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July 2012 | Issue 72

Summer Drinks: Slimmed Down for Cancer Prevention

soda cansCool down with an icy beverage this summer and up the health benefit by choosing versions that eliminate or minimize calories.

Whether you’re just trying to beat the heat from everyday summer activities, stay cool on family vacation or replenish after a game of tennis or softball, the right drink can help you with your healthy weight goals.

Sugary beverages contribute to overweight and obesity which increase the risk for several types of cancer, according to AICR’s expert report and its updates. Sugary drinks don’t keep us full for very long, so we can end up eating more calories than we need if those drinks are a regular part of our meals or snacks. It’s best to think about those glasses of sugary lemonade and soda as rare treats.

green teaWater is the obvious choice for the ultimate zero calorie drink, but there are other great options too. Here are some delicious refreshing choices for summer occasions:

  1. What are some good drinks for my car trip?
    For car trips, fill a thermos with water and toss in some lemon, lime or mint for flavor. Taking a sightseeing break at a convenience store or coffee shop? Look for unsweetened iced tea or coffee options. For a low-sugar alternative to soda, purchase 100% juice and a bottle of sparkling water: fill a cup 2/3 with water and top it off with juice.
  2. When I'm hanging out at home, what are some interesting choices?
    You’ve got a lot of tasty options at home whether sitting in the shade, gardening or playing backyard games. Brighten your summer pitchers with beautiful fruit infused waters. Serve a delicious iced chai or try a smoothie or frosty tea recipe from the AICR Test Kitchen beverage section.
  3. Should I go with sports drinks when I exercise?
    If you’re moderately active for less than an hour, drink water before, during and after exercise. If your activity is more than 60 minutes, you can benefit from a sports drink or dilute 100% fruit juice. It’s also a good idea to bulk up on fruits and vegetables to help replace potassium and water. For more information on exercise and hydration check out information from the sports’ dietitians website.

For more tasty beverage ideas, check out the New American Plate Challenge for beverages.

Published on September 4, 2012

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