Category Archives: Wellness Tips

How “Soft” Are My Drinks?


Simply put: sugar consumption has been going through the roof. It has increased by 28 percent since 1983, fueling soaring obesity rates and other health problems. The FDA requires labels that enable consumers to monitor—and reduce—their sugar intake.


Marion Nestle, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, said, “Because sugary foods often replace more healthful foods, diets high in sugar are almost certainly contributing to osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. It’s high time that the food label informed consumers of a food’s contribution to a recommended limit for added sugars.” Nestle was managing editor of the 1988 Surgeon General’s Report on Diet and Health.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) surveys show that sugar consumption has increased almost every year since 1982. Most of that sugar came from cane and beet sugar and corn syrup and corn sugar. Much of the increase was due to the consumption of soft drinks.


Label Able


Are You Label Able?

Interpreting the nutrition facts labels on packaged foods isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t a piece of low-fat cake, either.

Look At The Label

By Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.

One of the most important skills you can master is being able to read a food label in order to figure out exactly what you are getting from your foods. Let’s look at the example to the left and take th information from top to bottom…

Serving Size and Servings per Container:

Pay attention to this closely. Many people assume that small packages of cookies or crackers, orlabels medium-sized beverage containers are single servings. But this may not be the case. An “official” serving of a beverage is 8 ounces, but many drinks are packaged in 16 oz. containers or larger. All the nutrition facts on the label are for one serving.

If you drink a 16 oz. beverage, you will be drinking twice the number of calories on the nutrition facts panel, since you’ll be taking in two servings. You will need to double all the information on the label to determine exactly what you are taking in.

Calories, Fat, Carbohydrate and Protein:

As with all the other nutrients, these are the amounts per serving. In the example to the left, one cup of Chunky, Cheesy, Rich and Creamy Broccoli Soup has 250 calories. But if you consume the whole package (two servings), you will have taken in 500 calories.

In addition to the total fat per serving, the label also tells you the calories from fat, so you can do a quick calculation in your head of what percentage of calories you are eating from fat. In the example, there are 135 calories from fat out of a total of 250 calories.

You can see right away that more than half the calories in the soup come from fat. The label also tells you how much of the fat is saturated fat or trans fat. “Total Carbohydrate” tells you, again, how much carbohydrate per serving.

Keep in mind that this includes natural sources, such as the natural sugars in milk or fruit, so it’s not always easy to tell from the line labelled “Sugars” where the sugar is coming from without looking at the ingredients list. If a cereal has little added sugar–but contains raisins–the sugar content may look high, but it’s just from the natural fruit sugar.

Metabolism Truths & Myths



By Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.

We hear a lot about metabolism–and often blame our “slow metabolism” for our inability to keep our weight under control. But what is metabolism, exactly? And is there anything we can do to change our metabolic rate?

Metabolism basically refers to all the chemical processes that take plac e in the body in order to sustain life–allowing you to breathe, pump blood, keep your brain functioning and extract energy from your food. When you hear the term metabolic rate–more accurately called basal (or resting) metabolic rate–that refers to the number of calories your body at rest uses each day, just to keep all your vital organs functioning.

You burn additional calories through your daily activities and formal exercise, but by far, the majority of the calories that you burn each day are your basal calories. The number of calories that you burn every day is directly related to your body composition. Think of your body as d ivided into two compartments. In one compartment is all the body fat; in the other compartment is everything that isn’t fat (e.g., bone, fluid, tissue, muscle)–that’s the fat-free compartment. The size of your fat-free compartment determines your metabolic rate, with every pound of fat-free mass burning about 14 calories per day.



If you weigh 150 pounds and 50 pounds of you is fat and 100 pounds is fat-free, then you would burn about 1,400 calories per day at rest. If you don’t get much activity, you won’t burn much more than this throughout the day. But if you weigh 150 pounds and 25 pounds of you is fat, and 125 pounds of you is fat free, then you burn 1,750 calories per day at rest. And if you get some regular exercise and burn a few hundred calories more per day, your total calorie burn for the day might be 2,000 calories!

Since the fat-free compartment contains muscle tissue, one of the best things you can do to boost your metabolic rate is to strength-train to increase your muscle mass. If you build up 10 pounds of lean body mass, that’s another 140 extra calories that you burn per day–not to mention the calories that you burn through exercise.

Your muscle mass works like a furnace, burning calories and stored fat for energy. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, the faster you burn calories. Eating plenty of protein daily is essential to maintaining your muscle mass for good health, energy and effective weight management.

