A healthy diet is very important, and the subject of a lot of talks. We speak of fat, carbs, and fiber in relation to what we eat day after day. But in all the discussions about a healthy diet, we usually forget about drinking, which is equally important for our health.

Consuming enough fluid, through food or drinks, is important, but we should be mindful of the source of these fluids as well. Many of the most popular drinks come with extra ingredients that will alter our metabolism, and maybe even have negative effects on our health.

Drinking Sugar

We all know that sugary drinks are bad for us, mostly because of their high-calorie content. A 12 oz (approximately 350ml) serving of cola can contain up to 39 grams of sugar, worth 140 calories.

This is not only a direct attack on our waistline but also a bad choice for our teeth. Other drinks have similar sugar content – fruit-flavored drinks, energy drinks, and even store-bought lemonade can boost your sugar intake for the day.

Drinking sugary drinks has several negative effects beyond contributing to our fat deposits: they contribute to tooth decay, they cause a spike in insulin production, which can lead to sugar cravings and insulin resistance.
Drinking sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners seemed, for a time, a great low-calorie alternative to sugar. This led to the release of a series of “diet” drinks, which indeed had less calories, but came with other – rarely beneficial – effects on our bodies.

One of the popular sugar alternatives in drinks is acesulfame K, 200 times sweeter than sugar, which is suspected to have a carcinogenic effect. Most research on its health effects has been done on animals, though, which makes them inconclusive.

It has been shown, in turn, to boost insulin secretion, which might lead to low blood sugar levels. Aspartame, another popular sweetener, has a long list of side effects, but most of them are based on anecdotal evidence.

It has been linked to various neurological disorders, from headaches to seizures, panic attacks, and visual hallucinations. Other sugar alternatives, like Tagatose and saccharin, to have adverse effects on our bodies, including our nervous system.

Drinking food coloring

Most processed foods come with muted – or sometimes unappealing – colors. The same is true for drinks, especially for those. To correct this, manufacturers use a series of food colorings, which are often of artificial origin. And some of them might have negative effects on our health.

Some colorings, combined with widely used preservatives, have been shown to cause hyperactivity-like symptoms in children. While most evidence on the negative effects of colorings were dismissed as inconclusive, not much research has been done on their health effects.