Lots of people pay attention to what they eat, but most people overlook what they drink. Sweetened coffee, sports drinks, vitamin waters, and fruit juice are just as common as sodas these days. Tea comes presweetened; so do yogurt drinks. Some people rely on energy drinks as breakfast. But while most people acknowledge that sugary sodas cause obesity, diabetes, and a host of other health problems, non-soda drinks often get a free pass…despite the fact that juice and energy drinks often contain just as much (or more) sugar as soda does! Let’s take a look at what we’re drinking and how we can make our beverages more refreshing and a lot more healthy.
Minute Maid original lemonade (8 ounces): 28 grams of sugar
To make your own lemonade, squeeze fresh lemon wedges into water and stir in a drop of liquid stevia. Or squeeze out most of the sour juice before adding the lemon peels to the water—they’ll provide a natural sweetness, and without the lemon juice, that sweetness and citrus flavor shines through.
Classic Coke (8 ounces): 24 grams of sugar
Make your own cola by adding a dash of vanilla and a splash of maple syrup to plain sparkling water. Or try kombucha—it’s the antidote to soda. (Kombucha is a naturally fermented, fizzy drink that’s also probiotic. Win-win-win!)
Caffe Vanilla Frappucino Blended coffee from Starbucks (8 ounces): 24 grams of sugar
Make your own coffee from light-roasted beans—they’ll be less bitter than dark-roasted beans. Cold-brewed coffee from light-roasted beans is the most naturally sweet of all. Stir in some cream or whole coconut milk for a creamy sweetness; if you like, add flavor with vanilla, hazelnut, or chocolate extract. Note that brewing coffee cold rather than hot increases its caffeine content, and since caffeine is sensitive to heat, light-roasted beans contain more caffeine than dark-roasted beans do.
Red Bull (8 ounces): 24 grams of sugar
Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and eat well. You’ll have plenty of energy.
Apple juice (8 ounces): 24 grams of sugar
Eat the apple, don’t drink the juice. This applies to juices in general. The whole, unprocessed fruit offers many more nutrients than the juice does (fiber, fresher vitamins, no fillers, no added sugars).
Trader Joe’s low-fat blueberry kefir (8 ounces): 24 grams of sugar
Make your own kefir drink by blending plain whole-milk yogurt with your choice of fruit (in this case, blueberries). If you want it sweeter, add a small spoonful of honey or maple syrup.
Bolthouse banana & strawberry smoothie (8 ounces): 22 grams of sugar
Blend fresh bananas and strawberries (or thawed frozen berries) with whole milk/coconut milk.
Snapple peach iced tea (8 ounces): 17 grams of sugar
Brew your own tea and add ice cubes to it. For peach tea, add a few slices of fresh peaches.
Gatorade original orange (8 ounces): 16 grams of sugar
Water is the most refreshing thing you can drink after exercising. For extra oomph, try kombucha.
“Defense” Vitamin water (8 ounces): 13 grams of sugar
Eating foods based on whole, unprocessed ingredients will give you plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, you name it!
G.T.’s Cosmic Cranberry kombucha (8 ounces): 2 grams of sugar
Help yourself! Kombucha is made with a wide variety of flavors. Check the sugar content—it varies by flavor.
Water (8 ounces): 0 grams of sugar
Whether you gussy it up with citrus wedges or drink it straight, water is wonderful.