Rev Up your Metabolism and Keep Your Weight Down

Put your metabolism to work for you. Now’s the perfect time to incorporate some metabolic-revving tips into your daily regimen and avoid gaining weight.

Rev Up Your Body’s Engine

We eat food for fuel. When we burn it for energy to run our bodies, the process creates heat. Nutritional supplements can assist the body’s engine to burn fuel efficiently, helping our metabolism stay revved and functioning well.

Daily Regimen Tips

Keep your metabolism revved with these tips:

  • Engage in 30 minutes of activity every day to help minimize weight gain and to raise metabolic rate.
  • Tone your muscles by weight training three days a week.
  • Start small–try walking with one-to two-pound weights.
  • Do not eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day. Eating too little may slow your metabolism.
  • Never skip breakfast. It may slow down your metabolism.
  • Nutritional supplements, such as Herbalife’s Total Control® and Herbal Tea Concentrate, can help boost metabolism.
  • Have a supply of protein-powered healthy snacks on hand as an alternative to carb-loaded junk food.

Protein 101



By David Heber, M.D., Ph.D. – Chairman of Herbalife’s Medical Advisory Board

A necessity for everybody
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. It is an organic compound, composed of 22 amino acids, otherwise known as the building blocks of life. Protein is stored in muscles and organs and the body utilizes it to build and repair tissues, as well as for the production of enzymes and hormones. Proteins also make it possible for blood to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning the body needs relatively large amounts of it. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that our daily protein requirements should be 10% to 35% of our total caloric intake, with men needing slightly more than women. A lack of protein can cause loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, as well as weakening of the heart and respiratory system.

How protein affects your weight
The widespread popularity of high-protein diets is due in large part to their ability to help manage hunger. When protein is absorbed, it sends a signal to the brain to decrease your hunger. Another benefit of protein is that it raises y our resting metabolism by maintaining muscle mass. As we age, muscle mass decreases without exercise, so staying fit is a key to burning fat by keeping your metabolism high. Protein also leads to a much less rapid rise and fall of blood sugar and insulin, so you avoid the “sugar highs and lows” after eating sweets without adequate protein. Certain foods, however, provide a healthier resource for protein than others.

Consider the source
You can obtain healthy sources of protein without high levels of saturated fat. For example, soybeans, nuts and whole grains provide protein without much saturated fat and offer plenty of healthful fiber and micronutrients as well.

If you’re looking for yet another great way to obtain healthy protein, vegetable sources of protein found in Herbalife’s Formula 1, are high-quality and have lower calorie levels with virtually no added fat. Herbalife® products personalize your daily protein intake to match your body’s needs. With a variety of shakes and snacks, the programs help you build or maintain lean muscle while providing healthy weight management support. Now that you’ve increased your knowledge of protein, you can effectively enhance your diet and allow good health to take shape.

The following is a list of common foods and their protein content in grams:


• Egg whites: 7 whites = 25 grams
• Cottage cheese (nonfat): 1 cup = 28 grams
• Mozzarella cheese (nonfat): one 1-ounce stick = 8 grams
• Yogurt (nonfat, sugar-free): one 6-ounce carton = 5 grams
• Yogurt (nonfat, plain): 1 cup = 14 grams
• Milk (nonfat): 1 cup = 10 grams


• Beef (lean): 3 ounces (cooked weight ) = 25 grams
• Chicken breast: 3 ounces (cooked weight) = 25 grams
• Turkey breast: 3 ounces (cooked weight) = 25 grams
• Turkey ham: 4 ounces (cooked weight) = 18 grams
• Pork tenderloin: 3 ounces (cooked weight) = 24 grams


• Tuna: 4 ounces (water packed) = 27 grams
• Ocean-caught fish: 4 ounces (cooked weig ht) = 25 to 31 grams
• Scallops: 4 ounces (cooked weight) = 25 grams
• Shrimp, crab, lobster: 4 ounces (cooked weight) = 22 to 24 grams


• Beans (black, pinto, etc.): ½ cup (cooked) = 7 grams
• Lentils: ½ cup (cooked) = 9 grams
• Quinoa: ½ cup (cooked) = 6 grams
• Tofu: ¼ block = 7 grams
• Veggie burger: one burger = 5 to 20 grams (varies by brand)

Note: Some ready-to-eat cereals are also good protein sources. Check labels as some have more than 10 grams of protein per serving.


