3 drinks that no one should drink anymore because they lead to weight gain and inflammation
This post has been updated since its original publication date to include more expert insights.
If often suffer from inflammationit is vital to reconsider drinks you consume every day, health experts tell us, to determine what triggers it for you. Many of us sip on flammable beverages without even realizing their power to cause bloating, cramping, weight gain, indigestion, etc. Plus, we checked in with health and nutrition experts to learn about 3 drinks for anyone with frequent inflammation (and who wants prevent weight gain) should be avoided and why. Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Nataly KomovaRD, Registered Dietitian and Fitness Expert, Sarah ChatfieldMPH, RDN, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist and Dana Ellis HunnesPhD, MPH, RD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.
Tip no. 1— Skip the juices, replace them with Kombucha
While replacing any of your favorite high-sugar or high-calorie beverages with water is the optimal solution to inflammation and the best way to do it, it can be difficult at first. If you frequently sip soda, cola, or other similar carbonated and sugary drinks, Hunnes suggests opt for kombucha instead, because it’s an anti-inflammatory, probiotic-rich option. “Probiotics and antioxidants [in kombucha] are anti-inflammatory and can help promote gastrointestinal health by helping to colonize the GI tract with healthy bacteria,” she explains. Komova adds that soda in particular is one of the most inflammatory beverages because it “can also cause insulin resistance and raise cholesterol levels, slowing weight loss.” Overall, preventing inflammation will only help your overall health (and/or) weight loss goals, Komova says, because “inflammation can negatively impact weight loss by altering the body’s leptin responses. ”
The change in these hormones disrupts the brain’s function in signaling to the body that you have eaten to your maximum. “Leptin resistance causes weight gain as individuals unknowingly consume more calories.” The antioxidants in kombucha can not only prevent this and aid your digestion, but also help prevent inflammation, Hunnes notes, while also promoting probiotic health. “Kombucha is also thought to be able to slow the digestion of carbohydrates, possibly in part because of the healthy anti-inflammatory effects it has on the GI tract,” says Hunnes.
#2— Swap energy drinks for lightly sweetened coffee
If you like to wake up with an energy drink, that will only make your inflammatory symptoms worse, says Komova. With so much sugar, fruit flavors and an instant shot of caffeine, energy drinks are popular for their taste, but as Komova explains, their potential to cause inflammation is a significant problem. “I strongly advise you to keep these drinks in your weight loss diet,” says Komova, referring to energy drinks, common drinks that contain stimulant compounds. “Most energy and sports drinks contain added sweeteners, colors and sugars that are harmful to your health,” she continues. These artificial compounds, she adds, can cause chronic inflammation.
“Drinks contain processed sugars and artificial sweeteners that increase the risk of inflammation in the body, delaying the weight loss process.” If you need an energy boost to wake up in the morning, Hunnes recommends drinking plain black coffee (which has no calories, btw) or “lightly sweetened” drinks with plant-based or regular fruit sweeteners that don’t contain sugar.
#3— Avoid sweet tea with sugar, try unsweetened
Finally, super-sweet tea is a tasty treat every now and then, but ultimately should be avoided if you’re prone to inflammation, Chatfield stresses. Drinking this often leads to excessive sugar consumption, which can cause weight gain, she says. Sugar-sweetened beverages, like sweet teas, are big culprits because “we may not perceive them as high-calorie, and our bodies also don’t recognize calories the same way they do from food,” notes Chatfield. This can lead to higher calorie intake later. This, she continues, can lead to changes in fat metabolism. “There is an increased risk of fatty liver disease, where fat builds up in the liver. Too much insulin from high sugar intake can also be harmful to arterial and heart health,” she says, noting that the downsides of sweet tea are about more than inflammation.
To promote your ideal health and prevent inflammation, she recommends sipping unsweetened iced tea instead, as it has health benefits due to its flavonoid content. Finally, the high sugar content of sugary sweet teas (popular teas range from about 28-44 grams of sugar per 12 oz serving) can quickly push you over the maximum recommended sugar intake of 24 grams per day for most women and 36 grams per serving. day for most men. Chatfield concludes that “unsweetened iced tea is the better choice” for this reason and to prioritize and care for the health of your digestive system.
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