Sugary drinks are a big danger to health. Their rise in consumption is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. But sugar is hiding in more than just soda. Lemonade, fruit punch, energy drinks, and even sports drinks all have added sugar that can be detrimental to health.

Sugar’s effect on the body

It’s no secret that consuming too much sugar is bad for your health. It’s a bunch of calories without other nutrients and can lead to obesity or contribute to diseases like diabetes. It can even cause chronic inflammation in the body.

But sugary drinks have another draw back that sugary solids don’t necessarily have. Studies show people consuming sugary beverages don’t feel as full as those who consume the same amount in solid form. This means those that drink more sugar are likely to eat more food later because they still feel hungry.

Hidden sugar and how to avoid it

Soft drinks include more than just soda pop and energy drinks. In fact, added sugar is hiding in things many consider healthy beverages.

  • Sports drinks
    • Sugar in these drinks are for re-energizing athletes after serious exercise. Even if you’re working out 3-5 times per week, water is still a better drink for hydration.
  • Flavored coconut water
    • Coconut water is great because it is packed with electrolytes and can be a great way to hydrate after sweating a lot. Just skip the flavored varieties as they can add more than 30 grams of sugar.
  • Sweetened non-dairy milks
    • While almond and soy milks may be a good option to replace dairy make sure to watch out for added sugars. A glass of chocolate plant-based milk can have the same amount of sugar as a chocolate bar. Even some types labeled “original” or “plain” can have extra sugar.
  • Flavored “nutritional” waters
    • Just because a sugar water has vitamins in it, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many of these pack over 30 grams of sugar into their drinks. Try making your own infused water by adding some sliced lemons, cucumbers, or mint to a pitcher of water.
  • Fancy coffee drinks
    • Lattes, frappuccinos, and even adding creamer to regular coffee can really pack loads of sugar into your diet. Nearly 1/3 of these drinks are made up of the sweet stuff. Try staying close to black coffee for the potential health benefits of caffeine.
  • Sweet tea
    • It almost goes without saying but sweet tea can have as much sugar as soda. Start with unsweetened tea and add 1 teaspoon or packet of sugar yourself. That’s about 8 times lower than most popular brands of sweet tea.

This list can’t contain all the added sugar drinks out there, so remember to check the label on all your drinks.

Fruit juice?

Fruit is a healthy choice to help curb sugar cravings, so fruit juice is healthy too right? Well, even 100% fruit juice still has its issues. Turning a fruit into a liquid removes a lot of the components. Mostly fiber. This means the sugar in fruit becomes concentrated in juice form.

A small, 8 ounce cup of apple juice has between 3 and 6 apples. You can drink a cup of apple juice a lot faster than you can eat 6 apples. This can spike your blood sugar and you lose out on the healthy fiber.

Better options

Before reaching for diet sodas or artificial sweeteners, some research suggests that they may also contribute to weight gain. Just like sugary drinks, the taste of sweet things can stimulate hunger and cause you to eat more.

Water is always going to be the better option to sugary or artificially sweetened drinks. But many of us don’t like this bland option. Plain tea or coffee can be a good warm alternative and infusing your own water with slices of fruits and vegetables is an excellent cold option.

Whether it’s a question about a different drink options or contents of another drink, we’re always here to answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us or follow us on Facebook for more topics.