• Formula 1 shake (with 8 fl. oz. nonfat milk): one serving = 18 grams
• Soup Mix (with 6 to 8 fl. oz. of water): one serving =3 D 16 grams
• Protein Drink Mix (with 6 to 8 fl . oz. water): one serving = 15 grams
• Beverage Mix (with 6 to 8 fl. oz. water): one serving = 15 grams
• Rosated Soy Nuts with Cardia® Salt: One packet (1 ounce) = 11 grams
• Protein Bar: one bar (1.23 ounces) = 12 grams
• Protein Bar Deluxe: one bar (1.41 ounces) = 10 grams

Snack Attack


Low Calorie Snacks

Snacking doesn’t have to be an unhealthy habit. It’s not unusual to get hungry between meals–particularly if you have a long stretch in between. The key is planning ahead to make sure you have some healthy foods available, and ideally, you should combine some protein with a little carbohydrate to fill you up and keep you going. A protein-enriched beverage, a piece of string cheese and a piece of fruit, or a small carton of yogurt with a few low-fat crackers should do the trick.



  • Nonfat latte made with nonfat milk or soy milk
  • Mini pita bread with a quarter of an avocado
  • Herbalife® Creamy Chicken Soup Mix
  • Herbalife® Peach Mango or Wild Berry Beverage Mix
  • Two rice cakes with one wedge light cheese
  • One 100-calorie pudding cup
  • ½ cup nonfat cottage cheese with ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 ounce turkey jerky w ith one slice rye cracker
  • One individual carton light nonfat yogurt with 1 tablespoon raisins
  • Toasted whole-grain waffle with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar
  • One stick mozzarella cheese with one sesame breadstick
  • ¾ cup tomato soup made with nonfat milk
  • Three hard-cooked egg whites mashed with a little Dijon mustard and a sliced tomato
  • 15 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons fat-free ranch dressing
  • 12 ounces tomato juice
  • 10 soy crisps with a small peach
  • One frozen fruit bar
  • 1 cup whole strawberries with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Sugar Nuggets



By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

I always encourage my patients, when shopping, to avoid sugar and, instead, look for protein. Since we live in a carbohydrate-rich society, it’s not always easy to find low-calorie, healthful foods, which are generally expensive and have a short shelf life.

This is all too obvious when traveling. Whether it’s the airport or a gas station, high-protein foods that are low in sugar are difficult to find. The next time you walk into a gas station, a food stop, or a snack bar in the airport, look around. You will see lots of chips, candies, crackers, doughnuts , muffins and plenty of soda.

Generally, the only protein is beef jerky, almonds and milk. Now protein bars are coming into fashion, but they are not widespread. The problem with snacking on these sugary foods is the empty calories. You want to make your calories count, and sugar doesn’t help much. Pre-packaged foods that are high in sugar generally do not have a high-nutrient density.

Protein is the nutrient of interest for most of the current diets. In the 1980s, the high-carbohydrate diet was king, but this diet has proven deleterious to most people. We do need carbohydrates–remember, it’s like the fuel you add in the gas tank of your car–but unless you’re training for a marathon, you do not need that much.

Generally, about 40 percent to 50 percent of your daily calories can come from carbohydrates, which means that on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, that is approximately 800 to 1,000 calories, which translates into the typical Western breakfast of a large latte and a muffin.

Under these conditions, you’re usually tapped out by 10 a.m. with all the carbs you need for the day. Now imagine adding some pizza, a hamburger and a soda, a mid-afternoon coffee, a bag of chips and then maybe some bread with dinner. It’s not hard to quickly accumulate 4,000 calories.

Cutting carbohydrates out of the diet is the basis of most, if not all, of the popular diet programs today. The idea of a low-fat diet has changed and now a diet rich in healthy fats–such as monounsaturated fats from nuts, avocados and olive oil, and
polyunsaturated fats from fish oil and flaxseed–is popular. The percentage for dietary protein can vary widely, but most experts target around 30 percent.


By Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.

Say the word “sugar” and most people picture the familiar white granular stuff many of us have indessert a sugar bowl at home. But what is sugar exactly? Table sugar is just one form of sugar that we get in the diet. Sugars are carbohydrates, and they exist naturally in different forms and in all kinds of foods. The granulated sugar that you might sprinkle on your cereal is called sucrose, which is produced primarily by extracting the sugar from sugar beets or sugar cane, although it is present in lots of other plant foods, too.

The primary sugar in fruits is called fructose, and there is a naturally occurring sugar in milk called lactose. When you consume a fruit, a vegetable or a dairy product, you can’t avoid consuming the natural sugar that these foods contain.

