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Lower Calorie Beverage Options

7 High Calorie Beverage Alternatives

I like to keep it real, so I am going to play devil’s advocate and show 7 alternatives to high calorie beverages, as well as give you some pros and cons to each of them.

#1: Infused water with fruits

Pros: they are low to no calorie alternatives & can provide some nutritional benefits from the fruit infusion. (1)

Cons: although uncommon, infused beverages can cause food poisoning or lead to tooth enamel erosion. (2)

#2: Teas

Pros: teas all carry a variety of nutritional and potential health benefits depending on the type of tea that can support heart health, diabetes, weight loss, reducing risks of cancer (3).

Cons: excess caffeine intake & tea bags may contain plastics (4.5).

#3: Coffee

Pros: may decrease risks of heart & kidney diseases, stroke & diabetes & may have protective effects on your liver. Caffeine also may decrease risk of Alzheimers, Parkinson’s disease, & colon cancer.

Cons: excessive intake can make it difficult to fall asleep, give you anxiety, & raise blood pressure. (6)

#4: Alternative Milks (almond, coconut, oat)

Pros: most have lower calories & fat content, & are common alternative choices for people with health (allergies or intolerances), as well as ethical and lifestyle concerns.

Cons: it generally has lower in protein & may be more expensive. (7)

#5: Coconut Water

Pros: a good source of electrolytes (particularly potassium, sodium, & magnesium).

Cons: coconut water may be contraindicated & should be avoided for certain health conditions. It is recommended to talk to your healthcare provider if you have cystic fibrosis, kidney or blood pressure problems, high levels of potassium in your blood, or going to be having surgery. (8)

#6: Kombucha

Pros: this may improve gut health & boost your immune system since they are full of antioxidants, caffeine & probiotics.

Cons: this is fermented & contains small amounts of alcohol & may need to be avoided for health, medical, lifestyle or ethical reasons. Kombucha also may be contraindicated (consult your physician) if you have history or problems with GERD, yeast overgrowth or Candida, SIBO, Rosacea, or are pregnant. (9)

#7: Sparkling or carbonated waters

Pros: low calorie alternative to sodas & are a good choice for people trying to cut back on their soda intake, or do not like to drink plain water.

Cons: may contain additives or sweeteners (which can have side effects for certain people), can cause gas & bloating, as well as contribute to tooth decay. (10). They also can contribute to heartburn & negatively effect bone density (11).

The moral of the story is … too much of anything can be a bad thing- moderation is key.

  • Consider your health status, conditions, and risk factors and talk to your physician or health care provider to see if these alternatives are safe for you.

  • Drink in moderation. Some of the negative side effects are from excess consumption.

  • If you can, opt for the less of the two evils; these alternatives are still great options when surrounded by higher-calorie, unhealthy, and/or alcoholic beverages.

1. Ward, Brian. "9 Benefits of Fruit Infused Water (Actually Backed By Science)". The Workout Digest. 2016-2022.

2. WebMD Contributors. "Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Infused Water?". WebMD. Sept 13, 2022.

3. Gordon, Barbara. "The Health Benefits of Tea". Jan 13, 2022.

4. Moontower Matcha. "Don’t Drink This! The Hidden Health Risk with Your Daily Tea". Moontower Matcha. Dec 14, 2021.
5. Green Child Magazine. "Plastic in Tea Bags (and all the brands that don’t contain it)". Green Child Magazine. Sept 10, 2022.

6. Johns Hopkins Medical. "9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You". Johns Hopkins Medical Center. 2022.

7. Ferreira, Sanae. "Going nuts about milk? Here’s what you need to know about plant-based milk alternatives". American Society for Nutrition. Jan 25, 2019.

8. WebMD. "COCUNUT WATER: Uses, Side Effects, and more". WebMD. 2005-2022.
9. Monsees, Dana. "Kombucha 101: Should you drink Kombucha? + Taste Test of the Top Booch Brands". 2022.

10. WebMD Contributors. "Sparkling Water: Are There Benefits?". WebMD. Sept 20, 2022.

11. Bahadur, Nina. "Are There Health Risks of Carbonated Water?". Livestrong. Jun 17, 2019.

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