It was the summer Holidays in North Cyprus when Renee visited me, her only sister during the college break. We were so excited to spent the four long months of the hot sunny weather together. Being young, naïve and free we were so excited and full of glee as we planned on our escapades and this meant more drinks, more wine, more trips to the sea, turn ups and clubbing you name it all. Renee was just so excited, being daddy’s girl and always having him watch her this was the freedom she always craved, and she wasn’t planning on wasting the opportunity, so it was all about being merry and well, being merry that time meant getting wasted and trying out new things.
In all these endeavors Renne and I, were hooked on cocktails, vodka, wine, and sodas were for rehydration and energy drinks for kicking of the exhaustion, these summer escapades needed an energy boost and it worked like a charm. Despite Soda being the most demonized drink one can consume, we kept binging on them, as we hyped each other that we will be rehydrating, little did we know that we were actually causing more problems. The first two months went by and the girls were having mad fun.
Now it’s true when they say “Too much of anything can make you sick” It didn’t take time one evening, Renee started complaining that her heart was beating so fast, that she was dizzy and at first, I just thought it’s her drunk and fatigued self-imagining things from all the partying as she was acting all confused. In the morning I went to her room and she was drenched in sweat, was weak and wasn’t looking so good. I assisted her to go help herself in the bathroom but she was too dizzy to stand, I then noticed that her pee was very dark than normal, weird I know but I had to clean after her, after all we are our sister’s keeper. I panicked and rushed her to the Hospital.
She was admitted in hospital and Doctor Mehemet advised that they were keeping her till she was stable. I, staggered home thinking of ways to let my father know but I just could not get the courage I, had failed my sister I, told myself. The following morning visit, my sister was a little better, the doctor sat us down and gave a long speech. He said “Beverages are the easiest thing most of us overlook, when it comes to healthy eating and hydration, but they are said to be a very huge part of our healthy diet.” According to Amber Brenza, he said “not everything liquid is good for the body, some drinks will even dehydrate you more. Sodas increase your risks of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and poor dental health down the road, soft drinks can contribute to a more immediate health risk, Dehydration! he exclaimed and I, was perplexed as I figured this was Renee’s diagnosis.
He went on dishing facts as we listened attentively, “Research from the American Physiology Society renders that using soft drink as a hydration liquid is far more dangerous as it worsens dehydration and increases one’s risks of kidney injuries when compared to water”, he explained that even though the study was done on rats it still raises serious concerns for humans who do this more often quenching thirsts with soda. We were just gazing at each other with my sister as we acknowledged our ignorance.
I tried interjecting telling Dr Mehemet that we understood but, he gave me the hand and mentioned that he was not done, I looked down and swallowed. He asked if we knew what studies from the Academy of Nutrition and Deictics said about alcohol, we both echoed NO! in unison, he shook his head and explained that for, medical students we ought to do better. However, he explained to us that alcohol is ‘diuretic’ meaning it contributes to the increased urine output, which raises the risk of dehydration.
Doctor Mehmet’s word made us see reason as he went on with facts “Research shows that our bodies use more fluids when it’s hot and we feel thirstier during the sunny summer days’’ he said and “beer lovers like you and Renee here will agree with me on how you salivate when presented with a frosty beer mug” we both chuckled, and he looked at us with a stern frown as he went on and warned us that it’s one of the last thing, that one should opt for in this hot weather. I looked at him with searching eyes to see if he was joking but no Dr. was serious as death.
Renne posed after shifting on the hospital bed, and asked if it was then ok to drink energy drinks instead, he looked at both of us eyes with pleading eyes and said “ Girls listen, stay away from energy drinks as they are full of sweeteners and caffeine, an average 160z of energy drink can be equal to two cups of coffee hence you absorb more caffeine than necessary, over consumption of energy drinks leads to abnormal heart rhythms” which was what Rennee was feeling, “increased blood pressure, seizures, anxiety and mood swings” he explained. He went on explaining on how we ought to do everything in moderation and stop behaving like crazy people with the bottle who party like our lives dependent on it, or else we would end up with alcohol hepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis or fatty liver and also weakens our immune system making our body vulnerable and an easy target for diseases.
“Bottom line is if it’s loaded with sugar, it’s bad for your health, as sugar is linked to higher rates of diabetes, cancer and chronic inflammation” he roared. He explained how most of us when thirsty and hot, tent to ignore the harmful or beneficial elements of each drink, as long as it quenches our thirst, but knowing the effects of popular summer drinks can aid us make the best choices through the heat. We both nodded and smiled realizing that our hunger for our so-called fun and our binging escapades were more dangerous than we ever imagined.
Doctor Mehemet told poor Renee and I that it’s better to opt for Coconut water as it an all-natural health drink as it lowers blood pressure and keeps the body hydration levels up and provides nutrients, vitamins and minerals at the same time but all in moderation, as excess can be dangerous for heart rhythm because of Potassium, he listed a whole lot of healthy drinks we could both try and overemphasized that above all “the best drink recommended is water” although we all can agree that plain water gets boring, we can opt to add fruits in it to taste better or opt for fruits and vegetables.
This was a wake-up call for both of us, now we keep in mind that too much of anything can make you sick.
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