HEALTHY EATING

4 “Healthy” Drinks That Aren’t Good For You

silk milk

Just cruise through your local supermarket and you’re bound to be bombarded with a ton of “healthy” drink options with eye-catching labels and enticing claims like More antioxidants! More vitamins! More electrolytes! The list goes on and on. But underneath the label can be a very different story; not every drink is as good for you as you think.

Every day, studies are confirming that some of these drinks may be downright terrible for your health because they contain things like artificial colors, artificial flavorings, and artificial sweeteners. Furthermore, in some of these drinks, the manufacturing process itself may actually strip away vital nutrients. Think that fruit juice is the real deal? Not so much when it’s pasteurized, loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and stripped of its fibers. Plus, manufacturers are smart and labels can be deceiving, so it makes it even harder to detect the good from the bad.

This is why I constantly tell people to go as natural as possible with their beverages and to also primarily rely on good ‘ole H20 for hydration. Simply put: You don’t have to worry about getting unhealthy, artificial stuff when you go as natural as possible. That being said, you should also take a moment to check out this list of other surprisingly unhealthy drinks. You may be shocked to find that your regular “healthy” drink of choice is not really that good for you.

Soy Milk

Many folks view soy milk as a good alternative to dairy milk because it’s lactose free, it’s protein-rich, it’s cholesterol-free, and because it has heart-healthy omega-3s. But that doesn’t mean soy milk is all good news. First off, you’ve got all those popular flavored soy milks that are loaded with empty calories and fattening sugars.  Then there’s a bigger potential problem with soy: pesticides. Within the US, soy is one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crop. In addition, not too long ago soy got a lot of attention because of the possible link to breast cancer through natural plant chemicals called isoflavones. Since isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors, they can have similar effects to estrogen, thus potentially leading to or worsening breast cancer.

Coconut Water

I can totally understand why the world’s gone nuts for coconut water. But the pre-packaged coconut water in your supermarket is often vastly different from fresh coconut water. For one thing, compared to fresh coconut water, packaged coconut water can have up to twice the amount of sugar, and is also lacking in fiber. Also, what makes fresh coconut water so healthy is that it’s loaded with potassium, an electrolyte that’s key for rehydration. But interestingly enough, a study from ConsumerLab.com found that some popular commercial coconut waters didn’t deliver the amount of electrolytes promised on the label.

Low/No Calorie Drinks

The biggest selling-point behind low/no-cal beverages is that they encourage hydration by making water taste like, well, not water. But the ingredients in those beverage additives may make you take pause. Not only are they filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners, they contain many ingredients that make health experts like myself cringe- like aspartame (side effects include headaches, anxiety, heart palpitations), acesulfame potassium (which contains a known carcinogen), and phenylalanine (a protein that’s generally safe, but toxic in high doses and not recommended for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers). And then we have those artificial colorings – like Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Red 40 – that may be linked to cancer and are on the no-no list of the interest group Center for Science in the Public Interest. So yeah, once again it may be a better bet to just skip the flavor packets and add a bit a lemon, a squeeze of fresh orange, or a cucumber slice to your H20.

Diet Soda

Many of us rejoiced when we were introduced to a “healthier” alternative to soda. But turns out, we were duped. The most recent (and disturbing) news? In a recent study that followed 2,500 New Yorkers for 10 years, those who drank diet soda every day were more likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, or even die from a cardiovascular disease. That’s serious stuff. And when those results were adjusted for smoking, weight, exercise, and other dietary factors, the stats were still the same. Another study published in Diabetes Care journal found that diet soda drinkers were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Bottom line: Go as natural as possible with your beverages of choice, and primarily rely on good ‘ole H20 for hydration. Furthermore, learn to read labels and be mindful of artificial additives that could potentially wreak havoc on your body and waistline.

Your thoughts?- Doc