Sometimes satisfying your thirst comes at a stiff price, in fact, what you drink matters as much and many times more than what you eat. So many drinks are unhealthy and if you are choosing to live, a healthy life and follow a healthy nutrition plan, then you need to choose drinks that are healthy as well. You should choose water, but you want something more.
There are many drink choices for you to choose from, and some of them are worse than others, in fact, you may be surprised by some of those that made this list of the worst drinks for your health.
Often times the drinks you think are okay or may even love are actually full of sugar, with lots of high fructose corn syrup, and lots of calories. Keep in mind that when it comes to calories it does not matter whether they are from food or something as seemingly harmless as a liquid, they all add to your waistline contributing to obesity and related serious health problems. Worse yet is that these high sugar drinks are typically devoid of any nutritional value, making them even more unhealthy.
Let’s take a look at the most unhealthy drinks and how they are harmful to your health.
22 Worst Drinks For Your Health
Soda includes fruit flavors and colas. Arguably, the absolute worst, most unhealthy drink ever made, soda is a concoction of chemicals and sugar, that’s it. Nothing else. No nutrients, nothing good, and actually all that is bad. For an 8 ounce Can Of Soda there are 150 EMPTY Calories and 39 grams of sugar…
- High fructose corn syrup
- Caramel color
- Phosphoric acid (artificial coloring and chemical preservative)
Better Options: Club soda, Natural Sparkling Water
Think diet soda is okay? Think again.
There are the artificial colors that may cause cancer, flame-retardants, lots of nasty chemicals and fake sugars that actually contribute to weight gain.
While the artificial sweetener, aspartame that is often found in diet soda is supposed to be a sugar substitute that supports weight loss, it may have the exact opposite effect.
Your body is intuitive, and so when your body takes in artificial sweeteners it recognizes it as something sweet being ingested, which makes it anticipate calories be drank, but since there are no calories in diet sodas the body reacts in confusion by stimulating the release of hunger hormones causing cravings for high-carb disasters, such as cookies, chips and other unhealthy junk food.
Better Option: Club soda, Natural Sparkling Water
Energy Drinks and Shots
When you turn over an energy drink, the nutrition label is absent and replaced with a supplement facts panel. These two labels look very similar, and to consumers, there may seem like there is no difference at all. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
U.S. News recognizes that while nutrition labels are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the supplement industry does not have to follow the same regulation. They have little oversight as to what they must disclose about their products. Many energy drinks don’t actually disclose the variety of stimulants that go into the product and will often list them as a “proprietary blend.”
This means that it is possible you could be drinking dangerous amounts of stimulants, or even stimulants that interact with your current medications and not even know it.
These drinks contain, among other ingredients, lots of caffeine, guarana, ginseng, taurine, ginkgo biloba, glucuronolactone, and sugar.
The Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration reports that emergency room visits connected to energy drinks doubled in numbers from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011.
Adverse Effects Related To Energy Drinks:
- Individuals may experience symptoms that include abnormal heart rhythms or other cardiac problems after consuming only two energy beverages according to a study done by the American Heart Association. The amount of caffeine in most energy drinks can cause heart problems like atrial fibrillation and increased blood pressure. There are warnings on most energy drinks not to consume more than one energy drink a day, and those warnings stem from the increased number of cardiac cases seen due to the consumption of energy drinks. According to Medicaldaily.com when people consume energy drinks in excess physicians who see unexplained altered cardiac patterns should look to energy drinks as the source of the problem.
- One sad and very unfortunate effect of the increased use of energy drink consumption is the higher rates of late miscarriages, stillbirths, and low birth-weight babies.
- Energy drinks can change the awareness of fatigue and pain, which means that a person might try to push themselves past their natural healthy limits.
- Marked hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels in the blood serum)
- An increased risk of arterial hypertension and type 2 diabetes in adults, which reduces Insulin sensitivity
- Extreme amounts of caffeine can have real negative effects on the neurological and cardiovascular systems in teens and kids, which can cause physical dependence and addiction.
- Tachycardia, agitation, irritability, nervousness, and insomnia are seen with high doses of caffeine. Caffeine toxicity can be compared to a lot of the symptoms that go along with amphetamine poisoning, which can include cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and psychosis.
The World Health Organization reports plenty of research that shows drinking energy drinks, with high-risk behavior, such as combining them with alcohol, is dangerous. One study of US College students discovered that the combination of alcohol and energy drinks resulted in a higher probability of adverse reactions as compared to drinking alcohol only.
Better Option: Natural caffeine sources, coffee, green tea, and black tea.
Sports drinks are used to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise or sporting activities, but the problem is most come with unhealthy ingredients: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of sodium. 8 Ounce Serving Contains:
- 35 grams of sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup listed as a top ingredient
- 270mg of sodium
Better Option: Natural Electrolytes Blends, Bai Drinks
Electrolytes balance bodily fluids and hydrate the body to greatly boost energy and you can skip the high sugar sports drinks with these naturally low sugar electrolyte boosters.
