In the beginning, there was water—abundant, refreshing, providing everything the body needs to replenish the fluids it loses. Humans relied on it as their only beverage for millions of years. Milk was introduced with the advent of agriculture and the domestication of animals. Then came beer and wine and coffee and tea, all consumed for taste and pleasure as much as for the fluids they provide. The newcomers—sugary beverages including soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks—offer hydration but with a hefty dose of unnecessary calories that the body may have a hard time regulating. Alternatively, “diet” drinks offer sweetness without the calories, but does that make them a healthy choice?
With so many options, it’s easy to be confused about which beverages are best for our health. Follow the links below for an in-depth look at each, but if you’re short on time, here’s the takeaway:
- Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. Coffee and tea, without added sweeteners, are healthy choices, too.
- Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including fruit juice, milk, and those made with low-calorie sweeteners, like diet drinks. Alcohol in moderation can be healthy for some people, but not everyone.
- It’s generally best to avoid sugary drinks like soda, sports beverages, and energy drinks.
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.