High sugar content is a common problem with many beverages on the market. Sugary beverages are one of the largest contributors to increased caloric intake and the consumption of these beverages can increase one’s risk of obesity and heart disease. Aside from sugar, beverages containing undesirable ingredients or made using undesirable processes are also of concern. Become a savvy sipper by keeping yourself informed and drinking something healthier.
See more: 5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water
1. Decaffeinated Coffee
Alternative: Regular coffee or Natural decaffeinated tea
The decaffeination process of coffee requires the use methylene chloride, a toxic chemical that can leave residue in the bean itself. It’s a proven carcinogenic compound, meaning it increases one’s risk of cancer. While there is a more natural mode of decaffeinating coffee that uses ethyl acetate, this compound can also be harmful if consumed in excess. Bottom line, decaffeinated coffee is not something you want to put into your system.
2. Sports drinks
Alternative: Water or coconut water
In addition to being high in sugar, sports drinks can contain an ingredient called BVO (Brominated Vegetable Oil). BVO is used to create a consistent flavor profile throughout bottled beverages, but side effects include neurological disorders, reduced fertility, and altered thyroid hormones. This ingredient that was taken of the list of ingredients Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA is not only found in sports drinks, but soda as well.
3. Energy Drinks
Alternative: Smoothies or Kombucha
Energy drinks display a similar calorie profile to soda. While it may be argued that energy drinks have added vitamins and nutrients, I argue that one can easily get these nutrients from consuming whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Not to mention these foods will provide other health benefits like antioxidants and fiber.
4. “Juice” Cocktails
Alternative: Fruit spritzer
Generally aimed at children, faux juice beverages are dangerous. They tend to have just as many calories and sugar (particularly high fructose corn syrup) as soda, while hiding behind the healthful fruit or vegetable juice disguise. If you’re not careful, not only can these culprit juices have more of the bad stuff, but less of the good vitamins and antioxidants as well. Avoid the “juice” cocktails and go straight for the 100% juices, in moderation.
5. Whole Milk or Creamer
Alternative: Vanilla almond milk
Yes, it’s true that including some dairy in the form of milk can help build strong bones. However, know the right kind of dairy to include in your diet is important to controlling weight and cholesterol levels. Whole milk and creamer, while rich and delicious, are high in saturated fat (not the kind of fat you’re looking for). Swap out whole milk or creamer for low fat or fat free options.
6. Diet Soda
Alternative: Cane sugar soda (in moderation)
Diet soda has been and will always be up for debate. For now, we’ll leave you with this information: diet soda contains aspartame, a highly suspected carcinogenic compound (remember carcinogenic compounds are those that increase cancer risk). Recent research has also suggested that diet drinkers struggle with the same issues as regular soda drinks, such things as appetite stimulation, weight gain, and increased fat storage. To stay on the safe side, replace soda altogether.
6 Healthier Beverages to Try Instead