All sugars ultimately end up in the bloodstream in the form of glucose, which is the form of sugar that our body prefers to use for energy. While sugars in foods end up as glucose in the bloodstream, so do the end-products of the digestion of all carbohydrate-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and starchy foods.

The concern about sugar intake from added sugars (not the naturally occurring ones) has mostly to do with the fact that they are considered to be “empty calories”–that is, sugar provides calories (which the body uses for energy) but no vitamins or minerals. So, if you consume a lot of sugary foods instead of healthier items, you are shortchanging yourself by not getting enough of the vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy phytonutrients that carbohydrate-rich natural foods contain.

We eat a lot of sugar–even in foods that don’t taste sweet. Aside from the obvious items like sodas, fruit drinks, sweetened cereals and desserts, sugar–in one form or another–finds its way into condiments, soups, breads and even savory snacks like chips. The primary health hazard of eating too much sugar is tooth decay. The bacteria that live in your mouth can convert sugars into an acid that can destroy tooth enamel. Foods that are sweet and sticky, like fruit snacks or gummy candies, are particularly a problem since the sugar stays in contact with the teeth.

Does sugar make you fat? Certainly sugar adds extra calories to the diet, and extra calories mean extra weight. Most studies have focused on soda consumption, and several have concluded that as soda consumption increases, so does the risk of obesity. Part of the problem with beverages is that they don’t fill us up, so we can consume a lot of calories in these sweet liquids and still consume regular solid foods, too, before we feel full.

The other issue is that many foods that are high in added sugars are also high in fats and calories–cakes, pastries, ice cream and candy bars are just some of the sweet foods we eat that are loaded down with fat and calories. Food manufacturers are more than happy to accommodate America’s sweet tooth–sugar is inexpensive and adds a lot of taste to foods. To know how much sugar you are eating, it’s important to understand that many forms of sugar are added to foods. By reading the label, you may not realize how much sugar a food really contains.

Here are some other forms of sugar that you might see on a label: sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, invert sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, confectioner’s sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup and molasses.

One popular breakfast cereal marketed to children has the following ingredients: corn, sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, canola oil and high-fructose corn syrup, followed by some vitamins, minerals, and artificial colors and flavors. This cereal isn’t much more than a bowl of sugar, oil and starch.

When you look at a food label, the sugar content is listed–in grams per serving–just under the total carbohydrate listing. But this includes all sugars in the food including natural sugars, so it can be deceptive. For instance, a bran cereal with no added sugar but with raisins in it might look as high in sugar as a sugary kid’s cereal. But there is a big difference in the nutritional value of the two foods, since one might contain only t he natural sugar from the fruit, while the kid’ s cereal will contain all added sugar.

How can you reduce your sugar intake?

Try to obtain your sugars naturally–which should be primarily from fresh, whole fruit.

  • Fruit juices, even if they are 100 percent fruit juice, are all-natural sugar but they are very high in calories–it’s best to avoid beverages with high calories, including fruit juices, sodas, lemonade and other sweetened beverages. Learn to enjoy your iced tea for its natural flavor, rather than for the flavor of the sugar that you pour into the glass.
  • Rather than adding syrup or honey to foods like waffles or pancakes, try topping them with sliced fresh fruit and a dollop of vanilla yogurt.
  • Look for whole-grain cereals without added sugars, and top with sliced bananas, berries or other fruit that appeals to you. This applies to both cold cereals and hot. Oatmeal is delicious with some mashed banana stirred in for sweetness.
  • Keep healthy snacks around, like whole fruits, cut vegetables, whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese, so you won’t be tempted to eat sweets instead.
  • Help your kids develop healthier habits–if they are old enough to read labels, give them a list of all the names for sugar and ask them to become “sugar detectives.” They will enjoy finding the hidden sources of sugar in foods, and it will help to educate them as to how much sugar is added–sometimes where you least expect it.
  • Instead of baked goods for desserts, try fresh fruit with a bit of chocolate syrup. One great trick is to take ripe bananas, peel and place them on a foil-lined tray in the freezer. Frozen bananas taste just like ice cream and will satisfy your sweet tooth for significantly fewer calories.
  • If you add sugar to cereals, beverages and fruits routinely, try to gradually reduce the amount you use. You may not really know the true flavor of these foods because you have “masked the flavor with sugar. Fresh fruits in season should be deliciously sweet–no added sugar necessary.


