A cold, bubbly soft drink may be hard to resist, but resist it you should. A study at Tufts University found that sugary drinks kill up to 184,000 people a year. By now, you’re probably used to hearing that soda is bad for you. But the true killer is sugar, which is found (in scary quantities) in many drinks you consume daily. The death of 184,000 people annually from sugar-induced cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer is nothing to scoff at.
Sure, soda is to blame, but so are several other sugar-heavy drinks that don’t get nearly as much negative press. These six drinks are just as bad (if not worse) than soda.
1. Fruit juice
Don’t just naively grab any fruit juice and consider yourself healthy. If you take a moment to read the label, you’ll notice that most fruit juices are not 100% fruit juice. Most, like cranberry or grape cocktail, have an extra dose of added sugar on top of the fruit juice’s natural sugar content. A cup of grape juice has 36 grams of sugar, which is scarily close to the 44 grams found in a can of lemon-lime soda. Even if you only drink 100% fruit juice, you’ll still be consuming high levels of natural sugar. Instead of orange juice, have an orange. Eating the actual fruit over the fruit’s juice will keep you full longer and supply your body with dietary fiber, which is lost in juice form.
2. Sports drinks
A study by the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry found that after Red Bull, Gatorade was the most harmful drink for your teeth, topping Coca-Cola. A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 34 grams of sugar, and worse yet, the G2 variety is packed with artificial sweeteners to keep it low in calories.
3. Energy drinks
Energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour ENERGY, and Rockstar get their energy-jolting reputation from controversial supplements like taurine, ginseng, and guarana. The scary-high caffeine and sugar content, when consumed regularly, is known to impact mental health, cardiovascular health, and sleep. One lab test done by Forbes found that a tiny bottle of 5-Hour ENERGY has anywhere from 150 to 210 grams of caffeine. Most energy drinks contain around 30 grams of sugar per serving.
4. Iced tea
For some, iced tea is a staple, and why not? Tea is full of antioxidants, but unfortunately, the beverage’s health benefits get lost under the mounds of sugar that are often mixed in. One popular brand has over 30 grams of added sugar in one bottle. If you love iced tea but don’t want to drink your dessert, opt for an unsweetened iced tea and then mix in some honey or a single packet of sugar.
5. Flavored coconut water
It sounds good, and the sweet taste may cinch the deal, but before you make coconut water part of your daily diet, read the label. When coconut water is flavored, the electrolyte and potassium-packed drink goes from being super healthy to super sugary. One small 16-ounce container of flavored coconut water can pack in more than 30 grams of sugar.
6. Coffee concoctions
We know how much you love your daily Starbucks run, but refrain from getting any fancy coffee drinks. A latte here or a cappuccino there might not seem so bad, but the calories and sugar really add up. Take a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha, for example. A Grande one of these is over 400 calories, and it has 12 grams of saturated fat and over 50 grams of sugar. And matters only get worse if you go for a Frappuccino — yikes.