Non-Alcoholic Beverages & Health
Beverages of the non-alcoholic variety include: juices, sodas, milk, tea, coffee and energy drinks to name a few. While these drinks have a variety of health benefits, it is helpful to lookout for the ones that are low in sugar. Sodas and artificially sweetened juices are high in sugar and can pack on the pounds. Plus many beverages contain caffeine, which can have adverse effects as high doses. Many beverages provide great resources of antioxidants, nutrition and vitamins.
2 AnswersRose Reisman, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredSoy milk in the carton has the added calcium that settles to the bottom, meaning that you might be losing between 25% and 79% of the bone-rich mineral. Just remember to shake, shake, shake that container each time to distribute the calcium. No need to worry about regular milk, where the calcium is evenly distributed.
3 AnswersSports drinks are great—for athletes. These beverages, which commonly contain sugar and other sweeteners, delay fatigue and increase endurance. But not everyone with a gym membership needs them, and those who drink them unnecessarily may derail their weight-loss efforts. As a general rule, if you perform endurance exercise, or are in training for a sporting event like a marathon or triathlon, sports drinks can help—they’ll supply your body with the fluids and electrolytes it needs and replenish its supply of glucose. If your workout is relatively easy, however—a 30- to 45-minute walk or jog or a normal strength-training session—you probably don’t need them, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The 150 sweetened calories (or more) they contain will likely cancel out the calories you burn.
2 AnswersMany people wean themselves off regular soda by switching to diet. While you may not like it at first, you’ll get used to it. If it’s strictly the bubbles you’re after, switch to plain or flavored seltzer, club soda, or water. Here are some other tips to help you stop drinking soda:
1. If you currently drink soda, cut back gradually over a two-week period. For example, if you now drink five cans per day, go to four, then three, and so on until you’re off it completely.
2. Experiment with alternatives to soda that aren’t sweetened with sugar and contain 25 calories or less per serving—iced or hot herbal teas, for example.
3. Limit diet sodas to one or two a day. Then switch to seltzer or club soda.
4. Don’t keep soda in the house.
5. Enjoy one serving of regular soda on a special occasion, like at a ball game (as long as you don’t have season tickets).
3 AnswersIntermountain Healthcare answeredStudies link an increase in Americans' intake of sweetened drinks -- especially soda and sports drinks -- with an unhealthy increase in our body weight. Sweet drinks are also linked to:
- Weak bones
- Tooth decay
- Increased desire for sugar (and in some cases, caffeine)
1 AnswerIf you drink one can a day for a year, you consume about 55,000 calories in soda alone. (It takes 3,500 calories to equal one pound of body weight.) That means that one 12-ounce soda a day translates into 16 pounds of extra weight over one year! If you drink one 20-ounce bottle of soda (which contains about 250 calories), you’ll drink up about 91,000 calories, which translates into 26 pounds of extra weight!
1 AnswerI have a hard time telling my patients that it’s okay to drink soda. Yes, it counts toward your daily fluid intake, but it’s a waste of calories. Consider the ingredients in a 20-ounce bottle of cola. You get carbonated water, artificial flavor, caffeine, and about 17 teaspoons of sugar (250 calories). Even a smaller 12-ounce can contains about 150 calories, 10 teaspoons of sugar, and no nutrients at all. Let’s not even get into the calories contained in one 32- or 44-ounce supersized soda.
3 AnswersHere are some possible goals to get you started:
- Cut back to drinking soda pop on the weekends only.
- Bring water bottles to sporting events instead of sport drinks or juice.
- Drink a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk at each meal.
- Order the smallest size soda pop or lemonade when eating out and skip the refills.
- Eat a piece of fruit for breakfast instead of drinking a glass of juice.
- Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge at all times (flavor with fresh lemon, lime, or orange wedges).
- Drink no more juice than the recommended daily limit: 4 to 6 ounces (younger kids); 8 to 12 ounces (older kids and adults).
- Switch from whole milk to low-fat milk.
3 AnswersSoy beverages are made by pressing and then grinding cooked soybeans, and their nutrient content is quite different than cow’s milk. Soy milk is lower in protein and riboflavin, has little vitamin A or D naturally, and contains very little calcium. Some soy beverages are fortified with vitamins A and D and riboflavin, and many are fortified with calcium. If kids are drinking soy milk as a substitute for cow’s milk, check the label to make sure the soy milk is fortified with these important nutrients.
1 AnswerThe main ingredient in sweetened soft drinks is water; they are about 90 percent carbonated water. They provide essentially no key nutrients and are sweetened with either sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, which is a combination of fructose and dextrose (a sugar that comes from corn). Soft drink flavors come from artificial and natural flavors. Acids such as citric acid and phosphoric acid give a tart taste and act as preservatives. Coloring might also be added. Many soft drinks also contain caffeine. While caffeine is not necessarily harmful, it is a stimulant that can affect kids’ alertness and sleep patterns; make them feel anxious, jittery, or dizzy; or cause headaches. Unfortunately, the amount of caffeine is not listed on labels or in the Nutrition Facts, but most caffeine-free soft drinks say so on the label.
3 AnswersDariush Mozaffarian, Cardiology, answeredLiquid sugars, which are found in soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened iced teas, and sweetened waters, have no benefits for health and are clearly linked to higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and perhaps heart disease. Like refined grains and sugars in foods, liquid sugars cause harmful spikes in your blood sugar and insulin, and liquid sugars also cause you to be hungrier and eat more. Natural (beet or cane) sugars have the same effects as high fructose corn syrup (all contain about 50% fructose), and there is no reason to include these in your diet. Skip the sugary drinks and have some unsweetened tea or sparkling water instead.