Drinks to Consume in Moderation

Artificially sweetened drinks

  •  Research suggests that artificially sweetened drinks may contribute to weight gain. Because sweet “diet” drinks may condition you to crave other sweet drinks and foods, drinking “diet” drinks has the possibility of leading to weight gain.
  • Moreover, the other health effects of artificially sweetened diet drinks remains largely unknown. It’s best to limit them if you drink them at all, and for a refreshing drink with flavor try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to plain water.

Learn more about artificial sweeteners.

100% fruit juice

Fruit juice has vitamins, but it is high in calories from concentrated fruit sugars, so stick to no more than a small glass (four to six ounces) a day. If you’re in the mood for fruit, enjoy a whole piece of fruit which is much lower in sugars than its juice equivalent and contains the added benefit of fiber.

Milk

There’s no need to drink more than a glass or two of low fat or skim milk a day. Less milk is fine if you get your calcium from other sources.

For children, milk is a key source of calcium and vitamin D, protein and other essential micronutrients. The ideal amount of milk and calcium isn’t exactly clear, but no more than two glasses per day appears to provide sufficient nutrition without being excessive.

Low-fat milk, sold as 1% or 1.5% milk, or skim milk, which is virtually fat-free, have long been considered the best choices because they contain much less saturated fat than reduced-fat milk or whole milk, which contain 2% and 4% milk fat, respectively. However, even low-fat milk is high in calories, and high levels of consumption may increase the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers. Additionally, a 2013 article noted that replacing whole milk with reduced-fat milk may cause harm if sugar or other high-glycemic carbohydrates are substituted for fat. (28) It’s best for adults to limit milk (and all dairy products) to one or two glasses a day.

Learn more about beverages and bone health.

Alcohol

  • Non-drinkers shouldn’t feel that they need to start drinking.

Isn’t alcohol supposed to be good for you in small amounts?

For some people, alcohol consumption can offer health benefits, whereas for others alcohol may pose risks. Learn more about the risks and benefits of alcohol.

Do some types of alcohol offer greater benefits than others?

Some studies have suggested that red wine—particularly when consumed with a meal—offers more cardiovascular benefits than beer or spirits. Despite the healthful compounds identified in red wine, epidemiological studies have not confirmed that a specific type of alcoholic drink, whether wine, beer, or spirits, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

References

28. Ludwig DS, Willett WC. Three daily servings of reduced-fat milk: an evidence-based recommendation? JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(9):788-9.

 

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