5 Drinks That Aren’t As Healthy As You Think They Are
If you regularly indulge in the following “healthy” drinks, you might be surprised to learn they’re not as healthy as you think they are.
In most cases, that juice with “fresh” emblazoned on the package is anything but fresh. Once processed, most juices sit in a tank for an extended period (as long as a year!) before being packaged and sold, losing much of their flavour in the process. Additives are then used to restore that lost flavour. And without the flesh and fibre of the actual fruit, juice delivers an unnaturally high concentration of sugar in the form of fructose, which can overload your liver. That’s bad news: not only can this excess sugar can get stored as fat, it can contribute to insulin resistance leading to diabetes. In short, from a nutritional point of view, the juice in your glass is nothing like eating an actual fresh fruit.
The sugar and caffeine in these drinks can wreak havoc on your system, not to mention all the additives and dyes. These drinks can interfere with your sleep, contribute to weight gain, and even worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety for some people. If you find yourself relying on these drinks to stay awake and get through the day, something is out of balance; work on getting to the root of the problem. Either you’re not getting the right quantity and quality of sleep, or you’re not eating the right foods to properly fuel your body.
This one fools a lot of people, who think it’s a good choice because they’re bypassing all the sugar and calories found in regular pop. Think again; the artificial sweeteners in diet pop mess with your metabolism and with neurotransmitters in your brain (if that sounds concerning, it should!) Instead of helping you lose weight, these drinks can wind up interfering with your appetite and cause you to gain weight. The chemically induced sweetness of diet pop also messes with your taste buds, leading you to become desensitized to the more natural flavours of wholesome plant foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Sweetened Almond Milk
Nut milks, like almond milk and cashew milk, are a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to consume dairy milk. But don’t overestimate their nutritional value. Most nut milks are predominantly water; a glass of almond milk isn’t anywhere close to the equivalent of a handful of raw almonds. Also note that sweetened versions are typically sweetened with cane sugar, bumping up the calorie count. The calorie count usually isn’t excessively high for one glass, but if you’re having several glasses on a daily basis, those calories are going to add up.
Premade Fruit Smoothies
Okay, a fruit smoothie MUST be healthy—after all, it’s made with fresh fruit! The thing is, if you’re getting that smoothie premade/bottled or from a fast-food outlet, it likely contains some concentrated fruit puree and may have extra sugar added to it. This can raise the total calorie and sugar content big-time, especially with a large serving size. It’s absolutely true that smoothies can be super healthy, but your best bet is to make them yourself at home, so you control all the ingredients. Keep the calorie count in check by balancing things out with some water/ice, some milk, or some vegetables/greens.
Reminder: you can’t go wrong with plain water, and your body needs it to function at its best.