever want to drink it again.

It’s alarming, and this is not aimed to get people to stop consuming soda or carbonated drinks, it’s to put a perspective that drinking four to five bottles a day or a 2-liter container is not the wisest thing when it comes to your health. Overconsumption of carbonated drinks, especially soda has been shown to increase a person’s chances of developing Type II Diabetes. As a result, don’t think well if I consume Diet Coca-Cola or Diet Pepsi that will make things better. Nope. Artificial sugars are just as bad for the body and I would recommend being aware of that. If you feel the need to indulge do so with a diet soda, but not a ton a day or during the week.

This same element is echoed for the notion of providing juice for kids. Orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, all those juice boxes tend to be loaded with sugar which is not good for keeping your kids energy level down, but also not good for their overall health. If you’re going to aim for juice boxes go for something that is 100 percent pure juice, and look at the sugar content on the label. The lower the sugar the better it is overall.

Now some of you might be thinking if you eliminate soda and juice, the only option I have is water, but that is not so, you can indulge in hot tea or cold tea, I’d recommend utilizing honey as a sweetener versus actual sugar though. In addition, you can try out drinks like powdered Crystal Light or flavored waters. By doing so you still consume water, but with a bit of a taste that is not as bland, but be warned overdoing those drinks as well is not wise for the body.

You should always implement water into the diet, no matter what the situation. So many people will think otherwise, but water is best. There is a trick you can utilize to flavor your water and give it a bit of an edge. Try putting fruits and veggies into your water. Lemons and limes are staples, but an orange slice, ginger, cucumbers, pear slices, mango slices, berries, strawberries, blackberries, carrots, are all great additions to liven things up America. You might actually be surprised by the taste and as a result indulge in consumption of water even more.

I’m also a firm believer of juicing. You can do carrots, lemons, limes, berries, cucumbers, pineapples, apples, oranges, etc. If you’re going to eat sugar why not allow it to be a natural sugar instead of something added. Remember your body reacts how you treat it. We’ve all been told everything in moderation is good, so always remember that, but water is key to improving our overall health to flush out those toxins.

Written By Kelsey Thomas