1. Fruit juice
Despite what the packaging may tell you, this does NOT provide an easy and convenient way to get in one or two of your 5-a-day. Most shop-bought fruit juices are pasteurised (essentially boiled), which destroys a lot of the valuable nutrients, whilst concentrating the sugars. The juice is also extracted from the whole fruit, leaving behind the fibrous part of the fruit that helps to slow sugar absorption into the blood.
2. Fizzy drinks
This is an obvious one, but did you know that just one can of Coke contains the equivalent to eight teaspoons of sugar? That’s more than your entire daily recommended sugar allowance, in just one drink. Does it satiate your appetite? No. Does it leave you wanting another? Yes.
3. …And their diet versions
“Diet” drinks may be sugar free, but they contain artificial sweeteners, and research suggests that individuals who regularly consume these sweeteners are more likely to gain weight. Gram for gram they can be up to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, and this tends to drive sweet cravings that can actually lead you to eating more overall.
4. Shop-bought smoothies
Don’t be conned into thinking that just because a drink is green, that it must be healthy. Some smoothies actually contain more sugar than fizzy drinks. As a general rule, avoid ambient smoothies (those that don’t need refrigerating) which will have been heavily pasteurised and probably also have additional preservatives added. But even with those that are kept in the fridge, or claim to be “fresh”, always always check the label!
5. Vitamin waters
If a drink is enriched with vitamins, it’s got to be good for you, right? Wrong- but that’s exactly what the manufacturers want you to think. These drinks may have added vitamins, but that doesn’t make up for the sugar and flavourings that are also added to them. In fact, a typical bottle of “healthy” vitamin water contains 31g sugar; that’s almost eight teaspoons. You’d be much better off getting your vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables instead.
6. Sweetened nut milks
Nut milks are all the rage on the health scene right now, and so you may be feeling rather virtuous when you order your morning almond milk latte. Well, we’ve got some bad news. Unless the nut milk is unsweetened (and this doesn’t tend to be the case in lots of coffee outlets), then what you’re actually getting is an extra few heaps of sugar into your drink. Always opt for the unsweetened option, where available, and be wary- sweeteners used in these milks such as “date syrup” and “rice syrup” are all just different forms of sugar.
7. Flavoured waters
These may masquerade as the healthy option, but this is very often not the case. Despite displaying misleading pictures of fruit on the labels that create an impression of goodness, some flavoured waters are loaded with more sugar than fizzy drinks, and others are packed with artificial sweeteners. And to make it worse, you’re usually paying over the double the price of a normal bottle of water for the privilege. Err…no thanks.