Beat the Heat with Smart Nutrition


With Memorial Day passing by, summer is on its way.  This means it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to fuel your body to beat the outdoor heat. When it comes to fueling your body healthfully during the warmer seasons, the major focus is on keeping the body as cool as possible. In this article, you’ll discover 3 aspects of nutrition that will help keep you and your family cooler in the months ahead.


From a nutritional perspective, three important factors contribute to feeling better and cooler during activity in the heat.

The three factors are food, liquid, and the timing of food/liquid consumption.


1. The primary types of foods that are best for activity in the heat are carbohydrates (fruits, grains, & vegetables).

Mixed berries are a great snack option on hot days. (image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/

The reason carbohydrates are better for you than high protein and fat foods is because carbs are absorbed faster and easier than proteins and fats and they are the main fuel source for physical activity and exercise.  High protein foods, on the other hand, may contribute to dehydration because high protein foods require more water for metabolism and this may compromise the body’s ability to cool down.

2. The best source of liquid for keeping the body cool during hot weather is water.

For some children, however, a little bit of Gatorade or tasty juice is suggested because children are more likely to drink flavored fluids.  Gatorade, however, does not provide an energetic advantage over water unless you plan to exercise for prolonged periods of time in the heat (more than one or two hours).

The average adult takes in about 2.5 liters of water per day. (image courtesy of mapichai/

For adults, the average daily intake of water is about 2.5 L (or about 5 small Poland Spring bottles).  Most people do not know that almost half of their water intake (~1.0 L) comes from the water within foods. As a result, people tend to over drink water and other fluids thinking they need to ingest more fluids than necessary. This is not a danger to the body under normal, healthy conditions.

During activity in the heat, however, liquid intake needs to increase to prevent the body from experiencing any of several heat related illnesses.  In fact, physical exertion in the heat can increase liquid demands up to 6 times!  And, for those who like to shed pounds in the heat, please note that one pound of weight loss after exercise is equal to ~ 15 fluid ounces of dehydration (~ 1 small Poland Spring water bottle).

3. Lastly, it’s important to understand how the timing of food and liquid intake can affect your ability to stay active in the heat. In order to provide the body sufficient fuel for activity, it’s been suggested to consume carbohydrates at least a couple hours before exercise.  During exercise in the heat, about ¼ liter of water (1/2 a Poland Spring bottle) is suggested every 15-20 minutes.

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About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

5 replies on “Beat the Heat with Smart Nutrition”

Hey Mande,
Great question. The key to feeling different or potentially having a boost of with coconut milk or a related product lies within MCTs (Medium Chain Triacylglycerols). MCTs are a form of fat within coconut milk that is unique because they are absorbed at a faster rate than other types of fat or protein. This is because MCTs do not require as many metabolic steps of digestion and absorption – such as the need for bile, which is an emulsifier that breaks down fat for absorption in the small intestine. Therefore, any type of coconut milk/drink will provide a relatively quick boost of energy. In fact, as a side note, folks who suffer from digestive disorders like irritable bowel diseases are often encouraged to include coconut milk as part of their diet since it is digested and absorbed quickly without triggering digestive issues that often result from consuming other types of fats or proteins.

Thanks Mande. For additional information on some of the healthiest available options on the market today for snacks that boost energy – including chips & crackers, dips, health bars, popcorn & pretzels, frozen yogurt & ice cream as well as pre-structured lean body diet plans, weight loss plans, and more, you might like this new Y.E.S. – Your Eating Solution workbook linked here.

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