The best and worst “healthy” drinks at the grocery store, ranked by nutrition experts
It seems like every time i walk into the grocery store in my neighborhood to get a few things, i gravitate towards the refrigerated shelves full of healthy drinks. Colorful cans and bottles filled with trendy stripes promise to deliver your daily fix of prebiotics, electrolytes, and endless amounts of vitamins and minerals.
But are these drinks, which tend to be quite pricey, as healthy as they claim? Or are they just sugar and calorie bombs? I asked registered dietitians to find out.
While the two nutritionists I consulted stress that how “healthy” a drink is depends on your individual needs and sensitivities—for example, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, there are a few options you might want to skip—here’s what they have to say about some of the hottest drinks on the market right now.
Let’s go from the worst to the first.
10. Guayaki Yerba Mate
Sure, yerba mate is tea, and tea can be healthy. But a registered dietitian Kara Collier Note that in addition to containing caffeine, to which some may be sensitive, Guayaki yerba mate It’s a high 120 calories per pack, and it has 28 grams of added sugar, which is quite a lot.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of sugar for adult women and no more than 36 grams of sugar for men. “So it definitely has more sugar than I would recommend for one drink,” Collier said.
9. Boom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice It has been around for a long time. While Collier indicated it was 100% juice, this is juice concentrate – which means There’s quite a bit of carbs, 39 grams (and sugar, 34 grams), though there’s no added sugar.
“If you choose this type, you may want to use it in moderation and maybe even pair it with some extra protein and fiber to reduce the impact it may have on your glucose levels,” Collier suggested.
8. Wormline chord
While delicious, if you’re sipping and tampon chord For health benefits, you may want to reconsider.
“Since this is technically a fruit juice, you have some naturally occurring carbohydrates and sugar on board to round out your worth of about 18 grams,” Collier said. “Since fruit juices are more likely to raise blood sugar than whole fruit, and since juice is lacking in things like fiber, it’s a good idea to consider eating this in moderation and pairing it with protein and other sources of fiber.”
Better yet, Collier suggested, eat some actual watermelon—you’ll get the juice And fiber.
7. Kombucha Energy GT
Collier and registered dietitian tamar samuels, co-founder of Colina Healthhas difficulty fully endorsing kombucha as a health drink due to the limited evidence around it.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence for the health benefits of kombucha,” Samuels said. These studies are often difficult to fund, which contributes to a lack of research on some medicinal foods like kombucha. However, some studies have been done on rats and found that kombucha may reduce liver toxicity due to its antioxidant effects.
the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said consuming up to 4 ounces of kombucha daily It may not cause harmful effects in healthy people After two people fell ill after drinking homemade kombucha in the 1990s. Or GT KombuchaSome flavors are higher in sugar than others — so if you’re watching your sugar intake (and you should be), this is something to be aware of.
6. Coconut Elixir from Plant Rebble
Filled with “plant superfoods” Coconut elixir from Rebble It promises to deliver “energy, focus, immunity and beyond.” But Collier noted that the amount of carbohydrates in this drink is quite high at 24 grams, and he said more research is needed into the ingredients.
Research is ongoing on the effect Quillaja extractAnd “One of the ingredients is used, and what amounts are considered to be upper tolerable thresholds for people,” Collier said. “Reishi mushroom, another ingredient used, is a type of therapeutic mushroom that is often used to modulate the immune response.” But most Research Regarding the immunomodulatory and antioxidant effects of this mushroom, she said, “There are still a lot of questions about dosage and duration of use.”
5. Poppi Prebiotic Soda
Like its competitor Olipop, Poppi prebiotic sodas Healthier than regular soda – but Poppi ranks lower than Olipop on Collier’s list. Poppi sodas contain caffeine, which some individuals may be sensitive to, and Collier said an ingredient called inulin is potentially concerning.
“Inulin is an isolated prebiotic fiber,” she said. “Recent research raised some concerns about the possibility of insulin additions negatively affecting some aspects of liver function in rat model studies. Of course, more human studies are needed to know for sure.”
4. Olipop Prebiotic Soda
Collier said it contains ingredients like dandelion root, jerusalem artichoke, kudzu root, cassava fiber, cassava syrup, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, nopal cactus, calendula flower, apple juice, lemon juice, stevia, and pink rock salt. Olympus Park Not a bad choice — but it may not be gut-healthy for everyone.
the cola flavourfor example, contains 2g of sugar and 9g of fiber.
“These are definitely a lower sugar and lower carb option than traditional soft drinks,” Collier said. The prebiotics in this drink may be gut-healthy for some people, though for others—maybe those with FODMAP Sensitivities – may have digestive issues arising from taking higher amounts of prebiotics. “
3. Coconut water is harmless
Collier and Samuels are both fans Coconut water is harmlessBecause the only ingredient is coconut water – no added sugar.
“Coconut water is naturally rich in potassium (about 13% of the RDA) and even contains a decent amount of magnesium (60g or about 15% of the RDA),” Collier said. “Some people may use this as a ‘natural’ source of electrolytes, Although it is low in two primary electrolytes, sodium and calcium.”
Samuels added that while Harmless Harvest coconut water is pricey, she’s a fan in general.
“There’s less sugar (14 grams per serving) than most other brands of coconut water, and it tastes better—it’s the closest thing I’ve found to fresh coconut water,” Samuels said.
2. Spindrift sparkling water
Made with real fruit juice and soda water, both Collier and Samuels are huge fans of it Spin drift.
“This is one of my favorite sparkling water products. The flavors taste great and are made with real fruit juice, rather than artificial flavors.” However, it contains more sugar than sparkling water without the fruit juice.
1. The little mole
Coming in at No. 1 is Topo Chiko Mineral Waterwhich Collier and Samuels both declared a bubbly delight.
“Topo Chico says their water is naturally carbonated at the source…that means the only ingredients in this drink are water and carbon dioxide,” said Collier. No carbs, no added sugar, nada! It’s one of the simplest and most straightforward sparkling water options you can find. Topo Chiko Water analysis report It also states that their water contains varying amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfates. “
“Overall, sparkling water is a great alternative for people who don’t like drinking flat water but need to meet their hydration goals,” Samuels said. “I love Topo Chico for its taste! The bubbles are nice and soft.”
Are any of these drinks “bad” for you? No, not if you drink them in moderation. But before you splurge on it, keep in mind that some are better than others — and some aren’t quite so great from a sugar perspective.