There's a Big Problem With All Those "Healthy" Drinks

There's a Big Problem With All Those "Healthy" Drinks

When you order an iced tea instead of a Coke, you might think you're making a health-conscious decision. Unfortunately, a new study says you're wrong.

No one really believes that soda is healthy — you have at least a general idea that you're getting a sugary, chemical-laden, hopefully delicious treat. But iced tea like Snapple and sports drinks like Gatorade are often viewed differently.

A trio of University of California, Berkeley researchers examined our favorite soda alternatives and found that they have a "health halo" — claims of health benefits that belie actual high sugar content.

Take a look: The graphs below compare grams of sugar in teas and sports drinks compared with a bottle of Coke.



Images Credit: Vox

The report also dives into the health claims passed along by various soda alternatives:



Images Credit: California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Why it matters: Sugar content is a proven contributor to obesity, which affects two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States.

Children are especially important in the equation since they love sugar, are susceptible to marketing and, let's be honest, eat and drink plenty of dumb things.

"Although some beverages, including fruit drinks and flavored waters, may be a significant source of vitamins in the diets of youth, it has been shown that these beverages displace other natural dietary sources of vitamins and minerals, and youths who consume them are then less likely to meet recommended intakes of additional nutrients," the report says.

Obviously, some drinks are worse than others, so don't feel like you're ruining yourself if you reach for a Snapple every now and again. But don't go pretending that your beverage choice is made from the best stuff on Earth®.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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