The 5 Worst Summer Drinks for Your Health

The summer heat can get to your head… But don’t let it affect your beverage choices. Here are five of the worst summer drinks and their healthier alternatives.

Last month, Health Watch readers discovered the hidden sources of trans fats to avoid at all costs. And you may already know which foods protect your heart… But do you know how to pick out healthy drinks?

The summer heat may have you craving something cold and sweet…but they’re likely full of harmful ingredients. And there’s a good chance you have no idea.

That’s why we’ve put together this important Friday Five for you… Here are five of the most dangerous summer drinks.

1. Lemonade: Whether it’s from the freezer section of your local grocery store or from your favorite coffee shop… Most lemonade packs a deadly dose of sugar.

A medium lemonade may have as much as 58 grams of sugar in it.1 And don’t think the tea-lemonade mixtures are any better… Some of them have 32 grams or more in them.2 Not to mention drinking lemonade often can give you heartburn.3

It makes the stomach too acidic. We mentioned last Friday that low stomach acid aggravates GERD symptoms. But too much is just as bad. Balance is key.

Go for a mixture of fresh-pressed fruit juices instead. You’ll still want to limit the amount you drink if you choose fruits naturally high in sugar. These tend to be the ones you crave around this time of year… Like mango or pineapple.

2. Blended Fruit Drinks: Like lemonade—you would think something made with fruit would be good for you. But would you eat four blackberries, a strawberry, 31 black currants, five white grapes, an apple, half an orange, and half a banana…in one sitting?

That’s exactly what you’d be drinking if you had one Innocent Blackberries, Strawberries and Blackcurrants smoothie…4 Along with 27 grams of sugar.5

This brand of smoothie is sold in the U.K. But look at Odwalla’s Berries Gomega juice smoothie blend. You can get it in the U.S. It has 45 grams of sugar per serving.6 That’s six more grams of sugar than a Coke.7

This one is an easy fix… Pass up any refrigerated juice at the store. Go for a homemade smoothie instead. Make it with less fruit or fruits with less sugar. Add vegetables—like spinach or kale. Your local raw juice bar may have healthy options as well.

3. Frappuccino: A grande Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino from Starbucks not only contains 75 grams of sugar… It’s bursting with 77 grams of high glycemic carbs. Those are the kind that put you at risk for diabetes.8 And that’s just the medium-sized beverage…

The bottled ones you’ll find in stores can have up to 32 grams of sugar. That’s on top of the 37 grams of carbs.9

Our advice? Blend your own coffee drink. Start with organic coffee and ice. Add coconut milk for the creamy texture. If you’re craving something sweeter, add a small amount of honey. Or mix in some organic cacao or cinnamon powder for extra flavor.

4. Coolatta: A frozen coffee Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts has 43 grams of sugar in it… It weighs in at 400 calories… And that’s the smallest size.

It’s not surprising that a donut shop would serve something high in sugar and calories… But did you know they’re also serving up trans fats? It’s likely in their whipped topping.

A small Coolatta contains 0.5 grams. And the large has 1.5. It may not seem like a lot, but any amount of this unnatural fat is putting your heart health at risk.

You may recall that they cause up to 100,000 premature heart deaths a year in the U.S. Skip these health nightmares. Make your own with the ingredients we recommended in number three. Just be sure to skip the cream.

5. Sports Drinks: You may think Gatorade or Powerade are great drink options on a hot day… But they aren’t much better for you than sugar water. In fact, they’re worse.

The neon colors in these drinks are anything but natural. And they’re not in there to improve your health… The makers of Gatorade say they add them to “provide visual appeal and help reinforce the flavor perception.”10

Studies show artificial food dyes may cause behavioral issues—like hyperactivity. Worse yet, they’re linked to cancer.11 And this is in addition to the corn syrup or sugar they use to make it sweet.

Our favorite natural sports drink is coconut water. It has the perfect balance of naturally occurring sugars and electrolytes—like potassium. No artificial colors or added sugars here.

Use these tips to make better beverage choices this summer—and for summers to come. Do you already have a favorite healthy alternative to an unhealthy summer drink? Tell us what it is below.

In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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The summer heat can get to your head… But don’t let it affect your beverage choices. Here are five of the worst summer drinks and their healthier alternatives.


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Health Topic: Cancer | Diabetes | Diet and Nutrition | Heart and Cardiovascular | Top 5's | Weight Loss


  1. William H. Martin says:

    Please cover Lyme disease sometime. (If you have already done so, I missed it and don’t see mention on your site.) Thanks, WHM

  2. joyce McCrackem says:

    I am 83 and having trouble losing weight.. I have had both knees replaced so certain programs like yoga are out. Any suggestion?? Also at this age I do forget
    some things any help before I forget everything??

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