What’s the # 1 drink that doctors, dentists and every health professional advises us to not drink? It’s not juice, coffee, beer, alcohol or tea. It’s soda. Not just diet or regular. It’s more than that. It’s what the soda is made of.

The first ingredient that’s dangerous is phosphoric acid. This is the stuff that eats through tables and cement. It’s also what gives soda it’s bite. It’s the bitter, hot taste you get upon first drinking it. Then, there’s caramel color in the dark sodas. This is a known carcinogen.

In regular sodas, there’s sugar, which I’ve talked extensively about. In diets, there’s a more dangerous chemical, aspartame. Studies link this chemical to weight gain, neurological disorders and depression. It breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in our bodies. If you have any problems with your muscles, joints, liver, heart or mind, aspartame will make them worse. In fact, 75% of the non-prescription complaints to the FDA are about aspartame.

Then there are the dozens of other additives we don’t have time to talk about.

What’s the best drink? Not surprising, water. Humans grew on water. We are about 70% water. We actually crave water.

Most people think water has nothing in it. Let me tell you, having a background in chemistry, I know water has a lot of things in it. The best stuff is the nutrients that make water taste good.

Magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium and carbonates, phosphates and sulfates. We need these nutrients and for people who live in hard water areas, similar to our area, we get good doses of important nutrients just from drinking water.

Groundwater is the healthiest, best tasting water out there. But you should get it tested, there are certain bacteria that can grow in the ground water.

If you are drinking tap water, it’s ok. This water is highly tested and very healthy. In many of our areas, we get our water from the river. In others, it’s the ground. Bottled water may or may not be tested and they don’t need to tell you where they got it. Certain companies do test well and provide good water, so if you worry, ask for the test results. I did.

More than that, our joints need water to keep soft and pain free. In fact, people with arthritis are often dehydrated. It’s not a cause, but definitely connected. Water keeps our organs free of toxins. It keeps our food moving through our digestive system.

Water can come in different forms. Herbal and leaf teas are healthy, count as water and provide some wonderful nutrients. Juice, coffee and alcohol do not because sugar, caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body. If you like the fizz of soda, try seltzer water.