I recently began making plans to incorporate a gallon of water into my daily food intake. I've done this before, and with wonderful results: renewed energy, clear sinuses, restful sleep, but one ill side effect of frequent bathroom visits (Hey, when ya gotta go, the water has to go somewhere).

I always begin wondering if I'm up to it, the sheer volume of fluid. Then I quickly remember I'm a Southerner and this unquenchable truth: I could drink a gallon of sweet tea without batting an eye.

Sweet tea in a mason jar=💙 #sweettea #Texaslife

A photo posted by Shannon Wittig (@thelifeofshannon) on

Another likely fact: sweet tea is popular in the part of the country where obesity and diabetes are common. Don't I know it.

A recent study at East Carolina University examined the historical, cultural and health aspects of sweet tea dominance in southern states. They didn't study Texas, but they should have. Sweet Tea is a omnipresent here as any place in the nation. If menus in your state has two options - Regular Tea and Unsweetened - then you're in sweet tea territory. But some folks say that's not a historical circumstance, that chains like Mickey D's have spread sweet tea where it had not been. (BTW, McDonald's Sweet Tea is available in all 50 states and is a fine substitute for fresh-brewed Luzianne, Tetley, Lipton or any other brand. I was in Times Square in December 2010, jonesing for sweet tea and McDonald's was open at 2:00 AM, full of people and I got my sweet tea for a dollar. This is a great country.)

Texas Monthly looked over the survey and opined on this subject as well. Some folks to the west say sweet tea wasn't "a thing" until recently. Others to the east and south says it's always been here and any assertion to the contrary is liable to reignite the Confederacy,

I'll say this much: it's certainly tastier than plain ol' water. But I like having my toes.

PHOTO: thelifeofshannon/Instagram