Drinks can add empty calories to your daily diet so it's important to stick to the healthiest options whenever possible. But even then, not all beverages are created equal. So how do you know what's best? When the choice is between milk and juice, diet soda and seltzer or even enhanced water versus tap, we've taken calories, nutrition and occasion into account so you know what to drink and when.
Diet Soda vs. Seltzer
Stick with seltzer: A 2008 study from Purdue University showed that rats who ate yogurt with saccharin ended up eating more later and gaining more weight than those who were given yogurt with regular sugar. Some experts speculate that artificial sweeteners can hamper appetite regulation. Also, soft drinks' high levels of phosphoric acid can affect bone density, says Lona Sandon, RD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas.
The winner: Seltzer
Milk vs. Juice
Each one has its own benefits. "Having 100 percent juice is an easy way to get some fruit into your day, and it provides a variety of important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients," says Heidi Skolnik, MS, a certified dietitian-nutritionist and coauthor of Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance. On the other hand, milk has much-needed calcium and vitamin D, along with protein. The solution: Have both, one with breakfast and the other as a midmorning snack.
The winner: Tie
Sports Drink vs. Energy Drink
"Sports drinks are designed primarily to keep you hydrated while giving energy in the form of calories," says Skolnik. "Energy drinks are more about providing a stimulant." So if you're doing an athletic activity, reach for a sports drink. "Energy drinks aren't great hydrators-and if you drink too much at once, you can feel anxious and queasy," adds Skolnik.
The winner: Sports drinks for activity
Vitamin Water vs. Regular Water
Your body will absorb vitamins from vitamin water as it would from a supplement. "But check labels carefully for amounts," says Skolnik, and consider cost: Most multivitamins are pennies per pill; one serving of a vitamin water costs nearly 10 times more. "You're better off taking a multivitamin and spending your money on fruits and vegetables," says Skolnik.
The winner: Regular water
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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