When it comes to getting healthier, most people start by scrutinizing what’s on their plate. However, what’s in your glass could be causing just as much damage to your overall wellbeing.
It’s not just alcohol that can wreak havoc on your health, though. Many of the beverages you drink on a daily basis could be contributing to serious ailments, from raising your risk of type 2 diabetes to increasing the likelihood you’ll suffer a broken bone.
Before you take another sip, read on to discover which popular drinks could be causing lasting damage to your body, according to experts. And if you want to get your meal plan back on track, start with The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
While energy drinks may provide a pick-me-up when you’re feeling sluggish, their high caffeine content may actually make your fatigue worse in the long run.
In addition to negatively affecting your sleep, caffeine “also inhibits the production of collagen in your skin, leading to premature skin aging with more wrinkles,” explains certified nutritionist Ann Ramark of A Younger Skin. Looking for a healthier way to get energized? Check out What One Energy Drink Does to Your Body.
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That post-workout protein shake could be doing more harm to your body than good.
Celine Beitchman, MS, director of nutrition at the Institute of Culinary Education, explains that the average person—even those who eschew animal products—gets ample protein from their diet.
“If you’re overdoing protein every day it can overwork your kidneys too,” Beitchman explains, noting that excessive consumption of protein can also lead to excess fat storage. And before you turn on that blender, make sure you check out The Best and Worst Protein Powders to Buy!
“The phosphoric acid in dark sodas makes them even worse for your health than clear sodas,” explains Megan Wong, RD, a registered dietician with AlgaeCal. “Too much phosphoric acid can cause your bones to lose calcium, which is likely why studies have linked soft drink intake with decreased bone mineral density and higher risk of fracture.”
Before you take that next sip, make sure to check out the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.
Seltzers with Sodium
While most unflavored seltzers have little in the way of nutritional content, some are a sneaky source of sodium, which can have serious consequences for your health.
“Sodium is a major nutrient of concern that increases your risk of hypertension and stroke,” explains Beitchman. “Check your labels and choose the low or no-sodium options or make your own with a household maker.” And if you can’t get enough of the fizzy stuff, Here’s What Happens To Your Body If You Drink Seltzer Every Day.
Just because it’s got the word “fruit” in the name doesn’t mean that juice you’re drinking is healthy.
In addition to being high in calories in and sugar, “Because it’s in liquid form, fruit juice bypasses most of the digestive process and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream where it can cause blood sugar spikes and lead to insulin resistance,” explains Heather Hanks, MS, a nutritionist with Instapot Life.
In its unsweetened form, certain types of tea can be a healthy source of antioxidants. However, sweet tea, which frequently contains huge helpings of sugar and caffeine, can have seriously deleterious effects on your health.
“If you drink too much [sweet tea], it can lead to headaches and problems with sleep,” says Jay Cowin, a registered nutritionist with ASYSTEM. In addition to the large amounts of sugar found in sweet tea, which can lead to weight gain and increase an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a 2015 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that drinking a large amount of black iced tea may contribute to renal failure due to the excessive consumption of oxalate, an organic acid.
“A large caramel Frappuccino can have around 500 calories itself. So you’re filling yourself with added calories and can expect the sugar crash a few hours later,” says Corwin. To learn about exactly what to avoid, check out these The Unhealthiest Coffee Drinks in America—Ranked!