Natural Electrolyte Nutrients
Natural Electrolyte Foods
- All plant foods but especially red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables – high in potassium and magnesium
- Bell peppers
- Green leafy vegetables are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium – kale, chard and spinach
- Bananas – high in potassium
- Natural sodium foods – celery, beets, bok choy and bell peppers
- Sunflower and sesame seeds – high in calcium and magnesium
Drink It- Any of these ingredients can be blended into smoothies or juices. Add a teaspoon of salt to water to make a quick natural electrolyte boosting drink.
Frappuccinos And Other Coffee Drinks
Coffee has positive health benefits, but add to it lots of sugar, syrups, drizzles, whipped cream and artificial flavors and you turn a very good drink with positive health benefits, into something very bad.
Mochaccinos, Frappuccinos, and other coffee drinks often have as many as 1000 calories per serving; that offset all the great benefits, that coffee has to offer.
Bottled coffee drinks sold in many supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide are filled with sugar and fat from cream and milk and of course preservatives. It is quite obvious something has to keep them fresh since they sit on store aisles without requiring refrigeration.
Better Option: Drink your coffee black, or add ultra-filtered milk or a dash of fresh cream, and during the hot summer months try pouring it over ice for a healthy and refreshing coffee treat. Or just try a good cup of Bullet Proof Coffee
Bottled Nutrition Shakes
Many bottled nutrition shakes are not as healthy as they are marketed to be. They also include plenty of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and even hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Always read the labels, and check the list of ingredients.
Better Option: Get a high-quality casein or whey protein powder and make your own protein shakes.
Fruit Juice Drinks
Fruit juice drinks are disasters, filled with sugar, and some have high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors.
Better Option: Juice your own fruits and vegetables, when you can control the ingredients you control your health.
Bottled smoothies certainly are more convenient than making your own, but many are filled with lots of extra sugar, and plenty of calories. By using a sweetener such as the sugar form of fruit puree, manufacturers of these drinks get away with the “no sugar added” label misleading consumers into thinking they are getting a low sugar drink, when in fact that puree adds lots of sugar and extra calories.
Some smoothie products that do not require refrigeration also contain artificial ingredients and preservatives to extend their shelf life.
Better Option: Make your own smoothies, so you get lots of nutrients and none of the bad.
Vitamin Infused Water
A product that is infused with vitamins must be a healthy beverage, right? Think again, as those vitamins come at a high price in the form of tons of needless sugar and other junk that you don’t need. 33 grams of sugar on average per bottle! That is only 3 grams less than soda!
Better Option: Take a multivitamin instead or simply eat more vegetables and other plant foods to get your vitamins.
Bottled Ice Tea
Bottled ice tea is another high sugar disaster, and some products have high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. Consider the fact that fresh tea spoils without refrigeration, so how many chemicals are keeping those products fresh on the shelves?
Better Option: Brew your own tea at home or buy all natural UNSWEETENED fresh brew tea products stored in the refrigerated aisles of the supermarket but be sure to check the list of ingredients. Try some healthy Detox Tea.
11. Flavored Milk
Love the strawberry, banana, and other flavored milk products? Think again!
Sweetened milk are really bad drink choices as they contain artificial additives and are loaded with sugar. They are also lower in protein than other milk products.
The sugar in flavored milk is not the naturally occurring lactose found in regular milk but is granulated white sugar added during the production process.
These sugar filled disasters are often given to kids, sometimes to get them to drink milk, a really bad idea since they are filled with so much refined sugar.
Better option: Mash fresh strawberries at home and mix them into milk or make milk and berry smoothies.
12. Sweetened Nut Milk
Sweetened nut milk is loaded with unnecessary added sugar and therefore empty calories that contribute to weight gain. Always choose unsweetened nut milk. Nut milk is also lower in protein than animal or soymilk. Almond milk, for example, is only 2% real almonds, so they lack the vitamins, minerals and have less protein than eating nuts in their raw form.
Better option: Choose unsweetened nut milk or eat whole raw nuts
13. Regular Milk
Grain fed cow milk has more sugar, and less protein than grass fed cow milk. Grass fed milk is also higher in omega-3 fatty acids (heart health), and conjugated linoleic acid (improved immune system health, healthy bone mass, and reduced body fat). Oh, and if you ever taste organic grass-fed milk, you will never go back to the traditional stuff.
Better option: Ultra-filtered organic milk has only 5 grams of sugar (50% or less than regular milk) and double the protein of regular milk.
Your holiday tradition is loaded with fat, sugar, and cholesterol. 8 ounce serving contains
- 223 calories
- 11 grams of fat (7 grams saturated fat)
- 150 mg cholesterol
- 137mg sodium
- 20 grams of sugar
Is there anything more that needs to be said?
15. Ice Cream Milkshakes
Who doesn’t love a thick and creamy ice cream milkshake? But before you head to your favorite ice cream shop, think again.
Here is a glimpse into what is inside a 100 gram Oreo Milkshake from a famous eatery:
- 830 Calories
- 52 grams of fat (29 grams is saturated fat)
- 245 mg cholesterol
- 310mg sodium
- 100 grams of sugar
And this is just one example, some others are far worse having 150 grams or more of sugar and double the calories.
