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Worst Summer Drinks for Your Health

Last week we went over some of the best summer drinks for your health and hydration. Now here’s a list of the drinks you’ll want to put in the “not every day” category.

Frozen Coffee Drinks: While iced coffee has some health benefits to recommend it, steer clear of frozen coffee drinks that are often loaded with saturated-fat-laden half-and-half and lots of sugar. Plus, these drinks often come supersized, with a small starting at 12 or 16 ounces — a fact that drives up the empty calories. Even made with nonfat milk, these drinks are calorie bombs. One drink from a popular fast food chain packs 560 calories, 12 grams of saturated fat and 93 grams of sugar (while some of that comes from natural sugars in milk, most of the half cup of sugar in this drink comes from the added variety). If you love frozen coffee drinks and just want to know how to order one to make it healthier, go for 12 ounces, skip the whipped cream and order nonfat or low-fat milk.

Frozen Margaritas and Pina Coladas: The thing about these types of sugary cocktails is that portion size can really vary from place to place. So while a small 4.5-ounce drink wouldn’t be the worst indulgence, you may get a double serving of that — and that means double the calories and double the sugar. Go for a cocktail that uses fresh fruit juice (like lime or lemon) and club soda for the healthiest take on this drink. And make sure to stick to a responsible amount. Remember: The recommendation for healthy drinking limits for adults is one drink a day for women, two for men. Also, alcohol is dehydrating — another reason to keep summer drinking in check.

Root Beer Float: No doubt this combination is a summer classic, but you won’t want to make it your go-to dessert. The double dose of sugar from the soda and the ice cream is too much. But if a root beer float is too hard to resist, make it an occasional treat, or split one with a friend.

Bottled Iced Tea: While fresh-brewed iced tea is on my list for healthiest summer drinks, bottled iced tea is a reservoir of added sugars, earning it a place on this list. A 12-ounce bottle of iced tea delivers about 8 teaspoons of sugar. Make your own and you can control the amount of sugar you consume.

Fast Food Smoothies: Here’s another case where it’s well worth it to make your own. While homemade smoothies can be a great way to get healthy foods like fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy into your diet, fast food smoothies are usually comprised of fruit purees and lots of extra sugar. Many of them even use frozen yogurt as a base, instead of plain yogurt, milk or juice. If you are buying a smoothie, opt for a smaller size to keep excess calories and sugar in check.

Milkshakes:Several scoops of ice cream go into one of those nice tall milkshakes, which is why a typical thick chocolate milkshake clocks in at about 550 calories and 95 grams of sugar (that’s equivalent to 23 teaspoons, or almost a half cup, of sugar!). Stick to a single scoop of ice cream for your ice cream fix.

Get more healthy summer tips.

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