As summer approaches, we usually start thinking about improving our diet in order to lose those love handles and look better in bikinis when the time comes. We usually make some changes in out nutrition, but we sometimes forget that drinks also carry calories and ingredients that can be the opposite of beneficial in achieving our goals. Furthermore, we also forget that many of these drinks, besides being fattening due to their sugar contents, are not healthy at all, and we should renounce them (or at least limit our consumption) in order to stay healthy for as long as possible. So here are some of the drinks you should keep out of your shopping cart and your fridge:
1. Processed fruit juice.
No juice (unless the one you make on your own by squeezing fruit) is 100% fruit or healthy. First, these allegedly fresh juices are actually packed with artificial flavors and conservatives. Many of those juices are made from concentrates that are mostly imported from China, and the reports of toxicological analyses show that these concentrates may be spoilt by arsenic, a carcinogenic metal substance. The additives contained in these boxed ‘healthy, fresh’ juices can be very damaging to your body, and the amount of sugar added doesn’t help.
2. Any artificially sweetened drinks.
In this category we have cocktails, ice coffee, juices, and that’s just a start. You think just because they contain less sugar (or no sugar) that they are healthy? True, because of the lower levels of sugar they do contain fewer calories, which – you might think – could be beneficial for losing or maintaining your desired weight. However, these drinks can do quite the opposite and make you gain weight. Besides that, they can also cause your body to dehydrate, flush important minerals out of your body, cause caffeine addiction and in many cases even diabetes. As if all this wasn’t enough, these drinks can also cause damage to the heart and veins.
The chemicals contained in these drinks can negatively affect the nervous and other bodily systems, including the immune system.
3. Artificially sweetened carbonated drinks.
What makes these drinks so bad for us? First, diet soft drinks usually have a pH level that causes teeth to become corrosive and fall apart. Yes, it can be that scary.
These drinks contain many toxic ingredients that are, alone, very harmful to our bodies, but besides that there are these artificial sweeteners (of which the most commonly used is aspartame) that have been proven to be bad for you if taken in higher doses.
According to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, “the risk of diabetes is higher with ‘light’ beverages compared with ‘regular’ sweetened drinks”. The evidence is drawn from a long term study that involved more than 66 thousand French women who were examined for more than 14 years. The results showed that those who drank light sodas were at a greater risk of diabetes than those who drank regular sodas (a 15% higher risk if the amount is 500ml and 59% if they drank 1.5 liters weekly).
4. Sports drinks.
With the rise in popularity of sports, these drinks have also started becoming extremely popular, not just among athletes but even those who are mildly active. Sports drinks have become the center of attention in the media, and their popularity rose as they started sponsoring sports events and individual athletes – however these drinks are anything but good for you.
Even more than sodas, sports and energy drinks such as Red Bull and Gatorade, according to the researchers from the Department of Dentistry at the University of Iowa, put the drinkers at an increased risk of having their tooth enamel erode.
These drinks are often acidic because of the citric acid that is put in to make it as flavorful as it is. That is why Dr. Clark Stanford, the Associate Research Dean at the above mentioned university strongly suggests looking at the label of those drinks to see if citric acid has been added, because they have a very negative impact on our teeth, especially on the glossy layer – enamel.
If you still need some additional energy and think about going to the store and buying a Red Bull, think again. You can eat a banana or a high protein meal, combined with some healthy carbohydrates and enjoy the energy and the healthiness.
5. Pasteurized milk.
In the U.S. where pasteurized cow’s milk is (we can freely say) mass-produced, not so many people consume it. This is particularly because most of those who don’t are aware that the only ‘right’ milk is raw milk.
After undergoing pasteurization, the product so boldly called ‘milk’ is actually a poor variant of raw milk that has lost most of its useful enzymes, vitamins, milk proteins and good bacteria which our body needs for proper digestion. This milk can lead to many health problems, including teeth decay, arthritis and other heart problems, and it is suspected that it can even increase the risk of cancer. But, coming to a more serious matter, pasteurized milk can cause growth problems in children, and colitis in newborns. These are only some of the problems pasteurized milk can create.
If you don’t want to drink unpasteurized cow’s milk, you can switch to coconut, nut or seed milk. You can buy these milks in stores, but you can also, without any serious effort, make them on your own in the comfort of your home.
So, what should I drink then?
Water is always the best choice. If you are sick of drinking only water all the time – buy a juicer and make your own fresh juices – that way you will be sure that no additives or other artificial ingredients have been put in. If you are in the mood for a carbonated drink, buy regular carbonated water and mix it with your freshly squeezed juice. There are so many options, and exploring them can make your life not only healthier, but more interesting as well.