Healthy beverage...or not so much?

There's been a theme this week of  people asking me what I think about specific drinks that are marketed as "healthy".

Zevia, which is marketed as a healthy substitution for soda, was one of them. Personally, I think Zevia is delicious:) But, even though it is better than soda and diet soda, it is a highly processed drink and, in my opinion, it should be treated as a "treat", which means limited to special occasions. Here's why. 

It has 'natural flavors' which could be anything. Natural flavors are usually extracted from food, highly processed (which destroys all of the positive nutritional components) and then added back into your food in a lab. Yuck. Here's a great article on how natural flavors and artificial flavors aren't as different as one would think. 

Citric acid is another highly processed ingredient. It is fermented using a mold that feeds on corn syrup glucose. And where there's corn, there's GMO's. Yuck again.

Zevia also has erythritol which is a sugar alcohol. Although sugar alcohol seems to be safe for human consumption it is another highly processed material usually made from corn due to its large demand. It can cause stomach issues, and if something causes stomach issues I personally see it as the body rejecting it and would add it to the list of things to avoid or limit. 

There's also the sweet factor. True, it doesn't have sugar, but there is a very strong connection between taste and what our body expects to be receiving nutritionally. So sometimes just the sweet flavor will trigger hormone reactions in the body similar to the reactions from eating actual sugar. There is a great book that talks about this called "The Dorito Effect". I highly recommend it. If your beliefs about nutrition are similar to mine, it will probably totally piss you off:)

V-8 is another drink in question, as it is advertised as a great way to get your daily servings of vegetables. Unfortunately, this is pretty far from a truth.  

First of all, it's highly processed. Juice is best to drink when it is still 'alive'- meaning freshly squeezed, via a cold-pressed process. Think Juiceland/Daily Juice/ Whole Foods/Juice Bar style. 

It's reconstituted, meaning the juice is removed by a juicing machine and then the water is extracted from that juice using high heat. This condenses it to a concentrate which makes it easy and cheaper to ship and then water is added back in when they produce the V-8.   

The problem with reconstituted juice is that the heating process destroys the enzymes which are needed to metabolize the juice. Vitamin C is also depleted, and then artificially added back in, which brings us to the next ingredient- citric acid. I already mentioned citric acid above- not the best ingredients.  

V-8 also has 'natural flavors' which , as I also mentioned above, could be anything and are usually highly processed.

If you are going to drink juice, make sure it is cold-pressed and as fresh as possible. I also recommend that you pair it with a protein and/or fat since juice in general can be a less than ideal choice for those with blood sugar issues. Juice is made by extracting all of sugar out of the veggie/fruit and taking out the fiber. Fiber is what regulates the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, so when you drink juice the sugar is going to hit your system full force possibly causing peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels.

The best source for hydration is good old H2O.  If you struggle with the flavor (or lack of) try infusing with lemon, berries, mint or cucumbers. You can find some recipes here.