The bottom line for beverages

Beverages may be the hidden calories source in your daily diet. Make alternative choices for better moderation.

There are so many options for beverages that finding the “best” choice may prove difficult. Ultimately, water is the most ideal drink; it is calorie-free and is readily available. On the other hand, drinks that are high in added sugar, such as soft drinks, can be the worst choice; they provide a multitude of unnecessary calories with no other nutrients of value while dehydrating the body. Over time, drinking sugary drinks on a regular basis can lead to an increase in weight and risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Other drinks have their pros and cons, but can be included into a healthy regimen in moderation. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Coffee and tea: Recent research has been pointing to many health benefits of drinking coffee and tea on a regular basis. They are virtually calorie-free and are high in antioxidants. If you can’t drink it black, try adding some raw stevia or cream to lighten it up instead of all the other options; it will be helpful to your waistline and your wallet.
  • Artificially-sweetened drinks: These drinks are calorie-free, but their long-term health effects are unknown. Artificial sweeteners include: Aspartame, saccharin and sucralose; look for them in the ingredient label and avoid them! Go for the real sugar instead, if at all.
  • 100 percent fruit juice: Fruit juice is high in vitamins, but is also high in calories from the natural sugar found in fruit. Also, most of the fiber is left out during juice processing. Instead, have a real piece of fruit and drink a glass of water with lemon added for flavor.
  • Milk: Although higher in calories, milk packs a nutrient punch. Low-fat milk is an excellent option to provide the necessary calcium and vitamin D without too many extra calories.

Michigan State University Extension encourages individuals and families to live an active lifestyle that incorporates a well-balanced diet.

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