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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.
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.