Are you one of the many who continually indulge?
- Do you make that quick stop every morning on your way to work for your favorite Starbucks Frappuccino?
- Do you look forward to that afternoon coffee break when you can relax with a cold brew filled with sugar and cream?
- How about after work when you join friends for a couple of cold beers before heading home?
- Do you have a bottle of wine every night with dinner?
- Do you rely on energy drinks to keep you going throughout the day?
The calories are easy to ignore when you are drinking unhealthy drinks because they taste so good. But those extra calories could be the reason you aren’t losing the pounds you want to lose — and the drinks are damaging your health, putting you at risk for serious problems especially as you get older.
If you are addicted to your favorite drink, what I’m going to say may not make a difference, but I hope you will at least consider the facts. Who knows, maybe your drink isn’t one of the seven
7 Unhealthy Drinks to Avoid
To get your diet and/or your healthy habits back on track, limit your consumption of the following seven types of drinks — or better yet, avoid them altogether.
1. Sweetened Sodas
One 12-ounce regular soda will contain a minimum of 140 calories.
High levels of sugar place stress on the pancreas, potentially leaving it unable to keep up with the body’s need for insulin. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
People drink sodas to quench thirst, but they do just the opposite — they cause dehydration. They also make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, they can cause constipation, and the caramel coloring in sodas has been linked to several cancers including leukemia and vascular/heart issues.
2. Diet Sodas
Even though the negative health effects of diet drinks and artificial sweeteners are controversial, you should be aware of them.
In my opinion, they are as bad (or worse) than regular sodas.
They contain little nutritional value. They are a mixture of carbonated water, artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k, or sucralose), food coloring, added artificial flavor, acids, preservatives, and often caffeine, plus other food additives.
A Harvard Medical School study of 3,318 women, found that diet cola is linked with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline.
“Several observational studies have found that using artificial sweeteners and drinking high amounts of diet soda is associated with an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.”
This one is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and one of the unhealthy drinks that can be so tempting for people trying to control their weight, but should be avoided.
4. Energy Drinks
These may be the worst of the lot!
The popular brands of energy drinks contain high amounts of added sugars and caffeine, which many believe can cause serious delayed heart problems that show up as you age. They also contain questionable ingredients such as taurine, tyrosine, and beta alanine.
They deliver on the promised benefits of increased brain function and helping you function when you’re tired or sleep deprived. However, the health concerns outweigh the benefits.
They are even more dangerous when mixed with alcohol – as Healthline reports:
“The stimulating effects of caffeine in energy drinks can override the depressive effects of alcohol. This can leave you feeling less intoxicated while still experiencing alcohol-related impairments.
This combination can be very troubling. People who ingest energy drinks with alcohol tend to report heavier alcohol consumption. They’re also more likely to drink and drive, and suffer from alcohol-related injuries.”
4. Bottled Fruit Juice
Juice was considered a healthy drink choice for years and still is when freshly prepared. However, packaged fruit juices are not healthy. They are essentially flavored sugar water that lacks the fiber and nutrition associated with real fruit.
They can trigger a blood sugar spike that does not happen with freshly squeezed juices.
If you want a healthy glass of fruit juice, get a juicer or squeeze it by hand.
Alcohol is not diet-friendly. A full-flavored beer or small size glass of wine will contain 140–200 calories.
Bourbon, scotch, vodka, etc. are lower in calories than beer or wine when served over ice. But. as mixed drinks, the calorie count can be significant. If you do choose to drink hard liquor, drink it straight or mixed with seltzer water to minimize calories. But, the best choice is to avoid alcohol completely!
6. Frappuccino’s and Specialty Drinks
These great-tasting drinks seem harmless. They are just coffee with a little flavoring — right? Yes and No. The biggest problem is that the most popular drinks are loaded with caffeine, sugar, and fat. A Frappuccino usually starts at 500 calories and goes up from there.
In other words, you are eating a full-meal calorie count in one drink, which contains practically no nutrients, except the milk. It may satisfy you for a while, but you will probably still eat a full lunch or dinner — adding more calories to your daily total.
It is easy to see how one Frappuccino a day can quickly push your diet into the ditch — and leave you wondering why you are not losing weight. Plus, the excessive amount of sugar and fat create many health risks, e.g., diabetes and heart disease.
7. Coffee Flavorings
Black coffee has minimal calories, but by adding flavored creamers, syrups, or sugar you add calories. The answer is — learn to drink coffee black or with a dollop of heavy cream and Stevia for sweetener to limit the calorie intake. And it is wise to limit your coffee intake to two cups daily.
Helpful Hint: Cold-brewed coffee is generally less bitter. This is one choice that may make it easier to drink your coffee black.
Maybe it’s time to ask if your drink choices are sabotaging your diet. How many extra calories are you “drinking” that may be the culprit that is stalling your effort to lose weight?
And . . . do your drink choices have the potential of harming your health – if not now, what about the long-term?