When people want to change their diet and make healthier choices, the immediate thought goes to what food we should give up or add to our diets. What about drinks though? Water is the most obvious go-to healthy drink and soda is the most obvious drink to avoid. There are so many other options floating around there though. Knowing what's good for your health and what isn't will be immensely helpful in your healthy lifestyle journey.
Flavored waters are so popular with dieters, as many brands promise added vitamins and minerals. Not to mention the taste is more appealing than boring, tasteless tap water. Unfortunately, many flavored waters also contain – you guessed it – high amounts of sugar. Because there are many hidden sugars in other foods as well (like ketchup!) it’s a good idea to keep your sugar consumption as low as possible. Drinks like flavored water, some brands containing from 20 to 30 grams of sugar, drastically limit your sugar consumption for the rest of the day, almost guaranteeing you’ll consume too much, which will possibly turn to fat.
Regular tap water is difficult for many people to switch to drinking. It’s bland compared to even the most subtle flavored water. An easy way to flavor water without packing on the sugar or calories is to put sliced cucumber or lemon in and let it sit. The longer you wait, the more potent the flavor. If vitamins and minerals are your concern that can easily be remedied with a multi-vitamin.
Smoothies have become immensely popular ways to lose weight. There are some brands that have been around for decades while new ones pop up all the time. The one thing they all have in common is that pre-made smoothies generally provide little nutritional value and only act as fillers. They tend to be loaded with calories, sugar, and artificial sugars and flavors. The result is a few hundred empty calories that will likely leave you craving more rather than satisfied.
Luckily there’s an alternative. Instead of for pre-made smoothies, look for a powdered meal replacement shake instead. Avoid controversial ingredients like soy and sucralose. 310 Shake is an excellent option that contains important nutrients and leaves you feeling satisfied. With countless recipes to keep things interesting, this is a diet plan you’ll stick to.
At first thought, iced tea sounds like a healthy option. Definitely better than soda. Herbal tea is low in calories and often used in home remedies to improve health. Green tea in particular is touted as beneficial for weight loss. However, iced tea is different and tends to contain a ton of sugar. Some of the popular brands have around 24 grams of sugar per 8 oz. Almost all of the calories in those drinks come from their sugar content. Your recommended daily amount differs for men and women, but the amount of sugar found in iced tea brings both parties almost to the daily limit1.
As an alternative, make your own iced tea with water and tea bags. To add more flavor, add a little bit of lemon or other fruit juice. You can even add a natural sweetener like stevia, which is a no-calorie, no-sugar, non-controversial alternative to sugar.
All energy drinks come with the promise of adding some pep to your step, but what they don’t advertise is the sky high sugar amount and other controversial ingredients. After all, how else would they have their energetic effect? A typical energy drink can have around 300 calories and nearly 60 grams of sugar. Not to mention the possible levels of caffeine and whatever other ingredients that may up your energy level. When you’re dieting, it’s tempting to reach for one of these drinks to make up for whatever energy you may be lacking, but if you’re really that exhausted, you may want to re-examine the toll that your diet is taking.
For a healthier boost of energy, opt for some caffeinated tea or black coffee. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, opt for the 310 Lemonade, which not only contains caffeine from natural sources, but also helps suppress appetite.
It’s a difficult truth to face, but hot chocolate will fill you up with fat and sugar. Hot drinks, whether it’s hot chocolate or a fancy latte, from any big chain coffee place (or a small one, for that matter), are laden with fat from the milks and creams, and sugar in the syrups and flavors. Not to mention the hundreds of calories – sometimes up to half of your RDA.
The easiest way to enjoy this tasty drink is to know exactly what’s going into it and then limit the ingredients accordingly. The best way to do that? Make it at home. There are low calorie hot chocolate powders available, and mixing with water instead of milk will help too.
This one is pretty self-explanatory and really should surprise no one, but we’ll explain anyway. Milkshakes may be good because they contain milk and therefore a high amount of calcium, but they also contain fat, sugar, calories, and who knows what else. They may even contain artificial flavors and colors. Milkshakes are basically a health problem waiting to happen.
A decent alternative is to use meal replacement shake powder to re-create your ideal milkshake. Use frozen fruit to achieve the flavor that you want, as well as the appropriately flavored shake mix (310 Shake comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry). Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to thicken the shake, but if you’re set on an authentic milkshake experience, opt for a low-calorie ice cream and be sure to double check the ingredients to avoid unhealthy ingredients.
Beer and Mixed Drinks
This is one of the most difficult changes to make when you’re dieting or making a permanent lifestyle change. Beer is a popular drink, but it contains a high amount of calories per serving, and let’s be real, most of us drink more than a recommended serving. Mixed drinks are another beast altogether, as they include numerous ingredients that add up to hundreds of calories, not to mention grams of sugar.
If you’re only on a temporary diet, your best bet is to avoid alcohol completely. It contains empty calories, meaning it provides no nutritional value. Luckily, there are a few different lower calorie options to choose from. Red and white wine have 100 calories per 5 ounces. Scotch and vodka have 104 per 1.5 ounces. Close behind is light beer, which has about 108 calories per 12 ounces2. The thing to consider when choosing a drink is that while a light beer contains more liquid for fewer calories, it also has a much lower alcohol content than vodka or scotch.
Use Your Common Sense
Chances are you can guess what drinks will hinder your progress - you don't really need us to tell you. When in doubt, look at the sugar content, as well as artificial ingredients and of course, calories. For a helpful guide, take a look at our guide to swap sugary drinks for healthier options.