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 8 Healthy Drinks that Are Actually Terrible for You

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PostSubject: 8 Healthy Drinks that Are Actually Terrible for You   June 4th 2013, 12:05 pm

Coffee, tea, water, juice - it feels like every day more studies confirm
that you can get your nutrients from the liquids you put in your body.
Just recently, black tea was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes,
and coffee, a long-touted health elixir, has even been shown to extend
life expectancy. And of course we can't forget to mention the numerous
health benefits of plain old water.

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But the drink aisle at the supermarket is filled with far more than H20,
and health claims screaming from labels aren't always what they seem.
More antioxidants! More polyphenols! More electrolytes! The list goes on
and on. But underneath the label can be a very different story; not
every drink is as good for you as you think. After all, if 7UP has to
take its "antioxidant" product off the shelves for misleading consumers,
we're sure that other drinks are just as dubious.

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Hidden in some of these drinks are artificial colors, flavorings, and
sweeteners (like aspartame), which many interest groups (like the Center
for Science in the Public Interest) warn against in their chemical
lists. And in some of these drinks, the mass production simply strips
away the nutrients you think you're getting. Think that fruit juice is
the real deal? Not so much when it's pasteurized and stripped of its
fibers and natural fructose. But it's harder to detect the health pros
and cons when labels are deceiving; for example, coconut water boasts
its potassium content but studies have shown that many brands don't
actually contain that same amount as what's on the label.

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Even worse, the everyday drinks you pick up at the store may be linked
to some more serious health problems than you can imagine. Obviously,
obesity and sugar are the most prominent in the discussion; after all,
why else would New York City's Mayor Bloomberg have gone after large
sugary drinks? But sodas aren't the only drink stuffing in tons of sugar
- your morning OJ may never taste the same once you realize what's in

But the health crisis extends much further than that - infertility
problems, heart attacks, cancer, and stroke can all be traced back to
the drinks in the supermarket aisle. Click through our list of
surprisingly unhealthy drinks, and consider yourself warned.

Soy Milk

What makes soy milk a good alternative to dairy milk? Besides being
allergy-friendly for the lactose intolerant, it packs in the protein, is
cholesterol-free, and has heart-healthy omega-3s. But that doesn't mean
soy is all good news. Of course, soy got the most attention when it was
linked to breast and prostate cancer, thanks to its phytoestrogen.
Because prostate and breast cancer are hormonally driven cancers,
doctors have warned against drinking soy milk for fear it would make
breast cancer cells spread.

And the bad news doesn't stop there for the dudes: soy has also been
linked to infertility. Isoflavones, of which soy milk has plenty, have
been linked to decreased fertility in some animal studies. Men's Health
also notes that soy is not just to blame for just decreased sperm count;
it may also interfere with testosterone levels and cause some er, some
sexual dysfunction. Yikes.

And it goes without saying that those flavored soy milks? Yeah, those added calories and sugars aren't doing much for you.

Store-Bought Orange Juice

We know, that bright glass of orange juice every morning seems pretty
harmless - until you start digging deeper. The history of orange juice
is quite surprising: orange juice wasn't a mainstay in the American diet
until the 1950s. OJ from concentrate was first introduced to World War
II soldiers, who needed extra vitamin C - and orange farmers needed to
get a surplus of oranges off their hands, reports the Los Angeles Times.
When orange juice became pasteurized (and easy to sell, like cartons of
milk), it became a gold mine.

However, commercially produced orange juice contains more than just
nutrients. A book, Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice,
revealed that companies will often add in chemicals and flavors back
into OJ during the pasteurization process, just to make it that much
more appealing to the taste buds. While those are usually heavily
guarded trade secrets, one popular flavoring agent added back in is
ethyl butyrate, with the added scent of pineapple, to make it sweeter.
Oh, that's appealing. The Florida Department of Citrus fought back on
some of those claims back in 2011 to the Huffington Post, saying that
they simply take the "orange aroma, orange oil from the peel, and pulp"
that's separated from the juice and add it back in after pasteurization
to enhance the flavor.

And again, it all comes down to sugar: one study in 2008 found that
drinking just one glass of orange juice per day increased a person's
risk for diabetes by 24 percent. It's no secret that OJ and other juices
can make blood sugar levels rise - it's even recommended for diabetics
crashing with low blood sugar levels as a way to get them back up.

Coconut Water

The world's gone nuts for coconut water (including one Tom Haverford on
Parks and Rec, who keeps a whole shelf stocked with it), but is it worth
it? It probably shouldn't be a shocker that packaged coconut water is
loaded with more sugar than you need. Compared to natural coconut water
(as in what you can't find in a box), packaged coconut water can have up
to twice the amount of sugar. Packaged coconut water can also be
lacking in fiber, compared to natural coconut water.

What makes coconut water so healthy is that it's loaded with potassium,
which is key for rehydration. As Mother Nature Network points out,
potassium helps to balance the electrolytes in the body (it's the same
stuff you find in sports drinks). But a study from found
that two popular commercial coconut waters, O.N.E. Coconut Water and
Vita Coco, didn't deliver the amount of electrolytes promised on the
label. Considering that's coconut water's gleaming health benefit, it's
slightly unnerving that you're not getting what you think.

Bottled Tea

We know, after all the hype and excitement over the health benefits of
tea, you think you're getting the same health-boosting kick from bottled
tea. Don't believe it - those Big Gulp-sized Arizona Teas aren't doing
any favors for your body. A presentation at the 2010 American Chemical
Society meeting showed some scary facts: while bottled teas have fewer
chemicals than home-brewed tea (thanks to mass production), they're
stripped of the natural goodness that makes them so healthy. That means
they're without the antioxidants and polyphenols that do the
booty-kicking of cancer and other diseases. In the study presented, the
researchers found that bottled teas contained as little as 3 milligrams,
and as much as 81 milligrams, of polyphenols. If that sounds like a
lot, consider this: home-brewed black or green tea will contain anywhere
between 50 and 150 milligrams - not even close. That means you'd have
to drink about 20 cups of bottled tea to get the amount of polyphenols
you get from just one cup of homebrewed tea.

