6 Unhealthy Drinks to Avoid


6 Unhealthy Drinks to Avoid

Jan 7, 2015 //

The beverage industry constantly bombards us with imagery and claims of fun, health, energy and weight loss. With all of that exciting promise, who wouldn’t want to try the latest drink to hit the market? But remember the old adage: buyer beware! These popular drinks are bad for your health.

1. Soda

Most of us know soda is bad for us. This list of its common ingredients explains why:

  1. High fructose corn syrup or refined sugar. Both encourage insulin resistance and fat deposition.
  2. Brominated vegetable oil. It can disrupt hormone balance and impair neurological function.
  3. Sodium benzoate. It may damage nerves and has been shown make children more hyperactive and distractible.
  4. Phosphates. They’re bone depleting.

Also, soda has no beneficial nutrients. Really, do we need to say more? Skip the soda!

2. Vitamin Water

Water is healthy, right? Vitamins are healthy, right? Put them
together to make “vitamin water” and it must be really healthy! Not so
fast. The problem with popular drinks that have a combination of
vitamins and water is the amount of sugar in them — about 33 grams in a
20 oz bottle. Sure, it’s less than a soda but a lot more than the zero
in a glass of plain water. Then there’s the issue of quality and
quantity of vitamins in these drinks. Both are lower than what you need
and what you would get from a good quality supplement.

3. Anything Diet

Two words: artificial sweeteners. There have been so many red flags raised in research studies over the years with calorie free or reduced calorie sweeteners. Some of these red flags are their potential to disrupt hormones, increase cancer risks, aggravate irritable bowel syndrome, disrupt neurological function and act as migraine triggers. All of that, in addition to mounting research suggesting these sweeteners may actually encourage weight gain, rebounding sugar cravings and possibly insulin resistance. There’s too much potential risk in consuming these sweeteners with little evidence of much benefit.

4. Flavored Milk

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and other flavored milks are loaded with sugar — 24 grams per cup — preservatives and artificial food colorings. These products are most often marketed as a healthy choice for children but there’s a growing epidemic of obesity, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes among our young population. It’s not so important that children drink their milk that we should add sugar and chemicals to it so they’ll like it.

5. Fruit Juice

Yes, fruit is healthy and nutrient-dense but when we buy juice we’re often getting more than we bargained for — additional sugar, artificial food colorings and preservatives. Read juice labels carefully, and chose organic juices with no added sugar. And drink them in moderation. Try diluting your juice with water, so you’re consuming less sugar. Or skip the juice completely and eat a piece of fruit, which offers more nutrition than the juice.

6. Energy Drink

We all need a little pick-me-up from time to time and energy drinks promise just that. But energy drinks affect your system more than you need them to. They can have as much as 240 mg of caffeine per serving — and some products have two servings per container. Remember that an 8 oz cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine. You might be getting almost five times that by drinking an energy drink!

A study conducted by Consumer Reports revealed that 11 out of 27 of the more popular energy drink brands didn’t disclose how much caffeine their product contained. Out of the 16 that did, five had almost 20% more caffeine than was reported. Many of these drinks contain alternate botanical sources of caffeine such as guarana that could make it difficult to quantify the amount of caffeine consistently.

It’s okay – and maybe even good – for most people to have a moderate amount of caffeine, but these products go beyond beneficial amounts. If you’re tired often, look closely at why. There could be an underlying health problem. If you have anxiety, arrhythmia, high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome, avoid caffeine completely.

Erin Sparrold

Erin Sparrold is passionate about nutrition, health, and wellness. She has over 20 years of experience helping people live healthier lives through nutrition and fitness. She believes that healthy eating and regular exercise are the foundation for a healthy life. She loves to see people empowered with knowledge and skills to help them improve their health.

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