First lady Michelle Obama followed up on Senate Democratic criticism of energy drink companies by calling on Americans to drink more water, "the first and best energy drink," as she launched the "Drink Up" initiative.

"But as we were thinking about this, we were thinking, what is the one thing that we can have you guys do that ensures good health?" Obama said during an event in Watertown, Wis., Thursday.

"And it's really pretty simple. It's drink more water. Just drink up. Because truly – as I've said before – water is the first and best energy drink," she said.

The first lady's new initiative comes weeks after Senate Democrats compared energy drinks to tobacco in a congressional hearing with industry representatives.

“As the sale of energy drinks has grown, so has the alarming evidence that they pose potential health risks,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said during the July 31 hearing. “Younger and younger people in America are exposed to higher and higher levels of stimulants.”

The American Beverage Association, an industry group that represents energy drink companies (among others), tried to dispel what it called "myths" in a statement released on the day of the hearing.

"So, when you watch the news today – and every day hereafter – and you find yourself reading an energy drink story, remember: energy drinks have been enjoyed safely by millions of people around the world for more than 25 years, and in the United States for more than 15 years," the ABA posted on its "Sip & Savor" blog.

Obama noted that "all of the water companies have come together to partner on this effort." The "Drink Up" website also touts the support of the ABA.

"Our member companies have long been committed to ensuring that Americans have choices when it comes to keeping hydrated. Whether spring, purified, mineral, artesian or sparkling, bottled water provides people with a choice that is convenient, portable and refreshing," ABA said on its website.

ABA also supports the first lady's "Let's Move" Initiative.