Beat the Heat with Low-Calorie Hydration

September 2, 2022

As the summer months and heat continues, it is important to stay properly hydrated. It is best to eat calories and not drink them as food gives a better sense of satiety and fullness rather than beverages.




Plain water is going to be the best option for hydration and the most readily available. A general rule of thumb is the 8 glasses of fluid a day, but one of the ways to determine if you are getting enough fluids is if you do not feel thirsty and if your urine color is colorless or a light yellow.  If you are those one of those people who do not like to drink plain water, there are alternatives to stay hydrated. Adding pieces of fruit to water is a natural way to get a little flavor to water. Diffuser pitchers or individual diffuser water bottles can be filled up with different recipes for delicious and refreshing hydration. Strawberries, watermelon, cucumber and mint all work really well in recipes for diffusers. Some people will put just a splash of juice in water for a hint of flavor which can also work. Sparkling waters are very popular and give the carbonation taste without any of the calories.




Many people are under the impression that juices are healthier than soda, but many of them have just as much sugar and carbohydrates. One cup of orange or apple juice is around 120 calories/cup and grape or cranberry juice is around 150 calories/cup. It is best to stick with a low-calorie juice when possible as there are a few on the market. Lemonade can be a refreshing summer beverage, but lower calorie ones are best or lemonade with just fresh squeezed lemons. Light juices does not necessarily mean low calorie, so it is important to take a look at the nutrition label for clarification. A general rule of thumb with these type of beverages is to get one with no more than 10 calories per 1 cup. Unsweetened iced tea is perfect with lemon added or a packet of artificial sweetener if needed.



Diet soda/pop

One can of regular soda is 160 calories and 45g carbohydrates which is an entire meal worth of carbohydrates in a single beverage. Also, looking at calories alone, if a person is changing from one regular can of soda a day to water or a diet beverage, they would lose 12-15# in a year without making any other dietary changes. It is healthier to just drink water; however, diet soda is ok in moderation and is a personal preference to get the combination of carbonation with the sweet taste. If someone is opposed to drinking diet soda or switching to water instead, there are the mini cans of regular soda that are about 100 calories/can, which can be better for portion control.



Electrolyte replacement

If someone is exercising in the high heat or running for 60 minutes or longer, it would be advised to use a beverage with electrolyte replacements. Otherwise, plain water would be sufficient when exercising. There are many calorie-free electrolyte replacements available that provide nutrients such as sodium and potassium, but do not contain glucose.



Hydration with other foods

There are certain foods that contain more fluids that can help count toward the fluid content and hydration for the day. This might be a consideration if you are not a big fan of water or have a hard time staying hydrated. Examples of these would be watermelon, lettuce, apples, cucumber, tomatoes, peaches, celery and yogurt.

The Author

Kim Kramer R.D., L.D.N., CDCES

I have been a dietitian for over 15 years and my passion is in outpatient wellness working with kids and adults to help change their eating habits. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a dietitian, and I am enthusiastic about nutrition as it gives me joy to talk to others about healthy foods. I promote a healthy lifestyle and positive behavior changes. I have also been working in the field of diabetes for the last 7 years providing optimal diabetes management practices to those in need. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my kids, cooking, playing the piano and working out.

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