5 "Healthy" Drinks Examined

Healthy drinks” can be deceitful. A beverage that you might think would make a great addition to your weight-loss eating plan may contain higher amounts of fat and calories then you might think. Here is a closer look at a few so-called “healthy drinks.”

1. Smoothies

Smoothie bars have sprouted up across the country. Don’t be misled by smoothie names that tout fruit, wheat grass  and yogurt. When blended with ice cream, peanut butter, or chocolate syrup, these sugary fat-packed drinks can provide more than half of your daily calorie needs. Most smoothie bars have nutritional information available online to assist dieters in making a waistline-friendly choice.

2. Coffee Drinks

A cup of black coffee has zero calories. Add a little non-fat creamer and Splenda and it’s still a reasonable addition to your daily fare. Drink a regular frozen, blended cappuccino from a popular coffee chain, and it can add 400 calories to your day. Slash the calories down to 100 by ordering the smallest size made with non-fat milk. Better yet, blend your own frozen coffee drink at home with chilled double-strength coffee, ice, and sugar-free syrup.

3. Sports Drinks

Gatorade was invented in the 1960s to rehydrate college football players at the University of Florida. At 50 calories for an 8 ounce serving, it may seem a calorie deal for exercisers of any ability, but all of the calories come from sugar. Regular Gatorade lacks protein and vitamins, making it a poor calorie investment for most dieters. Unless you plan on playing wide receiver for your local university’s football team, halve the calories and double the hydration by mixing one part Gatorade with one part water. Better yet, drink a serving of low-fat chocolate milk after exercise. Chocolate milk has been shown to have an ideal protein and carbohydrate ratio to aid in recovery after a vigorous exercise session. Plus, it has calcium.

4. Fruit and Vegetable Juices

Advertisers would have you believe that a tall glass of fruit juice is an essential part of a healthy breakfast and a bottle of vegetable juice is equivalent to a serving of vegetables. Both of these options can provide vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, but they lack the fiber of real fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a major source of dietary fiber that helps you feel full and reduce the risk of certain cancers. A bowl of fresh fruit or a plate of roasted veggies drizzled with balsamic vinegar will give you more bang for your calorie buck than 8 oz. of apple juice.

5. Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are hawked on television, the Internet, and maybe even at your local gym. Protein can help build muscle and make you feel full, but not all protein shakes are created equal. Some are geared toward bodybuilders looking to put on weight. These shakes can weigh in at upwards of 280 calories a serving.

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