Choosing a healthy and refreshing beverage from the dizzying array of waters, sports drinks, fruit sodas and new age teas can be confusing. If you're looking for the healthiest options, here are some tips.
How To Gain 10 Extra Pounds This Year
- Most soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade and fruit beverages are a combination of water, sugar, colorings, flavoring agents and preservatives. While they may taste great, you may be surprised at how much sugar is added to pre-sweetened beverages.
- Check the nutrition facts label for the amount of sugars listed. Each 4 grams of sugar represents a teaspoon of sugar that has been added to the product. A 12-ounce can of regular soda, lemonade or tea contains 41 - 42 grams of sugars, or the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar! Go for the extra-large beverage size and you may end up with more than just a big drink. A 32-ounce soft drink contains about 25 teaspoons of sugar and 400 calories.
- Drinking (or eating) an extra 100 calories every day translates to an extra 10 pounds of body fat each year.
How To Not Gain 10 Extra Pounds
- Artificially sweetened diet soft drinks or unsweetened iced tea are a better bet if you're watching calories or carbohydrates.
- Healthier still is mineral water, spring water, seltzer water or sparkling water. They're calorie free and don't contain any artificial colors or sweeteners.
- If plain water doesn't excite you, try those with a hint of fruit flavor or fruit essence. They aren't sweet, but give your taste buds a little more to celebrate. You can accomplish the same thing by squeezing a few wedges of lemon, lime or orange into your water bottle for your next hike. If your hike or physical activity lasts longer than 90 minutes, a sports drink can be beneficial. They provide carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes (minerals) that are often lost with excessive sweating.
Inexpensive and Healthy Green Tea
If the most physical activity you have planned is swinging in a hammock, but you still want a great-tasting and healthy summer thirst quencher, brew a batch of your own iced tea. Regular tea bags or green tea bags are rich in antioxidants - natural chemicals that protect cells from damage that leads to cancer and heart disease. Sweeten your homemade tea with a few teaspoons of sugar or a drizzle of honey for added flavor - you're sure to add less than the 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in most pre-sweetened brands.