This week, Michelle Obama and Let’s Move (in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, that’s her Childhood Obesity campaign) are encouraging people to drink more water.
The new campaign simply says “Drink Up” when it comes to water.
Sound advice, right?
However, the new push has been widely criticized by nutrition and public health advocates. The criticism focuses almost exclusively on the campaign’s partnership with the soda industry, which I agree is probably an unholy alliance. Because of this partnership, the campaign has to be very careful that the message is definitely not “drink water instead of soda” or “drink tap water.”
No doubt drinking water INSTEAD of soda or simply drinking tap water instead of soda would be the ideal message. I’m dissappointed that the soda industry is playing any part at all in this important campaign. But I’m not going to throw out the baby with the bath water just yet, so to speak.
Having worked around politics, I know that sometimes you have to reach out to a group that you want to have nothing to do with as a means to an end. It’s just how it works. The soda industry, like any other industry, has a mission of selling more products. Period. Any attempt to decrease their sales is completely contrary to the goals of the shareholders of the company. However, there is no question that most of their products contribute to a whole host of diseases, inculding diabetes, fatty liver, tooth decay, and heart disease.
The reason I’m not jumping on the bandwagon just yet with all the critics of the campaign is that I think the Drink Up! campaign, while it could definitely be more focuses on tap water, is better than nothing. It’s a baby step in the right direction. And yes, it’s being funding by the soda industry, but looks what happening now. People are talking about it. And as a food blogger who is dedicated to singing the gospel of natural whole foods, I’m picking up the torch and saying, “Michelle Obama is right. Drink Water. Even better if it comes from the tap.” I’d rather one person choose a bottle of Dasani water over a Coca Cola Classic any day. The more people get used to the message of drinking water for health, the easier it will be to convince them tap water is best. It’s up to us, who don’t have a partnership with a major soft drink company, to get that message out.
I stopped drinking pop a couple years ago, and I wish I’d done it sooner. It was very hard at first, but after even a few months without any, they taste weird. Very chemically. I never was a big fan of regular pop. As a child, I went straight into diet cola because that’s what my parents drank. Now, the evidence that drinking diet cola leads to a number of health complications is truly frightening. I think it’s probably worse than the high fructose corn syrup laced stuff.
I can’t stress enough the benefits of giving up cola. Personally, I have experienced better skin, less of a sweet tooth, less of that “puffy belly” feeling. Not to mention all the hidden benefits, like reducing my risk of diabetes by a whopping 22 percent, and reducing changes of migraines, stroke, and heart disease.
One of the easiest ways for me to drink more water was getting a really neat water bottle. Nothing like getting a new toy to inspire me to stick with a good habit. Here is the one I have:
photo credit: Amazon.com
I really wanted a glass bottle because I wanted to avoid bpa. It still have a few plastic parts like the straw and mouthpiece, but it’s better than drinking out of a plastic bottle. Click the picture to be taken to the Amazon website where I bought mine from.
The Hubs has this one:
photo credit: Amazon.com
It’s also glass, a little more manly, and doesn’t have a straw. Clicking the pic will also take you to the Amazon listing.
Drinking tap water is better than bottled water for a couple reasons. First, as bottled water has gain popularity in the last few years, disposing the plastic bottles has become a huge problem. Plastic isn’t biodegradable, and now rivers, lakes and oceans are seeing more pollution from bottled water. According to National Geographic, 29 billion bottles end up in the garbage every year. That’s a lot of discarded plastic.
The second reason to skip bottled water for tap water is bpa. BPA is a compound in plastic that has been linked to a number of health concerns such as breast cancer and obesity. It can leach from the plastic bottle into the liquid fairly easily, especially when heated. I try to avoid it whenever possible.
The third reason, and this is a no brainer, is that tap water is a fraction of the cost of bottled water. A 16-ounce bottle of water at the grocery store or at a convenience store costs around $1.50. Tap water costs pennies per gallon if you get it out of your tap. Fill up your reusable water bottle at a public fountain and it’s free! Once I started carrying around by reusable water bottle, I started noticing water fountains everywhere. At the mall, at the movie theater, at the library.
At any rate, I am behind Michelle Obama’s Drink Up campaign even if she partnered with soda industry. I think it’s a start to drinking more water, and reducing our intake of soda. And, I’m carrying the banner to tell folks to drink TAP WATER instead of SODA: the real message in “drink water.”
Diclaimer: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. Buying an item by clicking through the link in this entry does earn me a VERY SMALL amount of money–like literally a few cents. All opinions and endorsements are my own.