10 Drinks That Are Just Pretending To Be Healthy

Many drinks that promote themselves as healthy are far from it

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Many calorie counters still choose diet soda which can contribute to obesity.

Staying healthy can be a struggle. We live in a world where declaring something healthy is more of a marketing strategy than an indication of honest good intentions from manufacturers towards consumers. With fad diets coming in and out of vogue and new “superfoods” declared each year, we have to be sure to stay educated about what we are actually consuming instead of riding the wave of what’s “in” now. It is important to learn how to maintain a balanced diet, read labels carefully, and make the best choices for our health and well-being.

10 Drinks That Are Just Pretending To Be Healthy (Slideshow)

The approach to a healthy diet is normally mainly focused on food, but don’t underestimate the power of what we drink. Studies done at Harvard have linked high consumption of sugary drinks to spiking obesity rates in America. Most people know that drinking soda is bad for weight management and overall health, but huge amounts of sugar aren’t confined to sodas alone.

Many drinks that promote themselves as healthy are far from it. Bottled teas, smoothies, and sports drinks often contain nearly as much sugar as regular sodas. And while high levels of sugar are certainly a major aspect of what can make a drink unhealthy, this doesn’t mean we should stop reading nutrition labels there. High levels of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and sodium are just three other health threats that are rampant in so-called healthy drink alternatives. The caloric content is not as high as soda, but you’ll still put yourself at risk things like increased blood pressure, vitamin and mineral leaching, and chronic headaches just to drink something less fattening.

Products that market themselves as healthy may be just as bad for you, but for different reasons than the commonly known ones. The trick is to know what you’re consuming and practice moderation. A basic rule of thumb might be to consider water the cornerstone drink of your diet and other drinks as splurges. It may not be very exciting, but there is no way around it: water is simply the best drink out there for your body. Anything else might only be masquerading as healthy.

Cranberry Juice Cocktail

Registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified personal trainer for the University of Texas at Austin RecSports Joey Gochnour warns that cranberry juice cocktails actually have “very little real juice and are mostly sugar, sometimes having 30 grams per one-cup serving.” So forgo the cocktail in favor of the tart, real juice.

Bottled Ice Tea

These drinks are a healthier option than soda, but only when they are really just iced tea. Bottled varieties often contain very little actual tea. Even if you choose one with low amounts of sugar, it may be filled with preservatives. Be sure to read the labels very carefully.

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3 Comments

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Including 100% Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice Cocktail on this list is just plain wrong. As a registered dietitian working with the Juice Products Association, I think it’s important to point out a few facts. First of all, even in small doses, research shows cranberry juice has beneficial phytonutrients that can prevent urinary tract infection and may even help people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. One hundred percent juice -- whether from concentrate or fresh squeezed -- is also a highly nutritious, healthful beverage that contains the same vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients as whole fruit. Like the fruit it comes from, juice is high in important nutrients like vitamins A, C, folate, potassium and magnesium. And, in appropriate amounts (an 8 ounce serving) 100% fruit juice can and should be a part of a healthy diet. In fact, studies show people who drink 100% fruit juice have better quality diets and eat more whole fruit than non-juice drinkers. They also have higher intakes of dietary fiber and lower intakes of added sugar. In fact, our own USDA Dietary Guidelines recognizes fruit juice as equivalent to whole fruit and notes that each 4-ounce serving of 100 percent fruit juice provides ½ cup (1 serving) of fruit. For more information visit: <a href="http://juicecentral.org" title="http://juicecentral.org">http://juicecentral.org</a>

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Including 100% Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice Cocktail on this list is just plain wrong. As a registered dietitian working with the Juice Products Association, I think it’s important to point out a few facts. First of all, even in small doses, research shows cranberry juice has beneficial phytonutrients that can prevent urinary tract infection and may even help people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. One hundred percent juice -- whether from concentrate or fresh squeezed -- is also a highly nutritious, healthful beverage that contains the same vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients as whole fruit. Like the fruit it comes from, juice is high in important nutrients like vitamins A, C, folate, potassium and magnesium. And, in appropriate amounts (an 8 ounce serving) 100% fruit juice can and should be a part of a healthy diet. In fact, studies show people who drink 100% fruit juice have better quality diets and eat more whole fruit than non-juice drinkers. They also have higher intakes of dietary fiber and lower intakes of added sugar. In fact, our own USDA Dietary Guidelines recognizes fruit juice as equivalent to whole fruit and notes that each 4-ounce serving of 100 percent fruit juice provides ½ cup (1 serving) of fruit. For more information visit: <a href="http://juicecentral.org" title="http://juicecentral.org">http://juicecentral.org</a>

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Let’s put this topic in perspective, beginning with the fact that the non-alcoholic beverage industry has led the way with clear calorie information so that consumers may make informed choices. Also, with respect to obesity, this complex health condition relates to many factors (i.e., genetics, inactivity, overall diet, stress, medicines, and more). Therefore, it is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that sugar-sweetened beverages are a unique contributor to this public health challenge. In fact, USDA data makes clear that fats, oils, and starches comprise the majority of added calories in the average American diet, and that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption plays a relatively minor role. Also, as sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has declined, obesity rates have risen. In other words, when it comes to pointing the finger at these beverages with regard to obesity, the numbers just don’t add up.

The major takeaway: beverages, just like all calories we consume, should be enjoyed in moderation. It’s the overall balance of caloric intake and activity that is key, and beverages help support a healthy, hydrated life.
-American Beverage Association

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