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5 Unhealthiest Sodas

5 Unhealthiest Sodas

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Some sodas are just a bit unhealthier than others

It might surprise you to find out that some of the classics are not among of the top five unhealthiest sodas.

It’s no surprise that soda is far from the healthiest drink choice. After all, we know that it’s loaded with empty calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. But we continue to drink it because we love the carbonation and the sweet taste. Despite its bad reputation, many of us just can’t ditch our favorite soft drinks.

5 Unhealthiest Sodas (Slideshow)

While sodas generally rank very low on the nutrition scale, some are just a bit unhealthier than others, depending on the amount of calories, sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar they contain. If you just have to drink a soda, it's good to pay attention to which sodas have less sugar or calories than others.

It might surprise you to find out that the classic Coca-Cola and Pepsi sodas are not among the top five unhealthiest sodas. But others, including Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, Fanta Orange, and Mountain Dew, are some that you might want to look out for if you’re looking to cut down on your calorie and sugar intake. Take a look at our slideshow to see which sodas are the unhealthiest.

8 Homemade Alternatives to Unhealthy Soda

Soft drinks are the beverage choice for millions of Americans, but these sugar-loaded drink bombs increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Sticking to water is the obvious solution, but if you are looking to break a soda habit going cold turkey can be taxing. For those occasions, homemade versions that rely on wholesome ingredients and much less sugar can be your friend. Likewise, you may not be much of a soda consumer to begin with, but drinking fun things is nice and in moderation, wholesome soda alternatives can add some spark to a party or a hot summer afternoon. (Also consider employing any of these in the mixing of cocktails, that could be fun too.)

6 Fruit Juices That Are Worse For You Than Soda

Should you really drink that glass of OJ instead of that can of Sprite?

This article was written by our friends at Spoon University.

Unless you live in a nutrition-deprived cave, you probably know that soda isn't great for your body. But why isn't there the same outrage against fruit juices as there is against our favorite fizzy drinks?

Fruit juices contain artificial "flavor packs" and are loaded with sugar and calories. Even if the sugar in fruit is fructose, which is naturally occurring, it's still harmful to your body when in juice form. Also, refined sugars may still be added to fruit juices (your glass of lemonade didn't get that sweet without a little help). You can read more about the many horrors of fruit juices in this article.

To help you visualize the unhealthy similarities between fruit juice and soda, here's a list comparing 12 fruit juices and sodas against each other:

1. Welch's Grape Juice vs. Mountain Dew

Welch's Grape Juice has a whopping amount of sugar, around two grams more than Mountain Dew, one of the most sugar-filled sodas you can buy. It also clocks in eight more calories.

2. Simply Lemonade vs. Fanta

Fanta may have more calories, but Simply Lemonade still has an insane amount of sugar.

3. Ocean Spray Cherry Juice vs. Pepsi

While both still have a similarly high sugar content, Ocean Spray's Cherry Juice has more calories.

4. Minute Maid Apple Juice vs. Coca-Cola

Basically the same sugar content, but there are more calories in this nostalgic fruit drink.

5. Dole Pineapple Juice vs. Dr. Pepper

Same story, different characters. This pineapple juice has the same sugar content as Dr. Pepper, but has more calories.

6. Tropicana Orange Juice vs. Sprite

Sprite has almost two grams more sugar than this household favorite, but Tropicana's Orange Juice has almost six more calories for every 100ml.

This listicle is just a microcosm of your supermarket shelf. The dangerous effects of consuming an excessive amount of sugar are too important to be skimmed over in this listicle, but I've discussed the topic more in this article. It's also important to note that because soda also contains high fructose corn syrup, it still is an overall more unhealthy drink. However, juices have an aura of health around them that makes them dangerous, because we're more likely to consume fruit juices more frequently and in excess.

Hopefully this list will make you think twice before reaching for that huge jug of orange juice during your next shopping trip.

