During the hot summer days we reach for a refreshing cold drink. It really feels great for a dehydrated and overheated body to cool down with a glass of cold water or lemonade.
Everyone will agree with that. Right?
Unfortunately, the problem is that most of the refreshing drinks (juices, teas, lemonades, sodas) are high is sugar or have artificial sweeteners (the bad ones). If someone tries to lose weight it makes sense to drink a zero-calorie drink. After all it doesn’t have sugar, so it won’t impact our blood sugar levels. Right? Yes and no. Here are some facts.
Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners negatively impact our health. Researchers were astonished to discover that regular drinkers of diet soda were three timesmore likely to develop stroke and dementia. Consuming artificial sweeteners has also been linked to higher rates of depression, kidney damage, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, headaches and migraines, hyperthyroidism, lupus, brain tumors, low blood sugar, and cardiovascular disease!
When we consume diet or sugar-free products, the zero-calorie artificial sweeteners play tricks on our taste buds and on your brain. Your brain senses sweetness, and our bodies expect the calories that usually follow with the sweet signal. Studies show your body can still produce an insulin spike, hence the relationship between sugar-free sweeteners and diabetes.
Another large contributor to the dangers of artificial sweeteners is the effect that they have on the gut microbiome. Artificial sweeteners disturb the bacteria in your gut, which can cause glucose intolerance even in healthy people.
Where can you find artificial sweeteners?
- Diet soda
- Sugar-free desserts (ice cream, sugar-free baked goods)
- Low-sugar/Sugar-free fruit juice
- Flavored water
- Diet iced tea
- Flavored coffee syrups
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Salad dressing
- Packaged Meats
- Sugar-free gum and mints
- Sports and nutrition bars
- Meal replacement shakes and snacks
- Sports drinks
- Sugar-free candy
As you can see, they are everywhere.
So being mindful and reading labels will empower us to make right decisions and keep our focus on our health. How many times we act like in a “hypnotic state” reaching to the nearest “thing” without realizing what damage we are doing to our health. Been there, done that.
Can we quench our thirst the healthy way? Absolutely!!!
Here are the healthy sweeteners:
- Monk fruit
- Coconut palm sugar
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
Just to clarify a few things. If you struggle with insulin resistance you have to be careful some of natural sweeteners. Example dates. They are high in fructose and will cause insulin spike. In that case best bet would be Stevia (powder or drops).
Here are a few tips for healthy cool summer drinks:
- Home-made ice tea
- Flavored water
- Sparkling water (plain or added natural flavor; mint leaves, a few slices of berries or lemon)
- Natural ginger ale (if you are adventurous enough to ferment ginger. More is coming soon on this topic)
- Iced coffee (healthy one; meaning organic coffee with full fat coconut milk or MCT oil)
If you have some great ideas, I would like to hear from you.
One of my favorite summer drinks is homemade kombucha mixed with hibiscus tea. It’s so delicious.
I know, I know…not everyone brews kombucha. I am including a great recipe with strawberries (low glycemic) so everyone can enjoy!!!
1 lbs organic strawberries
8 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Stevia
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!!
You may garnish with slices of strawberries, lemons or herbs to your liking.