Supersized beverages can contain most of your daily liquid needs
While hydration needs vary depending on your gender, size and activity level, you should aim to drink enough water during the day so that you are rarely thirsty and produce at least 1.5 L of colourless or pale yellow urine a day. Your body needs water on an ongoing basis to aid digestion, replace fluid lost through breathing and perspiration, transport nutrients to your cells and get rid of waste. Many people drink 8 glasses of water per day, or about 1.9 L to meet their goal.
But would you really drink a large part of your daily volume goal all at once? Some soft drinks and sport drinks are now sold in gargantuan sizes. For example, a large soft drink from a fast food outlet can range in size from 730 mL to 960 mL. The same is true for sport drinks, which are sold in 591 mL, 710 mL and 946 mL bottles. Bottled water is sold in 591 mL bottles but also in 1L and 1.5L sizes. Keep in mind that the average capacity of an adult human stomach is about 900 mL. Rather than overloading your body with fluid all at once, it’s much healthier to drink smaller amounts that add up to your goal throughout the day.
Corn products are in many more foods than you think
Corn is a key ingredient in breakfast cereals, bread, potato chips and French fries, soft drinks, and many prepared foods. In his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan writes that more than a quarter of the items for sale in the average grocery store now contain ingredients that came from corn. Check the food label of any processed food and you will most likely find an ingredient derived from corn, provided you know what to look for. For example, corn syrup is added to dried fruit or soft drinks to make them sweeter. Corn ingredients such as cornstarch and corn fibre provide body and a crispy texture to foods like french fries.
A chicken nugget contains modified cornstarch to hold it together, corn flour in the coating and corn oil from frying. But what you might not realize is that the leavenings, lecithin, mono-, di-, and triglycerides and citric acid, can also be made from corn. If you see modified or unmodified starch, glucose syrup, maltodextrin, crystalline fructose, ascorbic acid, lecithin, dextrose, lactic acid, lysine, maltose, HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), MSG (monosodium glutamate), polyols, caramel colour, or xanthan gum, on an ingredient label, it was likely derived from corn.
Where did that red food colour come from?
Check the ingredient list on your strawberry or raspberry yogurt for “natural colour”. The natural colour in your red-berry yogurt could be carmine, a red food colour made from the dried bodies of female cochineal insects, sourced from South America or Mexico. Cochineal extract has been used for thousands of years to dye fabrics but today is used primarily as a food or cosmetic colouring. Canada’s Food and Drug Act currently allows food manufacturers to declare an added colour by either its common name or simply as “colour”, and carmine is considered a natural colour.
Your red sport drink is another place you will find the use of added colour. But where did it come from? Some sport drinks use Allura Red (also known as Red 40), a petroleum-based azo dye. Allura Red is approved for use in products such as jam, concentrated fruit juice, ice cream, pickles and relishes, ketchup and flavoured milk products. Canadian law regulates the maximum percentage of Allura Red that can be used.
While rare, some people can experience severe allergic reactions to food colouring. However, food colour was not identified as a “priority allergen” in the recent announcement by Health Canada to enhance labeling for food allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites. If you have a concern about a particular product, you should contact the manufacturer and ask specifically which food colouring is used.