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Nutrition and you!

For health and savings, drink up water

Adapted from the Nutrition and You! blog at Boston.com.

The latest campaign by first lady Michelle Obama is to encourage Americans to drink more water to improve their health. “Water is so basic, and because it is so plentiful, sometimes we just forget about it amid all the ads we watch on television and all the messages we receive every day about what to eat and drink,” Mrs. Obama said. “The truth is, water just gets drowned out.”

In the future, you will be seeing ads for the Drink Up campaign.

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Not too surprising, the American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and bottled water, and the International Bottled Water Association are fully behind the campaign. According to CBS News, the water drop logo associated with the Drink Up campaign will soon be featured on select water bottles and drinking fountains.

I think the message to drink more water can be a positive one if individuals who routinely drink a sugary beverage replace it with calorie- and sugar-free water. Because 20 ounces of cola contain 250 calories, all of which come from the 17 teaspoons of added sugars, switching over to water is a nutrition no-brainer.

The only issue that I have with the campaign is that the public needs to be made aware that they don’t have to consume costly bottled water to stay hydrated and be healthy. Tap water costs less than a penny a gallon. In comparison, the price of bottled water can be hefty, ranging from $1 to $4 a gallon. If you pay $1.50 per bottle (the typical price in a convenience store) and buy two bottles of water daily, you will be shelling out more than $20 a week and $80 monthly. You would be spending more than $950 a year on a beverage that is practically free from your kitchen faucet.

If you are worried about the tap water’s quality, don’t fret. For most Americans, the drinking water in their homes comes from a municipal water system, whose source can be underground wells or springs, rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. Regardless of the source, all municipal water is sent to a treatment plant where dirt and debris are filtered out, bacteria are killed, and other contaminants are removed.

The Environmental Protection Agency oversees the safety of public drinking water with national standards that set limits for more than 80 contaminants. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in these treatment systems to ensure that the public water is safe to drink. In fact, some bottled waters may actually be from a municipal water source.

So feel free to drink up . . . just save yourself a lot of money and drink tap water.

Read more of this blog at Boston.com/NutritionAndYou
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