It’s Not Just Soda: Nutritionists Weigh In on the Worst Drinks for Your Health

Before you load up your shopping cart or place an order at the cafe, restaurant, or bar, be wary of additives and sugar that may be lurking in your favorite beverages.

Fox News Digital reached out to nutritionists about this issue.

Several of them weighed in on drinks to avoid if you’re looking to put your health first.

Read on for important nutrition and health information regarding many popular beverages today.

Energy drinks and pre-workout drinks

Kylie Ivanir, a New York-based registered dietitian who runs her own private practice called Within Nutrition, said pre-workout drinks and energy drinks can lead to “increased blood pressure, stress and compromised sleep” because they contain excess caffeine and stimulants.

“Other side effects of excess stimulants found in pre-workout and energy drinks are headaches and nausea,” he told Fox News Digital.

“Energy and pre-workout drinks also contain artificial sweeteners and flavors, which disrupt gut and brain health. The supplement industry is also notoriously unregulated, leading to contamination with toxins or banned substances that are harmful to our health,” he said.

Instead of pre-workout or energy drinks, Ivanir recommends opting for coffee or matcha tea.

sweet alcoholic cocktails

Ivanir said the combination of alcohol and high fructose syrup, sometimes found in cocktails, is not good for the liver, the organ where those liquids are processed.

“This compromises the liver’s ability to filter toxins and makes it difficult to convert fructose to glucose,” Ivanir explained.

“As a consequence, we can’t detoxify as well and we also end up storing that excess fructose as fat. This can lead to an increase in triglycerides, a harmful blood lipid, and is one cause of fatty liver.”

traditional soft drink

Soft drinks are bad for your health due to added sugar, experts say.

“Instead, I recommend going for seltzer or sparkling water and adding a bit of lime, lemon or orange juice for flavor,” said Amy Gorin, inclusive plant-based registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Master the Media in Stamford. , Connecticut.

Gorin said, in accordance with the US Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, that people age two and older should limit their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of total daily calories consumed.

Traditional soft drinks are full of added sugar.

“For someone on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, for example, this means no more than 200 calories of added sugar, or about 12 teaspoons,” he added.

“A 12-ounce can of cola contains about 10 teaspoons of added sugar.”

Iced tea

Jinan Banna, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at the University of Hawaii, said not only does iced tea contain added sugar, but bottled or commercially prepared teas can have the same amount of sugar as sodas.

“High consumption of sugary drinks like iced tea has been shown to be associated with the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes,” he says, referencing a 2010 meta-analysis on sugary drinks and type 2 diabetes.

Beverages sweetened with agave nectar

Agave syrup is made from the sap of the agave plant, which has gained popularity as a substitute for traditional sweeteners (such as table sugar and honey), according to a chemical analysis and nutritional profile of agave syrup published in the National Library of Medicine.

But be careful with agave-sweetened beverages, as “agave is pretty much high fructose corn syrup with a glorified label,” Ivanir said.

“Agave nectar can contain between 55% and 90% fructose, which is more than the amount of fructose in high fructose corn syrup,” he added.

As Ivanir pointed out, most agave nectar sold in supermarkets contains between 80% and 90% fructose.

“The problem with eating a lot of fructose is that your body has to turn it into glucose in your liver, but if you have too much, it’s stored as fat. Specifically, belly fat,” he said.

“Excess fructose is also pretty bad for the gut. Your gut bacteria don’t like large doses of fructose. For those with a sensitive gut, this can cause bloating, diarrhea, and discomfort. It leads to an increase in LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreases insulin sensitivity.”

If you’re thinking, “Isn’t fruit high in fructose?” consider this: “Some fruits are, but when the fructose is in its natural form and wrapped in fiber, then it’s not harmful. So there is no need to avoid the fruit,” Ivanir explained.

juice ‘cocktail’

Juices mixed with additives are sometimes given the word “cocktail” on the label, experts say.

“This is a key word to watch out for in the grocery store. The word ‘cocktail’ indicates that a juice is mixed with added sugar,” Gorin said.

“Added sugar is unnecessary and adds extra calories to your day. But unsurprisingly, according to the CDC, sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the leading sources of added sugar in the American diet.”

“Buy 100 percent fruit juice instead,” he added.

artificially sweetened beverages

As Ivanir noted, research has shown that artificial sugars like aspartame and sucralose “disrupt the microbiome and harm our gut health,” he said.

“This is detrimental to our overall health, as the gut plays a key role in many of our body systems, such as our immune health, hormone recycling, serotonin production, and nutrient absorption,” Ivanir added. .

“Beverages sweetened with stevia or monk fruit are great alternatives to sugar that are also good for the gut.”

He suggested livening up your drink by adding herbs like mint and basil or fresh fruit to the water.


Apparently consuming frappuccinos just isn’t worth it for your health.

Iced coffees and frappucinos contain added sugar and saturated fat.
Iced coffees and frappuccinos contain added sugar and saturated fat.

“Frappuccinos and other sweet coffee drinks contain what I call ‘sweet fats,’ a combination of sugar [from the syrups and flavors] and saturated fat [from the cream]. While this combination of sugar and fat makes the drink taste deliciously creamy, it leads to excess fat storage due to an increase in the hormone insulin (our fat storage hormone),” Ivanir said.

“These ‘sweet fats’ hijack our brain circuitry, making us want more and more.”

They also increase insulin, leading to insulin resistance and higher lipid levels and ultimately metabolic syndrome, Ivanir added.

frozen lattes

“In some establishments, this drink may contain more sugar than a can of Coke, like the caramel latte found in some stores,” Banna said.

“Sweetened coffee beverages have been identified as a major dietary contributor to added sugar intake,” he added.

He pointed to a report published in the National Library of Medicine titled “Sugary Beverage Consumption Among Adults.”

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