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  • Writer's pictureJayne Avery

Does what I drink matter?

I believe it does. What you drink can have quite an impact on your life - here are some simple facts about some common drinks. Read and decide what you think.


About 60% of your body is made up from water.  It is vital for life, all the chemical reactions in your body take place in solution.  We need it for digestion and elimination of waste, to lubricate eyes and joints and to regulate our temperature.

Drinks and food provide water, we need around 3 litres of fluid a day, more on a hot day.  Drinking plenty of water ensures that calcium is diluted and excreted in the urine, which prevents the formation of kidney stones. Water flushes out bladder and kidney infections. 


Alcohol, as you probably know is a drug.  It can kill if taken to excess.  It contains more calories than protein or carbohydrates and less than fat.  Low levels of intake do not have a harmful effect on health and red wine is the ‘healthiest’ of all alcoholic drinks. It is better to drink little and often than to binge.

1 unit of alcohol =

1x 125ml wine (8% alcohol)

1/2 pint beer or larger (3.4% alcohol)

1/2 medium cider

1 single (25ml) spirit

1 single (25ml) port or sherry (20% alcohol)

1 1/2 units

1 x 125ml wine (12% alcohol)

1 x 125ml champagne

2 units 

1/2 pint special strong lager (7% alcohol)

1 pint beer, larger or stout (3-4% alcohol)

Home-poured measure (50ml)! spirit

Fruit juices

Contain vitamins and minerals, but no fibre. They have high amounts of fruit sugars, which if taken in excess can cause tooth decay. So a suggestion is the you dilute fruit juice by about one half - especially for children.

Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee contain caffeine which is a stimulant.  It is also found in colas.  It stimulates the heart and nervous system, which in moderation can enhance mental performance, stimulate acid production in the stomach to aid digestion and dilate the airways in the lungs.

However, it can become addictive, and too much can cause tremors, sweating, palpitations, rapid breathing and sleeplessness. Caffeine is also a diuretic (encourages the elimination of fluid from the body - in other words you wee a lot!) and increases the excretion of calcium.

Carbonated drinks.

Fizzy drinks are fun and taste good!

Children particularly seem to like them - so much so that many of them will drink nothing else. This is a  a problem. Many carbonated drinks contain various things that are not good for us if taken too often.

The first is phosphorus. It is added to these drinks to make them less acidic. In the right quantities phosphorus helps to bind calcium to our bones making them stronger. However if we take in too much it can affect the body’s ability to use calcium and inhibit the absorption of magnesium. This is not good news for your bones. 

At one time it was only the sugar in carbonated drinks that was considered bad because it caused tooth decay and led to weight problems. Now we can get diet versions of these drinks containing artificial sweeteners. These can also be a problem if taken too often. Some people actually crave more sweet things when they have eaten or drunk something with artificial sweeteners in them.

These drinks also contain many additivesand some children’s behaviour is affected badly by them. In the light of this some schools have stopped allowing children to drink them in school.

Some of the additives in carbonated drinks make you lose more water from your body, often almost as much as in the drink itself. So once again it is a case of understanding what these things are doing to your body and making a conscious effort to keep balance and variety in your life.

Dietary Advice

Increase your daily fluid intake to about 2 litres , try to drink between 1/2 and 1 litre of pure water each day. 

​Fruit juices will help with your intake of vitamins, but dilute them to cut down on sugars 

Limit your consumption of caffeine containing drinks to one or two a day.

Keep to a sensible level of alcohol consumption.

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