Because hydration is key to weight loss and good health, you should drink at least six glasses of sugar-free liquids a day. At least five of those glasses should be water, which you should drink at every meal and snack.

If you normally drink caloric beverages like sugary soda and juices, you should make the shift to noncaloric varieties like water and unsweetened tea. A new study called “What America Drinks” reveals that on average Americans get 22 percent of their daily calories from nutrient-poor, sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, and presweetened teas. Imagine what would happen if the average person simply switched from regular soda to water. She would cut 22 percent of the calories from her diet and shed pounds in a matter of weeks, even if she did nothing else!

There are many healthy drink options. Have decaf herbal tea as a morning beverage. To spruce up plain or carbonated water, add a slice of orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or even cucumber. Or simply brew your own tea (any kind you want) and chill it with ice. You should limit diet sodas to one or two cans each day because the artificial sweetener in sodas can make you crave sugary foods.

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