It’s understandable why people struggle with beverage choices, especially during the summer. So many fizzy and sweet options out there to quench ones thirst! Unfortunately, most contain too much sugar and some contain even worse ingredients. Did you know that the average adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day?? While teenagers on the average consume about 34. Believe it or not, much of this comes from drinks rather than food. Others contain artificial sweeteners that have been linked to many health issues, including but not limited to, disruption of gut bacteria, headaches and other neurological problems. Some contain healthier sugar substitutes like erythritol and stevia, though I will not be including much of these in my list. Sugar alcohols (like xylitol and erythritol) can cause bloating and stomach upset in general for people with IBS.
I would like to recommend some of my absolute favorite drink upgrades. One of these products is made by a local company called “Spindrift.” Spindrift was actually started by a man from Western Massachusetts who needed to give up his diet coke addiction, and pretty much nailed it. He utilizes flavors galore, and all from local family farms to boot. You can get anything from cucumber seltzer to watermelon and strawberry. La Croix brand is also a recommended one to try, although I prefer the spindrift for flavor and quality (as well as being local).
Number two would be Kombucha. The “Synergy” brand is my choice because there is no added sugar–check out the TRILOGY flavor especially! Not only is kombucha “fizzy,” it aids in digestion and gut health due to the fact it is naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria, which classifies it as a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of health benefits for the digestive tract and also improves mental clarity and mood stability. (Healthy gut means healthy mind!)
Number three would be Sparkling Bitters. Don’t let the name fool you. This company makes a truly delicious and healthy product. Bitters, or Amari, as they are known in Italy, have been enjoyed in Europe for centuries. Today, special mixologists have rediscovered this indispensable ingredient. Bitters are an incredibly powerful digestive aid, stimulate the senses, and help to cleanse the body. We have become so accustomed to sweet drinks, unfortunately flavor has been repressed. Bitters help to soothe gas and bloating, relieve heartburn and nausea, as well as support liver function. Try it! You will be surprised how tasty and how good you feel after drinking!
Number four would be Watermelon Water. This is a non- fizzy beverage, but I wanted to add it to this list because of its fantastic taste and thirst-quenching abilities. This is sold in a bottle that you can’t miss! Looks like a watermelon, and contains watermelon juice from the rind and fruit, as well as a little lemon for a kick. Super hydrating and super delicious.
Now on to some other beverages that some people use as a meal replacement and for weight loss. “Slim Fast” is marketed as a healthy alternative to a meal and a tool for weight loss. Unfortunately this is marketing at its best. This product has been around for years and has undergone some changes, but it is still basically the same thing. Sugar, chemicals, soy protein isolate, artificial flavors and synthetic vitamins. All this product will do is wreak havoc on your digestion in the long run and increase your risk for diabetes (contains 19 grams of sugar which is the equivalent to 5 teaspoons). “Carnation Instant Breakfast.” This is slightly better than slim fast due to less chemicals, but still on the “don’t” list. Contains sugar, artificial flavors, maltodextrin as well as carrageenan, which has been linked to inflammation and digestive issues. If you are looking for a quick, pre-made meal replacement that you don’t have to stress about blending and such, then my pick would be “Orgain”. This product comes in a vegan blend (using pea protein NOT soy) or a whey blend (made from grass fed organic whey) and loaded with vegetables and some fruits. A true meal replacement and weight loss tool as well. Rather than read the advertisement on front of the product, actually be a label detective and read the ingredient list. This is a very helpful tool when it comes to picking, or nixing a product.
Suzie is a nutritionist at WholeBody Solutions. Interesting in making an appointment with Suzie? Call our office at 617.328.6300.