When you decided to begin the low-carb lifestyle, food is a major focus, but don't forget about drinks.
Many supposedly healthy juices grant an easy access point for hidden carbs, allowing them to sneak their way into your diet without notice (1).
Just because cranberries are a fruit, doesn't mean cranberry juice is healthy, and it's surprisingly simple to down an entire bottle in very little time. Consider drinking a juice versus downing a cake—it's quick, easy, and tasty, but that doesn't make it good for you.
Many "healthy" drinks are filled with disguised, added sugar, carbs, and other not-so-healthy ingredients. This leads to obesity faster than most assume, especially for children who are consuming them mindlessly.
Avoid excess, unnecessary carbs and sugar by keeping these drinks out of your cupboards and out of your diet.
The Dangers of Liquid Sugar
Consider how many sugar-filled drinks the average American consumes.
From juices to sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks, liquid sugar is easy and affordable to access. Packing beverages like Juicy Juice and Capri-Sun in kid's lunches gives them access to liquid sugar at an young age.
These sugar drinks can easily lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even more dangers. Especially since they are marketed towards parents by using terms like organic, natural, vitamins and minerals on the packaging.
Parents are lead to believe that they are giving their children a healthy drink, when in fact they are setting them on a road to health problems from an early age.
Not exactly appealing, is it?
Consider these facts:
If you drink just one can of soda per day, your risk of death from heart disease skyrockets by nearly one-third.
Other sugar drinks are no exception; consume a couple glasses of V-8 Splash per day, and your risk of Type 2 diabetes goes up by a depressing 26 percent.
Since it's so simple to down an entire bottle of juice, drinking just one or two servings is incredibly easy, especially when advertisements make claims such as "packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C!" and "100% juice for 100% kids!"
Keep in mind that these are just claims—even if a fruit-based juice contains Vitamin C, that does not make it healthy, nor does it reduce the amount of sugar and carbs already present—amounts that are incredibly dangerous for diet and overall health.
What Makes Sweet Drinks Worse Than Other Sugar Sources?
While all added sugar is bad, our bodies process liquid sugar differently.
Consider apple juice versus consuming an apple by itself. An apple contains significant natural sugar, 18 grams, to be precise.
Natural sugar combined with fiber means that your body will process this sugar slowly. It's then released into your bloodstream over time, providing a lasting, natural source of energy.
However, if you consume an apple juice, flavored soda, or any sugar drink the results are much different.
These sugar drinks include no fiber so the sugar rushes into your system immediately, providing that "sugar crash" that too many of us are used to. This sugar takes a hazardous journey through the human body, supplying more than anyone needs, and more than most people can handle, hence the high risks of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Rather than being slowly released as energy, this liquid sugar hits the body's pancreas and liver, overloading them.
Since only so much sugar can be stored in these vital organs, it's rushed through the bloodstream, lines the arteries, and puts us at risk for a heart attack over time.
That's a single sugary drink, so imagine consuming an entire bottle! Most Americans are consuming much more than one serving, so for kids starting out early, that much sugar is especially dangerous (4).
As previously mentioned, drinking juices and sodas is faster and easier than consuming the same amount of food when the calories are identical.
Proven by science, studies show that Americans who consume high-calorie, sugary beverages simply don't feel as full, which makes them simple to consume without a second thought (5).
Unfortunately, a single serving of juice contains over twice the sugar as the same amount of fruit; a frightening 38 grams! When these drinks are falsely advertised as "healthy" to consumers, it's easy to get tricked. For the average American, the dangers of added sugar are easy not to notice, which means many Americans have no idea how harmful consuming these drinks actually is.
Keep these drinks out of your kids' lunch boxes, and reduce your intake as well. With so many health worries at stake, the dangers aren't worth it.
(1) Erin Gager, R.D., L.D.N. Finding the Hidden Sugar in the Foods You Eat. www.hopkinsmedicine.org. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-woman/nutrition-fitness/finding-the-hidden-sugar-in-the-foods-you-eat. Accessed Sep. 16th, 2018.
(2) University of California San Francisco. Sugar-Sweetened BeveragesOver time, too much liquid sugar can lead to serious diseases. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/sugar-sweetened-beverages/#.W56O7OhKg2w. Accessed Sep. 16th, 2018.
(3) University of California San Francisco and Royal Society of New Zealand. How The Body Metabolizes Sugar. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/sugar-metabolism.html#.W56STehKg2w. Accessed Sep. 16th, 2018.
(4) Janet M. Wojcicki, PhD, MPH and Melvin B. Heyman, MD, MPH. Reducing Childhood Obesity by Eliminating 100% Fruit Juice. Am J Public Health. 2012 September; 102(9): 1630–1633.Published online 2012 September. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300719.
(5) Yu Qing Low, Kathleen Lacy, and Russell Keast. The Role of Sweet Taste in Satiation and Satiety. Nutrients. 2014 Sep; 6(9): 3431–3450.Published online 2014 Sep 2. doi: 10.3390/nu6093431