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What You Drink Impacts Your Diet, Part Seven: Sports Drinks and More

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Finally, we resume our “beverage expedition,” discovering how liquid consumption can have a major impact on your diet –– both good and bad –– and whether you are on a mission to lose body fat and/or manage your health.

We have tackled a variety of liquids –– five to be exact, with four to go, first confirming that water is essential to life and critical for health and weight loss. Later we uncovered that coffee is good in moderation if you skip the cream and sugar; tea (without the sugar) offers countless health and wellness benefits, while green tea helps fight obesity and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol; milk is highly overrated; and consuming too much soda has dire consequences to your overall health and fitness level. 

Now we take a brief look at sports and other drinks bombarding the fitness industry, like Gatorade, PowerAid, Glaceau Vitamin Water, Snapple, and many more. Interestingly, most of these drinks are labeled as “healthful,” but in fact contain sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, and other sweeteners –– commonly used ingredients that we covered in Part Six, exposing their “perils.”  These drinks add empty calories to your diet and fat on your body; putting many on the fast track toward obesity. This includes powdered drinks like Kool-Aid as well as those cute little juice boxes, which will be addressed next in our beverage series. On the other hand, Crystal Light and other “no calorie, sugar-free, diet” powered drinks use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, or Splenda –– another red flag when consumed in excess.

With so many pre-made beverages (sports and other types of drinks) on the market today, what should a “concerned dieter” do? First and foremost, don’t believe the hype, even if sports drinks are “celebrity endorsed.” After all, “stars” get paid millions of dollars for their so-called stamp of approval and the companies producing them are motivated by their bottom line –– money.

While the “foundation” of sports and other drinks is water, and some include added vitamins, minerals and fruit juice, the extra calories, sugar and additives may not be worth it in the long run. In reality, they are not always the best liquid choice, especially if you are trying to lose weight. However, if you are an athlete, participating in sports, lacking certain nutrients, trying to gain weight, or need the flavor in order to get liquid in our body, then by all means “knock back” your favorite sports drink or vitamin water –– in moderation.

The most important lesson at this juncture in our beverage expedition is that when it comes to pre-made beverages, make sure you read labels and educate yourself in the realm of “food and drink additives.” Bottom line though, there is no legitimate substitute for just plain H20! 

Our next stop will be juice –– both fruit and vegetable, with meal replacement drinks and alcohol to follow, where I will continue to guide you off of the “fat path” and on to the “fit path.” 

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About Christine Lakatos