By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

Sugar is a short-term source of both energy and pleasure. But the fact is, kids today are on sugar overload! According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, kids are getting a staggering 29 teaspoons of refined sugar per day. This overconsumption of sugar is causing a variety of problems and health issues.

Currently, about a third of the nation’s children and teens are either overweight or obese, and a high-sugar diet is often the cause. Sugar can make it difficult to lose weight because of constantly high insulin levels, which cause the body to store excess carbohydrates as f at. It can also suppress the immune system, cause tooth decay, and even lead to diabetes. What’s more, too much sugar can also result in energy peaks and valleys.

After sugar consumption, children experience a rapid rise of the stimulant hormone adrenaline, which causes hyperactivity. In fact, a recent study at Yale University School of Medicine revealed that, when ingested by children, sugar releases twice the amount of adrenaline into the bloodstream as it does in adults. Kids then experience a crashing low, as refined sugars break down very quickly in the body, leaving them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate.

So, which foods contain the most calories from sugar? It all starts with breakfast. Sugar accounts for more than a third of the weight of children’s cereals. They contain about 52 percent more sugar than adult cereals and have less protein and fiber.

Another big concern is sugar-sweetened sodas. They are the largest source of added sugar in the daily diets of U.S. children. Each 12 oz. carbonated soft drink conta ins the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. And juice-flavored drinks aren’t any better. They often contain as much added sugar as
soft drinks and also tend to be high in calories and low in valuable nutrients.

So, instead of giving your child sugar-loaded cereals and beverages, offer them healthier alternatives, such as fruit. It’s a naturally sweet snack that also contains fiber and vitamins they need.

The Skinny on Fats


The Skinny On Fats

Americans are obsessed with fat. We’re warned not to eat it; we worry about finding it on our hips and waists; and we hear or read about losing it daily from the media.

It’s true, though, we eat too much of the bad fat. Then we avoid fats as a backlash from “fat guilt” and may not get enough of the good dietary fats.

Come on… Is there such as thing as good fat?

Absolutely! There are even some fats we can not live without. You even need them in your diet for health! The issue of dietary fat is probably one of the most confusing to people. Should you eat as little as possible? More of the “good” fats? The answer lies somewhere in between.

So, what do fats do for us besides add inches to our waistlines and plaque to our arteries?

It’s not about being fat, plump, skinny, or thin. It’s about health!

Ideally, you want to eat only the amount that you need to add flavor to foods, and of the fats that you eat, you want to select the healthiest ones. All fats, regardless of their source, are about 120 calories per teaspoon, so most people can’t (and shouldn’t) eat them freely.

Without fat in the diet, we would not be able to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat is also digested slowly, staying in our intestines and keeping us satisfied longer after we eat.

Fats are the most concentrated source of calories in our diet. They supply more than twice the number of calories per gram as carbohydrates or proteins.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Fats are categorized as saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated, depending on the predominant fatty acid they contain.
  • Generally speaking, saturated fats (found in animal products like meats, cheese and ice buttercream as well as hydrogenated vegetable oils) tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. The process of hydrogenating oils, which makes them harder at room temperature, produces trans-fatty acids– which also raise blood cholesterol and should be avoided.
  • Polyunsaturated fats can be “good” or “bad,” depending on whether they are primarily Omega-6 fats (which are pro-inflammatory) or Omega-3 fats (which are anti-inflammatory).
  • The richest source of Omega-6 fats in the American diet is corn oil; the richest sources of Omega-3 fats in the American diet are fish, flaxseed and vegetables.
  • While small amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are called “essential,” meaning our bodies can’t make them, the amounts required are very small and can be met from plant products, which have a good balance of the two fats.
  • Our diet is typically overloaded with Omega-6 fatty acids, with inadequate amounts of Omega-3. This imbalance, with too many “bad” fats relative to “good” fats, promotes the inflammatory process which is believed to be at the root of asthma, heart disease and many common forms of cancer.
  • Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil and avocado, have neutral effects on cholesterol and do not promote cancer. These fats are “healthy” fats and can be eaten in moderation.
  • Olive oil is a healthy oil for cooking; if the flavour is too strong for you, you can purchase “light” olive oils which have the same calories as regular olive oil, but are lighter in flavour.

