Saturday, 10 September 2016

Unhealthy Drinks to Avoid at the Supermarket

For any good, diet-abiding citizen, a simple trip to the supermarket or convenience store can easily feel like a tap dance across a minefield of temptations - having to narrowly skirt well-concealed calorie-bombs at nearly every turn. 

Areas like the frozen foods aisle and the chips and cookies shelves are obvious danger zones for the health-conscious shopper, but be careful not to overlook the potential diet pitfalls sitting in those beverage-stocked cold cases. From juices and iced teas to flavored milks and protein shakes, drinks can often be like the evil ninja warriors of dieting. 

Oftentimes, many of those drinks we are led to believe are "healthy" (thanks, in large part, to shrewd marketing), are actually quite the opposite.  

Just because drinking tea can be good for your health doesn't mean that bottle of calorie- and sugar-packed iced tea is. And don't think that you're doing yourself too much of a favor by picking up that "low-fat" chocolate milk - check out the nutrition facts on the back and find that it has nearly as many calories and not that many less grams of fat as the full-fat version.  

So consider keeping these drinks out of your shopping cart. 

Flavored Milk: Nesquik Double Chocolate Low-Fat Milk 
Presumably, if you're picking up a bottle of chocolate milk, you know it's a bit of a diet indulgence. But don't assume you're doing yourself any favors just because it says "low-fat milk" on the bottle. The calcium in milk may be good for your bones, but the 360 calories (50 of which are from fat) and nearly 60 grams of sugar in this 16-ounce drink aren't helping your waistline. That's more or less the sugar equivalent of eating two Hershey's milk chocolate bars. 

 Coffee: Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso and Cream 
The energy bean itself is not the enemy - a plain cup of coffee with cream and a teaspoon of sugar is a reasonable 63 calories. What's not so reasonable are the 140 calories and 17 grams of sugar you'll find in one small 6.5-ounce can of Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso and Cream. To put that in perspective, the much worse-sounding 9.5-ounce bottled Vanilla Frappuccino will only cost you 60 more calories. 

Smoothie/Shake: Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster 
We often think of smoothies and protein shakes as a healthy alternative treat. While they're certainly better then opting for a frozen milkshake, everything in there is not necessarily good. Odwalla's Chocolate Protein Monster may pack an impressive 25 grams of protein in a 12-ounce bottle, but it also contains 320 calories (55 of which are from fat) and 37 grams of sugar. That's almost as many calories and more than half the amount of sugar in the previously mentioned bottle of Double Chocolate Nesquik. 

Iced Tea: Lipton Brisk Lemon Iced Tea 
Yes, of course, drinking tea can offer a lot of health benefits. That said, sneaky sugar can, again, ruin any drink with even the best health intentions. Case in point: A 2-liter bottle of Lipton Brisk Lemon Iced Tea contains a total of about 670 calories and 184 grams of sugar. That's roughly equal to the amount of sugar in two containers of Häagen-Dazs Zesty Lemon sorbet.

 Lemonade: Arizona Lemonade 
Lemonade may be a favorite nostalgic drink, but we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that this is a healthy alternative to soda or juice. The basic ingredients are simple enough: lemon juice, water, and sweetener. But the amount of "sweetener" used in commercially made lemonade can be off the charts. A 23.5-ounce can of Arizona lemonade will cost you about 330 calories and 78 grams of sugar. That's nearly as much sugar as in two 12-ounce cans of Cherry Coke. 

Juice: Welch's Concord Grape Juice Cocktail Drink 
Your first hint that this might not be the smartest choice in the juice aisle? It's labeled as "fruit juice cocktail" that's made from concentrate. There are 1,200 calories and nearly 300 grams of sugar in one 64-ounce bottle. That's the sugar equivalent of about six packets of Skittles. 

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