“Healthy” Drinks That May Be Bad For You
I get it: water can become boring. And, if you walk into any convenience store today, you’re amazed and excited by the rows and rows of refrigerators, boasting new “healthy” drinks. How many drinks are out there these days? I’m surprised there isn’t a store dedicated entirely to just beverages (non-alcoholic ones: I realize there are liquor stores). Every bottle says something newer and more intriguing, like “boosts energy levels,” “high antioxidants,” “1000 percent of your vitamin C needs” and “Kickstarts metabolism.” Every bottle is prettier and more colorful than the last. It’s hard to differentiate the good from the bad, and everything looks really good. But here are the facts: these “healthy” drinks aren’t that good for you.
Coconut juice is not the same as coconut water. Don’t let the pictures of palm trees and fresh coconuts fool you. Coconut water is very low in sugar and coconut juice is very high in the stuff. Here’s a tip: if the coconut beverage you’re drinking tastes really good, it’s probably coconut juice.
Flavored coconut water
Coconut water can be tricky, too. The pure stuff is good for you, but now there are flavored varieties for people who couldn’t palate the cleaner variety. You find mango and pineapple coconut water. But, check the sugar content on these and you’ll find that they’re basically juice.
Vitamin water can have nearly as much sugar as juice. What’s more is that the vitamins in it aren’t regulated by the FDA, since they are supplements. Plus, all the sugar in there outdoes the good of any real vitamins anyways. You’re better off just taking vitamins.
Sparkling water is fine for most people, but not those with IBS. The carbonation can really irritate the stomach of people with digestive issues. If you have IBS, stay away from carbonated drinks of any kind.
Bottled ice tea
Ice tea can be good for you if you make it yourself, with tea bags, and a giant jug of water at home. But the bottled variety is typically made from tea that has been sprayed with pesticides and is so deeply processed that the benefits of the tea have been removed.
If your drink tastes good and doesn’t have calories, what it does have is all sorts of artificial sweeteners that we can’t quite say are good or bad for you yet. But they’re probably bad.
If you want to make a smoothie at home with plane yogurt and fresh fruit, you could have a really healthy drink on your hands, full of calcium, protein, and fiber. If you buy a yogurt drink in a bottle, you’re probably getting something comparable to liquid ice cream.
Be careful about non-dairy milk alternatives. Rice, almond, and cashew milk are often sweetened because the unsweetened variety just isn’t very good.
Flavored regular milk
Cow milk can be an issue too if you grab the flavored variety like chocolate or strawberry. Maybe this is the only milk you can get your children to drink but it’s also loaded with sugar.
If you make lemonade at home, you can control the amount of sugar you use, and you can keep the ingredients simple. But when you buy it in a bottle, you’re probably getting fructose corn syrup and food coloring. Think about it: no homemade lemonade is that yellow.
The best way to consume fruit juice is to consume the entire fruit—fibers and all. As tasty as fresh squeezed fruit juice is, it’s still just a ton of sugar. Sure, it doesn’t have the added chemicals and sugar of store bought fruit juice, but it’s still not great for you. Just eat the orange, apple, or pineapple.
Flavored water is either zero calories, meaning it’s some glorified diet soda, or has some calories, meaning it has a lot of added sugar, like juice. It’s hard to make water tasty and not do something bad to it.
Milk and dark chocolate can both be good foods for you. But hot cocoa doesn’t usually contain just milk and dark chocolate. It typically has some sort of powdered cocoa that is loaded with chemicals and added sugar. If you want pure hot chocolate, mix pure cocoa powder with your milk at home.
Vegetable juice may not have as much sugar as fruit juice, but it’s still juice. That means the healthy fibers have been removed. You’re always better off eating the entire produce than just having the juice.
Protein, like vitamins, is a supplement and not regulated by the FDA. So there is no knowing how efficient the protein in protein shakes is. Then you have the high amounts of sugar. That could be okay if you were certain you were getting a lot of protein with it, but you aren’t.