Drinking is necessary for the function of almost every organ in your body, but of course, a rum and Coke is not exactly the same as chugging a bottle of water. We know that all drinks are not created equal, but there are some that are worse for you than you know, packing in sugar, fat and empty calories.
Whether you are browsing the menu at a fast food restaurant, choosing a cocktail at the bar or stocking up at the supermarket, here are the top three worst drinks for your health – and what you should grab instead!
You probably know that soda is bad for you. This sugar-laden beverage has been linked to obesity and other health problems in the U.S., yet diet sodas are favorites of dieters all over. What’s wrong with diet soda? Well, it may be 100 percent calorie-free, but it’s also 100 percent free of any nutritional value. That means when you are downing a Diet Coke, you’re missing out on the vitamins and minerals you could be getting from other, healthier beverages like juice or milk.
Of course, at the bar, it’s hard to make a healthy choice. Diet sodas are one of the better options there, but instead of soda in your mixed drinks, try plain seltzer water or stick with a light beer.
Juice is a double-edged sword and CAN be healthy, but mostly it’s not. The truth is, juice contains a lot of calories for not a whole lot of nutritional value. You can drink a cup and consume about 200 calories, but you probably won’t feel full and you’ll need to have another snack (read: more calories). Plus, many juices are packed with sugar, taking the nutritional value down a notch.
If you want to drink juice, always look for those that are 100 percent fruit (or vegetable!). Fruits have enough natural sugar to make this beverage super sweet. To cut back on calories, consider diluting it with seltzer water for a refreshing spritzer.
When indulging in juice, make sure you pay attention to how much sugar you’re ingesting (even if it is natural), and enjoy the vitamins you can gain from it.
Many fast food restaurants are offering fruit smoothies now, and of course who could pass up a frozen latte from Starbucks on a hot day? These drinks may be delicious and refreshing, but they pack a punch – in calories, that is.
Those “fruit” smoothies you can get from fast food chains probably do have fruit in them, but it’s most likely from concentrate and supplemented with plenty of sugary syrup. A store-bought smoothie like this can pack as many as 700 calories – with little to no protein to keep you full! Making your own smoothies at home will ensure you add only the most healthful ingredients.
You can indulge in a “Frappuccino” or other whipped coffee drink if you want, but you should consider these beverages a form of dessert. They are usually made with 2% milk and plenty of sugar, totaling around 800 calories from sugar and fat. You can make these healthier with half the flavored syrup or by skipping the whipped cream, but you’re better off choosing a plain old iced coffee. Add some cinnamon for a special kick of flavor!