We all know soda is just plain bad. However, there are a number of other health-offending beverages that Americans crave, often hiding under the guise of health.
To produce them, manufacturers often take a drink that is healthy in its natural form, such as juice or coffee, and add a whirlwind of processing and refined sugar. Here is our guide to the 4 worst ones:
Plain and simple, juice cocktails do not equal juice. If you check the labels, many are only between 3 and 10 percent juice. The rest of the mix is composed of water, refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and sometimes artificial colors and flavors.
Some juice cocktails also contain other additives, such as cranberry juice drinks. These often contain high levels of oxalate, which has been linked to the development of kidney stones.
Even 100 percent juices are often not what they appear to be. One example is orange juice. As we explored in a previous article, after oranges are squeezed, some manufacturers store the juice in holding tanks, and then remove the oxygen in order to increase its shelf life.
Once the oxygen is re-added, the juice is flavorless, and therefore chemically processed ‘flavor packs’ are added to the mix. These flavor packs are often made by perfume companies, and are not required to be added to ingredient lists, because they are made from a derivative of orange oil.
Whipped Coffee Drinks
While pure, organic coffee offers significant health benefits, the whipped coffee beverages served up by commercial coffee bars are mostly composed of an overload of refined sugar. The average whipped coffee drink contains about 170 grams of sugar, or about three quarters of a cup.
If you order a flavored beverage, such as vanilla or pumpkin, the flavoring usually comes from a highly concentrated syrup, which is pumped into the drink. These syrups are extremely high in sugar, or worse – high fructose corn syrup. They also often contain artificial colorings, some of which have been linked to behavioral problems in children, allergies and certain cancers.
Lemons are a nutrient and antioxidant-packed citrus fruit, and freshly-squeezed, homemade lemonade with a healthy sugar substitute (such as stevia or organic coconut crystals) is a delicious and health-conscious treat. Store-bought lemonades, however, offer little to none of the benefits of lemons.
The juice content is usually only a percent or two, and the rest is refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, as well as artificial colors and flavorings, and preservatives. Even lemonades with no artificial ingredients or preservatives are often highly processed, which destroys much of the nutrition of the lemons.
Frozen Mixed Drinks
Aside from the hard alcohol content, which poses its own risks, frozen mixed drinks are often blended with flavor syrups similar to those used by coffee bars to flavor coffee drinks. These are chock-full of artificial colors and flavors, and either refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. While a glass of wine a day has certain health benefits, these frozen sugar bombs offer nothing positive.
While the absolute best beverage for your body is simple, purified water, nature offers many options to quench your thirst without the added sugar and chemicals. If you enjoy juice, try juicing your own fruits at home, and freezing leftovers, although eating the fruits themselves whole is a much better choice.
Organic coffee has a lot of benefits, especially when blended with a bit of organic coconut oil. If you crave lemonade, squeezing a few lemons at home is not a difficult chore.
Whatever you thirst for, there is always a natural way to go that does not compromise your health.
-The Alternative Daily