You get a message from a friend from high school you haven’t talked to in years, and they are telling you how this new health drink changed their life. They are experiencing clearer thinking, more energy and weight loss. I don’t like to knock individual companies but any drink that claims it will be the cure-all for everybody is full of it. No diet or drink will work for everybody, and many of these drinks have ingredients that aren’t good for anybody.
The only thing that drink is changing for your friend is their pocketbook. Whether you are buying your drink from the store or one of those multi-level marketing companies there are some things to watch out for. Just because you see sport figures chugging Gatorade or just because that Vitamin Water sounds healthy doesn’t mean they are good for you. Check the ingredients for any allergens and if you haven’t been tested… get tested! I also have 7 ingredients to watch for that are dead giveaways that the health drink isn’t healthy, because we aren’t all nutrition nerds.
7 Signs Your Health Drink Isn’t Healthy: Ingredients to Avoid
1 – Soy
There are so many problems with this very inflammatory food. Soy is an endocrine disruptor that will massively change how fast your testosterone converts to estrogen. What does this mean? It turns little boys into little girls and it turns little girls into women too soon. That’s why we are seeing higher rates of precocious puberty. Soy massively down regulates your thyroid creating hypothyroidism, which is something to consider for anyone experiencing thyroid problems. On top of all that, it’s one of the most genetically modified foods out there. When we know all this about soy, how can it be in a health drink?
2 – Whey
Whey is a cheap protein and not one that you will find in a quality health drink. It’s the leftover waste product from the cheese-making process. It is a dairy product that is a frequent allergen and is inflammatory for all people, because cow’s milk was made for baby cows not humans. A high-quality protein like bone broth or collagen is a better sign of a nutritious option.
3 – Folic Acid
Folate is what is used to add B9 and folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. There should be no folic acid on the label of your drink. Your body can break down folate easier than folic acid. Folic acid needs to be broken down in the liver. That means the body needs to find a methylation pathway in the liver. If you have liver problems or methylation issues, it can mean that a lot of folic acid can accumulate building up to toxic levels. Your B9 needs to be in the form of folate not folic acid.
4 – Cyanocobalamin
This one shows up on the list for similar reasons to folic acid. Cyanocobalamin is a cheap way to add the Vitamin B12 to your drink. It’s a less usable form than methylcobalamin and can be much harder on the liver especially for those with any sort of liver or methylation problems. You don’t want cyanocobalamin, so look for methylcobalamin as the better quality ingredient. Reputable companies that are knowledgeable in nutrition will use higher quality ingredients despite the cost.
5 – Sugar
Beware if the first ingredients of your drink are sugars that are bad for you. When sugar leads the way it’s never a good thing. Watch out for fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, high fructose corn syrups and other processed sugars. Sugar is an anti-nutrient. Offering no significant amounts of vitamins or minerals while robbing your body of precious nutrient stores. Want to learn more about why sugar is bad for you? Check out our article, Sugar’s Bitter Aftertaste.
6 – Sucralose (or other artificial sweeteners)
A packet of Splenda can reduce the healthy bacteria in your gut by 50%. You need that gut bacteria! The first thing we work with new patients to rebuild is there gut because you can’t rebuild the rest of your body without it. Use of artificial sweeteners has been linked to insulin resistance, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more. If your health drink is using an artificial sweetener it’s not healthy at all.
7 – Food Colorings
If your health drink has artificial colors in it that’s a strong clue that your health drink is not healthy. It’s simple – food colorings will never be a health food!
Watch What You Drink
Sometimes we are so careful about our foods, but our drinks are an afterthought. They can be full of extra calories, processed sugars and poor-quality ingredients. Some of them are loaded with so many ingredients it’s hard to know what your body really needs, and if there are so many different “healthy” ingredients are you really getting beneficial amounts of any of them? Not everyone is a nutritionist. With so many ingredients to look at, watch for the 7 signs your health drink isn’t healthy.