The Harvard School of Public Health offers this information regarding beverages:
Water: Without a doubt, water is your best choice.
Drinks loaded with sugar: These are the worst choice.
Other drinks: These have pros and cons, but in moderation, can fit into a healthy diet.
Coffee and tea: These are calorie-free, as long as you don't load up on the sugar and cream. They are safe for most people and may even have some health benefits.
Artificially sweetened drinks: These have no calories, but their long-term effects on weight and health are unknown, so it's best to limit them, if you drink them at all.
100 percent fruit juice: Fruit juice has vitamins, but it is high in calories, so stick to no more than a small glass (4 to 6 ounces) a day.
Milk: Milk is also high in calories, so there's no need to drink more than a glass or two of low-fat or skim milk a day, and less is fine.
Alcohol: Alcohol is both a tonic and a poison, and the difference lies in the dose and the person drinking it; moderation is key.
It's anybody's guess as to whether these kinds of regulations will actually cause people to ingest less sugar through beverages. Ultimately, to realize a true shift toward better health, Americans must take greater personal responsibility as we will always have the last say in what we pour into our glass.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.