To reduce overall fat intake:

  • Try using pan sprays when you sauté foods, or you can sauté in wine or broth.
  • Use nonfat or reduced-fat versions of high-fat items, such as dairy products, spreads and dressings.
  • If you are watching calories, keep in mind that low-fat or fat-free versions of baked goods often have the same amount of calories as the full-fat version. In many cases, fat is replaced with sugar which drives up the calories.
  • Avoid fatty meats such as steaks, high-fat ground meats, chops and sausages. Eat more poultry breast, fish, shellfish, egg whites, nonfat dairy products and soy products for protein, which have much less fat than red meats.

Water Works



Drinking plenty of water is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and a nutritious diet. Water plays an essential role in helping your body process nutrients, maintain normal circulation and keep the proper balance of fluids.


After each 30-minute workout, drink two 8 oz. glasses of water to replenish your fluids. If you find you become thirsty while working out, consider using a sports bottle to help you stay hydrated while you exercise.

Because of their calorie content, soft drinks and fruit juices are not good choices for replacing lost fluids if you are trying to lose weight or manage your weight. You might try adding just a splash of fruit juice or a slice of lemon or lime to a glass of water if you don’t like the taste of plain water.


As a general guideline, try to drink six to eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. If you exercise, you will probably need to drink more to replenish the water lost through sweating.

You can usually trust your sense of thirst to let you know when you need to drink. Your sense of thirst, combined with simply paying attention to how many glasses of water you’ve had in a day, can help you to keep your body hydrated.


The next time you’re thirsty, it could be smart to think before you drink. While “you are what you eat,” the phrase is more accurately “you are what you drink.” Our bodies are about 60 percent water, and while watery foods can help meet our needs, most of our daily water needs are met from the fluids we drink.

Aside from plain water, consumers are faced with a dizzying array of juices, juice drinks, vitamin-fortified waters, sports drinks, energy drinks and teas making it difficult to choose the best beverage to help meet fluid needs.

For the average person who exercises moderately, plain water is a perfectly good choice. But many people prefer drinks with a little flavor, and tastier fluids may encourage consumption. And as exercise duration and intensity increase, it’s important to not only replace fluid losses, but to replace body salts–such as sodium and potassium–that are lost with sweating.


When evaluating beverages, a good place to start is by reading the nutrition facts label. For waterbottleinstance, sodas or fruit drinks are often high in calories and sugar, and low on nutrients. Not only can these empty calories pile on the pounds, the high-sugar concentration in sodas and fruit drinks can actually slow down the rate at which the body absorbs fluid. If you see high-fructose corn syrup at the top of the ingredient list, you may want to pass. Sugars other than fructose, in lower concentrations, are much better absorbed.

Some energy drinks have a combination of caffeine and sugar, designed to give you a quick spike in energy. But if you aren’t used to consuming caffeinated drinks, these could make you jittery or upset your stomach.

So what should you look for? It’s a good idea to check labels for electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are salts that your body loses when you perspire. In addition to replacing losses, electrolytes can also add some flavor, which will encourage you to drink more. Also, look for drinks with less than 100 calories per 8 oz. serving. Higher calories means a higher sugar concentration; you also don’t want to drink back the calories you just burned on the treadmill.

While too much sugar can be a problem, a little bit of carbohydrate in beverages can help to maintain blood sugar while you are exercising. Also, a mixture of several forms of carbohydrate in the drink helps to get carbohydrate into working muscle better than just one carbohydrate source.

A drink such as one made with Herbalife’s H³O® Fitness Drink mix could be a good choice because it contains the right amount of readily absorbed carbohydrates, no caffeine, and the essential electrolytes people lose when they perspire. It comes in a powder that mixes easily with water, an d is available either in a canister or in convenient single-serve “stick packs” that can be thrown in a bag or pocket and mixed in any water bottle.


You may become dehydrated before you are actually thirsty. This is one reason that athletes learn to drink on schedule. Two cups of fluid a couple of hours before you start exercising should be followed with another cup or so 10 to 20 minutes before you start.

A few ounces every 15 minutes or so when you are working out can help prevent excessive fluid losses. One way to monitor your hydration is to note the color of your urine. “People who are optimally hydrated should urinate every one to two hours,” says Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H., clinical physician at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). “And your urine should be pale yellow or clear,” says Gratton. “Darker color usually means more concentrated urine, an indication that you should increase your fluid intake.”

Watch for other signs and symptoms of dehydration during exercise, such as muscle cramping, or feeling light-headed or faint. Even if you are only a weekend warrior, adequate fluids are important for a healthy, well-functioning body. If you think you drink less than you should, a flavorful beverage designed to help you hydrate might be just the thing to help meet your fluid needs.