The reason behind the missing polyphenols? Polyphenols in general are
bitter-tasting, so manufacturers add tons of sugar to cover up the taste
- and even decrease the amount of tea in the actual bottle. So, if
you're a fan of sugar water, keep going for those teas. If you really do
want to keep drinking bottled tea, Men's Health commissioned a bottled
tea test to find which teas contained the most antioxidants and
polyphenols (including ECGC, a known fighter against cancer) and came up
with a helpful list.

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Fruit Juices

Let's think about the pros of fruit juices: Yes, they have vitamins you
may not normally get elsewhere. Yes, they have antioxidants and
polyphenols (i.e. grape juice). Yes, they have living enzymes (if
they're fresh-squeezed).

But what do they also have? More fructose than you'll ever need. In
fact, studies in 2009 and 2010 declared that fruit juice was about as
healthy as a can of Coke. Say what now? "It's pretty much the same as
sugar water," said Dr. Charles Billington, an appetite researcher at the
University of Minnesota to the Los Angeles Times in 2009. He went onto
say that the modern diet shouldn't include fruit juices - there's no
need. Although fruit juice contains naturally occurring fructose, it's
the added sucrose from juice concentrates that can pack on the sugar
that's so destructive. Take a glass of apple juice, says Natural News: a
typical glass of commercial apple juice will have as much fructose as
you would find in six apples - but lacks the necessary fiber and enzymes
the liver needs to process all that fructose. Said one researcher to
the LA Times, the body has time to process the fructose from a piece of
fruit, but fruit in liquid form overwhelms the liver.

The biggest health difference between fresh-squeezed and packaged,
however, is in the processing. Fresh-squeezed juices still have some
pulp that contains the most nutrients. However, from fruit to juice, the
pasteurization process can kill the necessary nutrients you need from
fruit. We say, if you want the vitamins and minerals, bite the fruit
with your teeth - don't sip it through a straw.

Sports Drinks

We've been over this before: when in doubt after your workout, reach for
the H20. The truth is, while sports drinks are beneficial for reloading
the body with electrolytes and potassium, most people don't need them.
The reason? Your workouts should be at least 60 minutes - and that's
going at high intensity - for the body to actually need to replenish all
those lost electrolytes and potassium. If you're not going hard at the
marathon training, chances are you're just filling up on unnecessary
sugars, carbs, and calories.

And that's not all that sports drinks are loaded with: The Daily Meal's
look into several popular brands of sports drinks found that some (like
Propel Zero) are merely a laundry list of artificial ingredients, like
added flavoring, sugars, and even caffeine.

What's even trickier is that the research behind sports drinks' claims
is somewhat convoluted - while many say that they do work to help the
body recover after a workout, some say those studies are puffed up by
the companies making the drinks. As the British Medical Journal found
this past summer, some of those studies done by companies (take the
Gatorade Science Institute) couldn't even back up their claims with hard
evidence. After all, if your body is truly thirsty, its
thirst-regulating mechanisms will take over and let you know when you
need water.

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Powdered Beverage Mixtures

In English, that means your beloved Crystal Light. So what's the verdict
on powdered beverage mixtures? It depends. The biggest selling-point
behind Crystal Light and other beverage additives is that they encourage
hydration by making water taste like, well, not water. And if getting
that eight glasses of water per day is a tough goal to meet, a Crystal
Light packet may help. But the ingredients may make you take pause. Not
only is it filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners, it's also
filled with many ingredients that make health experts cringe. Aspartame
(side effects include headaches, anxiety, abdominal pain, nausea, heart
palpitations, and irritable bowel syndrome among other pleasant things),
acesulfame potassium (which contains a known carcinogen), phenylalanine
(a protein that's generally safe, but toxic in high doses and not
recommended for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers) all make the
cut. And yes, those scary colorings - like Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1,
and Red 40 - that have been said to cause cancer and tumor growth and
are on the no-no list of the interest group Center for Science in the
Public Interest make an appearance as well. We say, just skip the flavor
packets and add a lemon or cucumber slice to your H20.

Diet Soda

Let this serve as your PSA, you Diet Coke fiends: just stop it. This is not good for you. Let us count the ways.

Besides the laundry list of artificial ingredients and sweeteners,
there's a whole slew of health conditions linked back to diet soda. The
most recent (and disturbing) news? In a recent study that followed 2,500
New Yorkers for 10 years, those who drank diet soda every day were more
likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, or even die from a
cardiovascular disease. That's serious stuff. And when those results
were adjusted for smoking, weight, exercise, and other dietary factors,
the stats were still the same - diet soda can wreak havoc on more than
just your waistline. Another study published in Diabetes Care journal
found that diet soda drinkers were more likely to develop metabolic
syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

But speaking of that waistline, the fake sugars in that Diet Coke really
do a lot of damage to your weight - not quite the effect you'd hope
from something labeled "diet." The Atlantic illuminated how artificial
sugars can really change your brain's chemistry, namely, the reward
center of the brain. After watching brain scans of 24 healthy, young
adults given only saccharin and other sugar-free sweeteners, the
researchers saw a decrease in activity in the brain's reward center.
It's been shown that slower activity in the reward of the center fosters
obesity, because once the brain is fooled with those tricky non-sucrose
sweeteners, it's harder to regulate food intake.

source :
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