Coffee, tea, water, juice — it feels like every day more studies confirm that you can get your nutrients from the liquids you put in your body. Just recently, black tea was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and coffee, a long-touted health elixir, has even been shown to extend life expectancy. And of course we can't forget to mention the numerous health benefits of plain old water.
But the drink aisle at the supermarket is filled with far more than H20, and health claims screaming from labels aren’t always what they seem. More antioxidants! More polyphenols! More electrolytes! The list goes on and on. But underneath the label can be a very different story; not every drink is as good for you as you think. After all, if 7UP has to take its "antioxidant" product off the shelves for misleading consumers, we’re sure that other drinks are just as dubious.
Hidden in some of these drinks are artificial colors, flavorings, and sweeteners (like aspartame), which many interest groups (like the Center for Science in the Public Interest) warn against in their chemical lists. And in some of these drinks, the mass production simply strips away the nutrients you think you’re getting. Think that fruit juice is the real deal? Not so much when it’s pasteurized and stripped of its fibers and natural fructose. But it’s harder to detect the health pros and cons when labels are deceiving; for example, coconut water boasts its potassium content but studies have shown that many brands don’t actually contain that same amount as what’s on the label.
Even worse, the everyday drinks you pick up at the store may be linked to some more serious health problems than you can imagine. Obviously, obesity and sugar are the most prominent in the discussion; after all, why else would New York City's Mayor Bloomberg have gone after large sugary drinks? But sodas aren’t the only drink stuffing in tons of sugar — your morning OJ may never taste the same once you realize what’s in it.
But the health crisis extends much further than that — infertility problems, heart attacks, cancer, and stroke can all be traced back to the drinks in the supermarket aisle. Click through our list of surprisingly unhealthy drinks, and consider yourself warned.