What Unhealthy Food May Actually Be Healthy? Reddit Has Some Ideas


The struggle to lose weight and eat healthy every day is quite real. Even the best of us often succumb to unhealthy food cravings every now and then. These indulgences then end up making us feel guilty, thus derailing our efforts towards weight loss. What if we told you there are some foods that are commonly deemed unhealthy but can actually be quite healthy? A Reddit user u/icetea posed a question on r/AskReddit, asking "What unhealthy food may actually be healthy?" The responses offered quite a few interesting ideas. Take a look:

The Reddit thread was quite a hit with users, receiving over 6.8k upvotes and counting. An intriguing discussion ensued, with several suggestions about how the food we consider unhealthy may actually be quite healthy instead. Take a look at the responses by Reddit users:

The Mexican dish can actually be quite a healthy and low-calorie item, depending upon what ingredients are put inside. The recipe usually requires fresh vegetables and sauces, which are not fried and hence can be part of a balanced meal. Some Reddit users wrote to say how eating Tacos actually helped them lose weight.

Vegetable Tacos can actually be quite healthy depending upon the filling.

Several Reddit users talked about how potatoes can actually be quite healthy if eaten in the boiled or baked form. One user explained that potatoes can keep you filled for longer if eaten properly. "Potatoes have an incredibly high "satiety index": that is, how full you feel after eating them," claimed the Reddit user.

Surprisingly, popcorn can be quite a healthy snack as long as the added intake is limited. "Popcorn is overall a pretty low-calorie snack as long as you don't drown it in too much butter and salt," read one of the top comments in the discussion. A few Reddit users also suggested alternative seasonings that could be added to popcorn.

4. Dark Chocolate

Believe it or not, a small amount of dark chocolate is not unhealthy at all. Several Reddit users pointed out that cocoa can actually be a good source of fibre. They also named their favourite bitter chocolate brands which they would indulge in, every now and then.

Dark chocolate consumed in moderation can be healthy.

5. Peanut butter

Peanuts are known to be high in protein, but some people claim that peanut butter contains excess fats. However, natural peanut butter can actually be quite healthy. "Get natural peanut butter that has to be refrigerated and you're good," said one user. However, be careful not to consume it in excess.

It's important not to go overboard on any dish, as anything consumed in excess can be harmful to health. It is always a good idea to consult a nutritionist or dietitian before making any major tweaks to the diet.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

About Aditi Ahuja Aditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.

The Greek root word tonikos means invigorating. Tonic water is made of soda water, quinine and sugar. Quinine is made from the bark of the cinchona tree and gives tonic water its signature bitter taste.

You normally use tonic to mix with liquors like vodka and gin. Some brands use relatively little sugar, but some use nearly 34 grams per 12-ounce can according to the USDA. That's not as much as some sodas, but if you're adding alcohol, the drink becomes even more unhealthy.

Every Major Diet Soda, Ranked by How (Un)healthy They Are

Diet soda has long been advertised as the healthier alternative to regular old fat soda. But as I learned previously while analyzing all the ingredients in Diet Coke, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas (specifically aspartame) will still fuck you up pretty bad: “Even though Diet Coke might not have the calories that a regular Coke does, artificial sweeteners still affect our hormones like insulin in ways that can make us hungrier and reduce the amount of fat we burn,” physician and biochemist Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, told me at the time.

As a result of the above, diet soda might even cause you to gain more weight than regular soda. One 2016 study showed that low-calorie sweetener users tend to have a higher average body mass index, a 2.6-centimeter larger waistline and a 53 percent higher incidence of abdominal obesity compared to participants who reported never using low-calorie sweeteners. Similarly, a 2008 study found that drinking artificially sweetened beverages was associated with an almost doubled risk of being overweight or obese.

For this reason, diet soda manufactures were sued last year for deceiving consumers into believing their beverages would help them lose or manage weight, when in reality, scientific studies have shown that they do the exact opposite.

All in all, diet soda is by no means a healthy choice—shocking, I know—even when compared to regular soda. But among the massive ranks of diet sodas, some are slightly less unhealthy than others. To find out which are least likely to scramble my insides, I asked Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, to help me rank some popular brands, from least unhealthy to most unhealthy.

Since most diet sodas contain more or less the same ingredients, Hunnes explains her methodology: “Basically, the clear diet sodas are the ‘safest,’ because they don’t contain artificial colors, which all seem to be potentially carcinogenic,” she says. “The dark diet sodas all contain caffeine, which isn’t good in high doses. Also, the caramel coloring is likely carcinogenic. Finally, the yellow diet sodas probably have the worst dyes in them.”

Hunnes also mentions that many of the diet sodas listed below contain acesulfame K (also known as acesulfame potassium), which is a calorie-free sugar substitute that may cause cognitive damage when consumed in high amounts over long periods of time.

