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Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

CWU Professor Says Rethink Your Drinks and Hydrate Right This Summer

With summer officially here and temperatures rising, athletes, weekend warriors, and those just enjoying the sun need to keep in mind the importance of hydrating to stay healthy. 

“With warmer temperatures and increased outdoor activities, it’s important that people are drinking the fluids they need,” said CWU nutrition professor Kelly Pritchett, a dietitian nutritionist. “With an almost endless variety of beverages to choose from, people need to make smart choices when it comes to hydrating and keeping calories in check.”

Pritchett points out that studies suggest calorie intake from beverages has more than doubled since the 1960s, primarily due to an increased consumption of soft drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened tea.

“The research suggests that people don't balance out their extra liquid calories by eating less food or by increasing physical activity,” Pritchett added. “Over the long run, these additional calories from beverages can lead to energy imbalance and weight gain.”

To maintain hydration and energy balance, Pritchett suggests drinking water first, limiting soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, adding daily milk and or milk substitutes, and drinking moderate amounts of alcohol—which can actually dehydrate the body.

“It’s important to remember that not all beverages should be treated the same,” Pritchett said. “Women should limit themselves to one alcoholic drink per day, while men should limit consumption to two drinks per day.”

Pritchett is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, which is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy. The academy’s website is www.eatright.org.

Media Contact: Robert Lowery, Robert Lowery, CWU Department of Athletics, 509-963-1487, loweryr@cwu.edu