March 15, 2023

There is a better way to gauge how healthy a beverage is than by the shape, design and colors of the can. Numbers do not lie.

Walk into any gas station or grocery store and you will find entire walls or aisles dedicated to mass amounts of beverage options. With so many options, consumers have both the power to choose and the challenge of deciding. Drink companies are competing for your purchase.

In fact, food and beverage companies invest heavily in marketing. One of their recent marketing moves is putting more of their product in “slim cans” as research is showing that it influences consumer purchasing.

San Pellegrino, the Italian Sparking Water and Beverage company, has conducted some of the research on the “slim can” showing that consumers feel it is more elegant and communicates that the product is premium and healthier than the typical fizzy beverage. But is it?

There is a better way to gauge how healthy a beverage is than by the shape, design and colors of the can. Numbers do not lie. That is why the FDA requires nutrition labels which tell the whole story of a food/beverage product.

What is on the Label?

When you look at a nutrition label you can identify some key factors to help achieve health goals. Here is a classic example — a bottle of Coca Cola.

The first step is to identify the recommended serving size. In this example it is 12 oz. We then want to look at the Calories, Total Carbohydrates and Added Sugar sections.

In Coke, one serving of 12 ounces contains 39 grams of Total Carbohydrates and Added Sugar. Since both Total Carbohydrates and Added Sugar is the same number, we know that all the carbohydrates come from the sugar added to the drink — this makes for a less healthy drink

For the average, healthy person, we should keep our added sugar intake to less than 50 grams per day. One serving of Coke would take up 78% of your daily intake. For someone that is trying to achieve weight loss or improve overall health, a Coke is not the best choice.

Juices can also be confusing since they tend to have a high amount of carbohydrate but 0 grams of added sugar. Unfortunately, juices are less nutrient-dense than regular fruits.

Some juice brands such as Naked Juice have the same amount of carbohydrates as a Mountain Dew — 75 grams in a serving. The only difference the type of sugar in each drink.

Liquid calories are great for people that are trying to gain weight but may not be the best option for those attempting weight loss.

Depending on your health goals, you may also want to focus on reducing any drinks that have calories:

  • coffee mix-ins/creamers
  • soda
  • juice
  • alcohol

Water is the best option for hydration. I know it sounds like a dietitian’s cliché, but it is true. Studies indicate that overall hydration helps preventing chronic conditions and even signs of aging.

It makes sense. After all water makes up about 50 to 60% of the human body. A good goal is 64 oz per day as a baseline. Drink more if you exercise — we want to replace fluid that we lose when we sweat.

A few tips to up your hydration.

Keep your Yeti, Stanley Cup or other bougee cups are filled throughout the day. Does a straw make you drink more? Try to keep one in your drink!

If you need some pizzaz in your drinks, try some zero Calorie mix-ins such as Crystal Light or Mio. For some extra flare, try a sparkling water or diet/zero soda instead of the regular sugar soda.

In summary, how much you drink, and what drinks you choose matters. If you do not know where to start, try to log your fluid intake for a typical day.

About the Author

Rethink Your Drink

Weekly Recipe

Air Fryer Fried Okra