Better option: Make your own cold smoothies using ice, nonfat Greek yogurt, and fruit. Or blend sugar-free nonfat frozen yogurt, filtered milk, and fresh berries or dark chocolate (60% cacao) for a healthier version of the milkshake.
16. Instant Hot Cocoa
Instant cocoa is another dismal disaster that turns a great thing bad. High-quality cacao contains key antioxidants that promote good health and prevent premature aging, but instant cocoa drinks add tons of sugar that make them very unhealthy.
Better option: Make your hot chocolate using high-quality cocoa powder and keep the sugar to a minimal.
17. Coffee Creamers
Here is a perfect example of the disastrous results that occur when food is made in a factory.
- Some brands of coffee creamers contain titanium dioxide (also used in sunblock), a UV radiation blocker used as a whitening agent that in studies with mice caused tissue and liver damage and has been implicated in various ill health effects in humans
- Contain trans fats (hydrogenated oil) a real heart killer
- Flavored creamers (hazelnut) are loaded with unnecessary added sugars
- Numerous creamer brands contain a form of butane called TBHQ
Better option: Organic Grass-fed milk, cream, or half and half
18. Packaged Coconut Water
Most of the coconut water products marketing today often contain lots more sugar (as much as two times) than you need or that you should ingest especially as compared to natural coconut water. Another point here is that packaged coconut water products include much less fiber than the real thing. One of the primary benefits of coconut water is potassium content, a natural electrolyte that helps hydrate your body. A study conducted by Consumer Lab discovered that two of the most popular brands of coconut water actually did not contain the amount of potassium electrolytes as were listed on their labels.
Better option: to re-hydrate after a workout, eat a banana and drink some fresh filtered water, eat some red, orange, or yellow fruits or vegetables, all of which are naturally high in potassium and magnesium (natural electrolyte) or make them into a fresh smoothie.
19. Sugary And High Fat Cocktails
Next time you’re at your favorite bar, consider this:
- Pina Coladas contain coconut cream, a high-fat disaster that yields 792 calories and 83 grams of fat per serving, 74 grams of that fat is saturated fat (too much is a detriment to the heart). What’s worse is that low-quality coconut oils are processed using a process that leaves behind chemical residues and often includes hydrogenated oil (trans fat, a heart killer). Typically one Piña Colada will have more than 650 calories, lots of sugar and fat and zero nutrients.
- Long Island ice tea has as many as 400 calories or more.
- Flavored martinis have more than 450 calories
- White Russians, which are made with Kahlua, vodka and heavy cream or milk have more than 750 calories and 23 grams of fat per drink
- The mudslide, a mix of Kahlua, vodka, Bailey’s liquor and cream or ice cream is another extremely high-fat mess that yields at least 850 calories and more than 20 grams of fat per cocktail.
- Fruity margaritas include pre-made mixers that are high in sugar and often contain high fructose corn syrup
- While numbers do vary, the average bottle of beer has at least 150 calories, of course depending on the style you prefer. And who has just one in a night? After 4 beers, that’s as many as 600 empty calories.
In general, the fanciest cocktails are usually the highest in calories and sugar.
Better option: hard liquor such as scotch, tequila, or vodka with club soda, water or fresh lemon, lime juice or Triple Sec. Red or white wine, Bloody Mary with fresh tomato juice and light beer are also better choices.
20. Slushies and Icees
Slushies and Icees can be full of sugar, chemical flavorings and colors, and loaded with calories.
And even worse, many fast food places and convenience stores do not clean the machines that produce these drinks as often as they should (if ever) and so your drink may wind up being filled with mold.
Better option: make frozen fruit pops at home, freeze any fruit you like and enjoy!
21. Frozen And Premixed Cocktails
Frozen and premixed packaged cocktails are loaded with empty calories (on average 280 or more per drink, some have more than a donut)and include sugar, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup!
Better option: Add muddled strawberries and fresh lemon slices as your mixer or simply opt for club soda added to your favorite hard liquor with fresh limes or lemon.
22. Ginger Beer
Ginger beer is one of the unhealthiest beers on the market with more calories than your average soda at 170 calories for each 7-ounce serving.
Better option: light beer
Avoid The Market Shelves
There’s more bad news. Consider for a moment that most fresh whole foods require refrigeration or they spoil. This goes for dairy, produce, meats, and drinks.
So, what do you think is keeping all those drinks found on the shelves in your local market? Plenty of chemicals, most of which you can’t even pronounce. Not something, you really want to put into your body.
Check The Nutrition Labels
Be sure to read the nutritional labels of any drinks you are choosing as you can quickly determine their sugar content, calorie counts, and nutritional value.
Also, look at the list of ingredients and be on alert for:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Trans fats (hydrogenated oil)
- Chemicals, additives and preservatives
Final Thoughts on Drinks and Their Benefits
Does any of the above surprise you about many of these beverages marketed to the public today?
Perhaps they do, especially since some are advertised and marketed with kids and teens in mind.
What you drink matters as much as what you eat, and it’s really up to the consumer to take the time to read labels, investigate ingredients and nutritional data to make the best choices for the good health of you and your family.
Drink well and take care of you!