|Sugar: The New Unhealthy|
A good rule of thumb? Look at the first ingredient. If it's not fruit juice, put the drink down. In the case of cranberry juice cocktail, water and high-fructose corn syrup come before cranberry juice. Water or seltzer is always best, but if you can't live without your morning glass of OJ, make sure it's 100 percent fruit juice and limit yourself to one cup per day. Skim milk is another good option. Meanwhile, try to stay away from sports drinks, flavored coffees and blended beverages. And if you do indulge, stick to one 6-ounce serving.
For those times when water just won't cut it, take to this list of the best and worst "healthy" drinks to quench your thirst without pouring on the pounds.
Choose: Honest Tea "Just a Tad Sweet" (85 calories, 20 grams sugar)
Instead Of: SoBe Green Tea (240 calories, 61 grams sugar)
Choose: Inkos Unsweetened White (90 calories, 0 grams sugar)
Instead Of: Odwalla Protein Monster Chocolate (about 220 calories, 25 grams sugar)
Choose: Organic Family 1% Milkfat Chocolate (150 calories, 9 grams protein)
Instead Of: SoBe Strawberry Banana Lizard Fuel (290 calories, 73 grams sugar)
Choose: Naked Reduced-Calorie Juice (200 calories, 40 grams sugar)
Choose: PomLight (150 calories, 34 grams sugar)
Instead Of: Vitamin Water (150 calories, 33 grams sugar)
Choose: Zico Coconut Water (60 calories, 24 grams sugar)
THE BOTTOM LINE ABOUT HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an ingredient regularly used in soft drinks, cereal, bread and an array of other food products consumed daily. It is commonly found on food and drink labels under multiple names, such as chicory, inulin, iso-glucose, glucose-fructose syrup and fruit fructose. HFCS is worth learning more about, as is any ingredient included on the labels of foods you normally consume.
Converts to Fat Quickly
- According to OrganicConsumers.org, the body metabolizes corn syrup into fat more quickly than it does any other sugar. Furthermore, since most fructose is consumed in liquid form, the negative impact it has on the body from a metabolic standpoint is magnified significantly. While dietary fat is often synonymous with products containing oils or meats, HFCS is truly unhealthy in terms of its rapid conversion to fat. The substance should not be overlooked when considering items to exclude from a healthy meal plan.
Not a Natural Food
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that HFCS is not classified as "natural" in cases where a "synthetic substance such as a synthetic fixing agent [is] included in or added to it," or in cases where natural or unnaturally derived food coloring has been added. The FDA has declined requests to formally define "natural" foods and leaves the decision up to individual state.
Danger to Heart Health
- Dr. Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. states, "In subjects [with] healthy glucose tolerance and those that had unhealthy glucose tolerance, fructose caused a general increase in both the total serum cholesterol and in the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in most of the subjects. This puts a person at risk for heart disease." While it is also found in fruits, fructose occurs in lower levels in fruit than it does in the form of HFCS.