In recent years, the distinction between a healthy drink and an unhealthy drink has become unclear. This is because there are a growing number of beverages that are advertised as healthy drinks, in fact, most of these drinks are even encouraged for daily consumption. Although you might have some idea on the types of drinks you should avoid on a daily basis, you might be surprised at the beverages you might have perceived as healthy, but in reality, are actually the opposite. These days you take phrases like “all natural”, “low-calorie” or “zero sugar” with a grain of salt. To be on the safe side, you should also be reading the labels to get a better idea of what you are putting into your body. So what types of beverages have you been consuming with the false idea that it is healthy?
Surprisingly Unhealthy Drinks
Almond milk has gained a lot of traction over the years for being a better alternative to cow’s milk. It is noted for being affordable, delicious and extremely versatile. It goes well with smoothies, oatmeal, and more importantly, it is a good substitute for people who are lactose intolerant. As a drink that is derived from delicious, brain-boosting almonds, most are led to believe that the milk is mostly comprised of the nutritional benefits found in almonds, but this can’t be further from the truth. In truth, most brands of almond milk only feature about 2 percent of real almonds. This essentially means that most of the nutrients such as the healthy fat, minerals, vitamins and proteins found in almond are not present in almond milk. What’s more, most brands that sell almond milk typically add sugar to sweeten the drink. This, in turn, overloads your system with sugar and additives that might be more detrimental than beneficial for your health. Instead of picking up chilled almond milk, why not drink a cold glass of water with a handful of almonds? You will not only consume fewer calories but you will also feel more sated. At the same time, you would be getting the full nutritional benefit of the almonds.
Usually, people who enjoy a good can of soda tend to be a fan of zero-calorie drinks and drink mixes as well. The zero-calorie option does look like an attractive one, especially when compared to full-calorie drinks. And the best part? These “zero-calorie” drinks are sold with the idea that will stay skinny if you substitute them with regular sodas. However, nothing is further from the truth, most of these drinks are loaded with preservatives and additives, that are sometimes much higher than their original counterparts. Additionally, some of these drinks contain artificial sweeteners that have been shown to contribute to weight gain. But that’s not all, research has shown that these drinks increase sugar cravings, stimulate the appetite, promote fat storage and weight gain. Interestingly enough, studies have concluded that when you drink something sweet, even when it does not have any calories, your brain is essentially tricked into wanting or craving for more calories. This is because your body isn’t getting enough energy. So in the end, you will be craving for more sweets and foods that are high in fat and salt. If you really need to drink something other than plain water, try squeezing some lemon or lime into sparkling water. Although this might not be as sweet as that can of soda on the back of your mind, at least it doesn’t come with the extra calories, additives and preservatives.
Fruit Juice (Packaged and Freshly Squeezed)
You might be wondering how this ended up on this list, but rest assured, this is no mistake. There is a popular and general assumption that fruit juice is better than most sweetened beverages out there, but contrary to popular belief, most packaged juices contain high amounts of sugar or fructose. Besides increasing insulin resistance in the body, due to the high sugar level, these packaged fruit juices undergo a heat treatment that essentially destroys the crucial nutrients found in most fruits. Additionally, these juices are also filled with additives and are much higher in calories than most sodas in the market. If you are thinking a freshly squeezed fruit juice would be a better alternative, then you are right, to a certain extent. Juicing might seem like a convenient way of getting all your nutrients, but this isn’t true. Most of the fibre is lost during the juicing process. Fibre is essential for keeping you full and for giving you the general feeling of fullness. Although you might be getting more vitamins and minerals compared to packaged fruit juices, you will be consuming more sugar. One of the best ways to counter this would be to simply eat a fruit. This way you get the nutrients without compromising the fibre content in the fruit.
Touted to be infused with beneficial vitamins, vitamin water has risen in popularity over the years. Although it is true that these drinks have vitamins added to them, they also contain a significant amount of preservatives and additives. On top of that, it’s even believed that some brands of vitamin water may have as much sugar as a can of soft drink (the regular kind). These components make vitamin water highly fattening and also increases the risk of many diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease etc. If you want to increase your nutrient intake, consult your doctor to find out which kind of supplements you should be taking. The best and most natural way to get your nutrient fix would be to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.