Water could change the way we eat
“If the drink on the table sets the odds against both adults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water.”
As if we didn’t love water enough! You already know it’s healthier to switch from soda to water, but could you imagine that the switch would affect your food choices too? Two studies, with preschoolers and young adults ages 19 to 23, showed that having soda with meals negatively impacts healthy food choices.
The new research by T. Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon and Anna R. McAlister of Michigan State University shows that the older participants favored the combination of soda served with salty, calorie-dense foods rather than soda and vegetables. The preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompanied by a sweetened beverage.
From an early age, Cornwell says, children learn to associate sweet, high-calorie drinks such as colas with salty and fatty high-calorie-containing foods like French fries. “When we look cross-culturally, we can see that food-and-drink combinations are developed preferences.” Serving water could be a simple and effective dietary change: “The implications for the family are pretty simple and straightforward: serve water with the meal.”
Bonus: drinking more water will also reduce dehydration. Some 75 percent of adult Americans may be chronically dehydrated, and an uptick in water consumption will help fight the associated fatigue, slowed cognitive function, weight gain, and other ill effects.