There are a lot of drinks out in the market there that you may think are harmless, but think again! A lot of these commercially-owned brands are actually incredibly detrimental to your health. Just to lay out the facts, ingredients on foods are listed from the most to least. So, if sugar is number one on the ingredient list, whatever you are eating has sugar as the greatest component. Here are a few drinks you may want to reconsider buying:
I really hope this is not your “healthy” alternative to soft drinks. Their name is the most deceiving of all. “Fruit juice” would usually imply their healthy characteristics – juice from a fruit. And even though I applaud you for selecting a freshly squeezed fruit juice, I’d like to remind you that juice from fruit is like drinking sugar. The healthy component of any fruit is to eat the fiber which then cleans out your intestines. And the vitamins? It turns out that the vitamins from fruit are not usually in the juice of it – they are in actual structures of the fruit. For example, in an orange, the vitamin C is in the white outer lining of the orange; the part that is stuck on the peeling, the part we all throw out.
Most of the vitamins and minerals in apples are in the peeling of it. Fitting the puzzle pieces together? Fruit juices are not always the best choice. Moving forward, commercial fruit juices are definitely an aisle you want to steer clear of. If you really look, most fruit juices will state their disclaimer, “contains X% of fruit juice.” If you ask me, I would like my fruit juice to be 100% fruit juice. That would only make me wonder what the other % consists of. In addition, the sugar content is out of this world high. Most brands are packed with artificial sugars or sweeteners to help boost its flavor. Ever hear of high fructose corn syrup? Check out the ingredient list. Many fruit juices, especially the infamous Welch’s brands, are packed with them and oftentimes are on the top of the ingredient list. For this reason, try to choose the juices that are 100% juice.
Coffee overall is not healthy, though it is not incredibly unhealthy either. It has its pros and cons, but sweetened Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffees like the ones you see in all of your co-workers or classmate’s hand every morning really get your body screaming for help. White chocolate mochas, McCafe frappes, peppermint white chocolate mochas, pumpkin spice lattes, crème brulee coffees, coolatas, mint chip mochas, caramel macchiatos, au bon pain’s vanilla lattes, toffee mochas, mocha lattes, etc. all sound fabulous and lip-smacking; however, they’re also fatal to your health. A grande peppermint white chocolate mocha from Starbucks has 75 grams of sugar, 60% saturated fat, and 520 calories. The ingredients in these drinks are not only packs with all kinds of harmful sugars but they also contain a great deal of detrimental chemicals and vague ingredient labels such as “natural flavors.” What are natural flavors? Aren’t they unnatural if they are only flavors? Are these drinks all delicious? Absolutely! But are you drinking the elixir of life? Not quite.
The point of water is for it to be unflavored, neutral and thirst quenching. Why would anyone want their water to be flavored? If you’re one of those people, here are a few facts about flavored water. Many contain a great deal of the “natural” and artificial flavorings mentioned above. They also have high amounts of sugars, sweeteners, and added nutrients like Vitamin C. According to Business Insider, “Natural flavors are created from anything that can be eaten (i.e animals and vegetables), even if those edible things are processed in the lab to create flavorings. Artificial flavors come from anything that is inedible (i.e petroleum) that is processed to create chemicals of flavorings.” Making these flavors in the lab instead of actually extracting them from the actual fruit, spice, or herb is much cheaper and faster. Vanillin, for example, is extracted from cow waste while artificial strawberry flavor is chemically similar to that found in an actual strawberry. As you can see, many flavors do not actually come from their implied source. You’ll be surprised with a little research!
Soft drinks are perhaps one of the unhealthiest drinks you could consume. The first big point is that sodas contain a very high amount of sugar. One 12 oz. can of soda can have 39 grams of sugar which is more than the amount of daily recommended sugar intake for both men and women. Almost all contain high fructose corn sugar which stresses the pancreas and leads to spiking blood sugar levels which in turn affects the way your body produces insulin, a sugar stabilizer, and can eventually lead to many problems like diabetes. Sodas cause dehydration by not only serving as a water replacement, but they also contain a great deal of caffeine which acts as a diuretic, causing the body to have less water and fluids. Like many of the previously listed drinks, sodas can be deemed to contain “empty calories” which in turn causes weight gain. Lastly, phosphoric acid derives from rocks and is found in these soft drinks depletes calcium from your bones and also blocks calcium absorption which can then lead to osteoporosis. It also causes tooth erosion. Not fun, my friends.
Although sports drinks can revamp electrolyte levels, they also have their cons. Their acidity and sugar content cause tooth decay over time. Sports drinks are meant to be consumed when you work out. If you are not exercising when drinking them, they may call for some serious weight gain. They have a substantial amount of carbs in them and high amounts of carbohydrates at once can cause your insulin levels to increase and in turn, causing fat storage. They also contain high fructose corn syrup which is not only harmful for your pancreas, but it is also a contributor to obesity, decreased brain function, diabetes, and liver fibrosis.
When it comes to needing energy, you either go for coffee or a convenient energy drink. This goes for high school students, college students, and employees trying to meet deadlines. However, they can lead to weight gain because of their high sugar content. The mix of this sugar and crazy-high caffeine levels can lead to cardiovascular issues which are associated with a quicker heartbeat and increase in blood pressure (or god forbid, heart failure). These drinks also cause anxiety, irritability, and jitters due to their ingredients.
When it comes to choosing a drink, there tend to be many frustrating and misleading information. I would suggest sticking to water. You can never go wrong with water!
What are your favorite healthy drinks?