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4 Unhealthy Beverages

Whether you are watching your weight or just want to eat healthier, taking a look at what you drink is key. Empty calories can lurk in all types of beverages - especially these: 

  1. Coffee drinks with full-fat dairy, artificial flavorings, and extras such as chocolate sprinkles. These can pack as many calories as a meal. A better option is a plain coffee with soy milk or, better yet, antioxidant-rich green tea.
  2. Sugary cocktails. Whether it’s a margarita or a pina colada, these drinks pack a double dose of calories due to alcohol and sugar - some can top 800 calories in one drink.  Better options are a glass of red wine (60-100 calories) or a light beer (about 100 calories).
  3. Non-juice "juice drinks." Before buying juice, read the label and make sure it is 100 percent juice (not just “made with” real juice) and check for sweeteners and calories. Many of these products are no better than drinking sugar water. Even 100 percent juice can spike blood sugar and promote weight gain, so mix it with plain or sparkling water, or green tea, to lower the glycemic load.
  4. Soda. There just isn’t anything nutritious about soda, whether it’s diet or regular. If you’re a soda addict, break the habit by eliminating soda as a treat, and stop reaching for it automatically with a meal or as a thirst quencher.

Tomorrow’s post covers four drinks that you should be reaching for!

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Reader Comments (22)

Good advice. Water is the best choice and herbal infusions are excellent.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamara

Doctor Doctor!!! I am a HUGE fan and think the world of you - BUT.... Light Beer???????!!!!!
That's an industrial pseudo product, an abomination and has no place in a thoughtful healthy diet.
Have a glass of delicious REAL craft beer and enjoy it in moderation. There are many excellent low alcohol (and not highly caloric) choices out there that deliver much more satisfaction. Many dark beers deliver much of the same heath benefits of red wine, often with less alcohol. Light beers are insipid and deliver not taste - only the alcohol. Please reconsider this recommendation. I agree with 98% of your teachings overall, but this one is really no bueno.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Pierce

And for kids?
Do you recommend milk or just water or cutting juice with water?

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTMum

Although your advice changed my life and me many years ago, there is one think that I totally disagree with you about. Soy milk should be avoided at all costs and there is a good post in your blog that explains why, so I only need to mention here that it has serious, ecological, ethical and health consequences. Fermented soy is fine, unfermented is definitely not. You state "Remember, for centuries Asians have been eating lots of soy foods, and the supposed terrible consequences of soy consumption haven't materialized among them." but you need to bear in mind, that no Asian is likely to have consumed unfermented soy, it has never been a part of their diet.

Blog reference here

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatrin

Black tea? Better than soda but not as good as green?

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

For me a better option is a plain coffee with almond milk .

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGenna

I realize that soda in its traditional form and its diet form are a no-go when it comes to healthy drink selections. That said, let me suggest a "soda" that is natural and very low calorie: Zevia. It is a brand of 100% natural sodas in many flavors.

My favorite Zevia flavor is orange. It is sweetened with stevia with ZERO CALORIES. The best part: It is flavorful and does not raise blood sugar!!!!

Please know that I am not affiliated with the company and I receive no compensation for recommending this product. I am simply a satisfied customer :-)

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Coughlin

I know green tea is really good for you. Which kind is the best?

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSPhillips

Mojito is my alcoholic beverage of choice. Non alcoholic is green tea. Have avoided artificial sweenteners since the mid 80's. Don't like stevia as it is too sweet for my tastebuds.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

What are you thoughts on club soda? I find it so much more refreshing than plain water, and 0 calories.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristy Helgie

Club Soda too salty for me.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

What about the little powder packets (like crystal light) that you mix with water??

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkristin

Shame on you for recommending soy. It is a synthetic estrogen, cancer feeds off of it. It is not healthy. Fermented soy in very small doses, used like a condiment, is ok, if used infrequently.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJody

What about plain almond milk. I have tried to change from a high acidic diet to a more balanced PH. So far it has not changed my weight.

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne

Powder? How can anyone possibly think powdered drinks can be good for anything?

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKellyCat

@ Catrin. Are you Asian? Because I am. And whole soy, in all forms (fermented and not) is part of "our" daily diet. Did you know, beverage companies that make soy milk for consumption in east Asian countries often add extra soy flavor because we (asians) LIKE soy and know how healthful it is for anyone that can digest it properly (the majority of people).
Including whole soy foods into your diet is beneficial. I hardly think that Dr. Weil is the latest gullible guppy in the "conspiracy of soy".

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

@Niki I am Welsh. I have several close friends who are Japanese and Chinese. They and my Chinese acupuncturist never include soy in their diet unfermented. I have ethical objections too concerning felling of trees to grow it and use of GM soy all because it is a 'cheap' food, as you will know from reading the blog link I posted above.

We must all make our decisions based on the evidence we can find, but I will not feed synthetic oestrogen in bread to the males in my family under any circumstances, nor will I eat soy in any form myself.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatrin

I quit drinking coffee drinks such as lattes and have noticed a serious amount of weight loss and I had bloating go away that I did not know existed. Great post.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Kramer

@ Catrin. Did your Japanese and Chinese friends grow up in their respective countries? If they did, I find it incredibly hard to believe that they never ate unfermented whole soy such "edamame", soy milk, soy nuts and preparations of dishes including the previously mentioned. That is a really silly argument. Same goes with your "ethical objections too concerning felling of trees to grow it and use of GM soy all because it is a 'cheap' food". Do you hunt or raise your own sources of meat and grow all of your fruits and vegetables on your large plot of land? Because if you think about it, and the modern food chain, your argument could apply to the majority of what you likely ingest.
Check out this link to Eat Japan, a Japanese food and recipe website and count how many preparations of soy there are:

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

@Niki All the native sources of my information were born and raised in their native country. One Dr Hu is in his seventies and still lives there. You seem to have a limited knowledge of food production in Europe. I lived until recently in a country where all GM food is prohibited and most is organic. I buy organic meat and vegetables and make my own bread. I eat out occasionally so may sometimes eat food I would not buy to prepare at home. I find some of your comments surprising. I will not compromise my view of deforestation to produce unnecessary cheap food just because some people find it difficult to avoid eating it.

I looked at your link, but it seemed to be a western company not one in Japan. I asked my Japanese friend for verification and she sent me this information
"… unfermented soy foods are hard to digest, although the processing of tofu partially eliminates this problem. …research at Tokyo University of Agriculture, in Japan showed that most of the isoflavones in the diet of middle-aged Japanese women was attributed to tofu, natto, and miso.
Ancient Chinese agricultural documents dating back several thousand years show that in China soybeans were originally planted and cultivated for their nitrogen fixing ability. It was only after the discovery of fermentation, sometime during the Chou Dynasty (1134B.C.-246B.C.), that soybeans became a part of the diet.
Although the ancient Chinese did not understand the problem with unfermented soybeans from a biochemical point of view, they clearly knew that unfermented soy foods were hard to digest, particularly for infants and young children. Modern scientific research has confirmed this …. According to modern studies and information collected by the Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, in Mesa, California, the soybean contains substances called "anti-nutrients" that disrupt the normal digestion and assimilation of protein and minerals. However, these substances are deactivated during the processes of fermentation and germination. Chief among these are trypsin inhibitors and phytic acid. Trypsin inhibitors block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for digestion of protein in the digestive tract. Although individuals differ greatly in their reaction to soy foods, these inhibitors can cause gastric distress, reduce protein digestion, and cause deficiencies in amino acid uptake in some people. "

I'll use my research rather than your advice to make my decisions.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatrin
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