In reality, the simplest way to rank diet sodas by how healthy they are is to simply lump them together by color, with clear diet sodas being the least unhealthy, dark diet sodas being the most unhealthy and yellow diet sodas sitting somewhere close to the dark ones. (Holy shit moment: This means Crystal Pepsi was the best Pepsi after all.)

But hey, if we can’t be needlessly pedantic in this column, where can we? Let’s get to the rankin’:

1. Diet 7Up and Sprite Zero (tied): Both contain aspartame and acesulfame K, but Hunnes says that these two light-colored sodas contain “the fewest number of questionable ingredients.” That’s because they don’t contain caffeine or artificial coloring.

3. Coke Zero and Diet Coke (tied): These both contain aspartame, acesulfame K and caramel color. “I’m not sure how Coke Zero differs from Diet Coke,” Hunnes says. “The ingredients list looks identical to me.” Shots fired, Coke Zero lovers!

5. Diet Pepsi: “This contains the artificial sweetener sucralose, which is possibly dangerous, and acesulfame K,” Hunnes says.

6. Diet Dr. Pepper: This contains aspartame and high amounts of caffeine.

7. Pibb Zero: This contains acesulfame K.

8. Diet Mug Root Beer: “This contains aspartame and quillaia extract, which is apparently used to treat athlete’s foot,” Hunnes says. Quillaia extract isn’t really anything to worry about, though: It’s frequently used as a foaming agent in root beers.

9. Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Sunkist (tied): “Diet Mountain Dew contains acesulfame K and yellow number 5 dye, which has been shown to possibly cause cancer,” Hunnes explains. “Food dyes terrify me—I don’t let my son eat them.” Diet Sunkist, meanwhile, contains contains aspartame and yellow number 6 dye, which is similarly carcinogenic.

It’s worth noting, however, that Shanahan previously told us that she has no real problem with artificial coloring: “I’ve always been of the opinion that studies claiming artificial colors can cause cancer are irrelevant because [in the studies] they use really high amounts of the artificial colors — like, a million times more than you’d ever get [in your] food [throughout your lifetime].”

Anyway, above all, the main takeaway here is that although clear diet sodas are better than dark ones, there’s no such thing as a healthy diet soda. “Your best bet is to drink carbonated water with fresh fruit juice,” Hunnes says. “I know, I’m such a bah humbug.”

Ian Lecklitner

Ian Lecklitner is a staff writer at MEL Magazine. He mostly writes about everyone's favorite things: Sex, drugs and food.

Fizzy drinks: The best and worst revealed

Jessica Dady December 26, 2019 12:57 am

Do you know which fizzy drinks are the best for your diet, and which are the worst? Find out which fizzy drink scored the highest and is the most healthy drink in our best and worst round-up.

Coke, Fanta, Red Bull, Dr Pepper – whichever your choice of fizzy drink, it’s safe to say they go down a treat with the kids and are a great energy-booster for when the 4 o’clock slump hits. But have you ever considered just how much damage that can of pop could be doing to your diet? And do you know which fizzy drinks contain the most calories?

Whether you like to sip on a Diet Coke, love Irn Bru or are a big fan of Lilt, not all fizzy drinks are the same when it comes to calories and sugar – in fact, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting they count towards your daily calories at all!

Did you know one glass of a particular fizzy drink contains more than seven teaspoons of sugar? Seven! Or that it would take a 10-minute bike ride to burn off the worst culprit’s calories? Some fizzy drinks also contain nasty hidden extras like E-numbers, caffeine and sweeteners, which aren’t great for your health or your diet.

A new survey from Robinsons fruit squash, has found that 62% of UK adults say their children copy their drinking habits – for both healthy and unhealthy drinks – and 8% of children drink fizzy drinks every single day.

Tom Jenane, nutrition and fitness expert said, “Soft drinks are one of the leading factors in the rise in obesity in the UK, with the incredibly high levels of sugar being the main culprit. Even when you’re eating something a bit naughty, it will normally contain some vitamins or minerals which are good for you, but there is nothing healthy in a fizzy drink.”

Tom continued, “You can also reach your maximum recommended daily intake of sugar within a single can of some fizzy drinks.

“The higher the item is on the glycaemic index, more it will create a rapid increase in blood glucose and will be broken down very quickly, while sugary drinks are one of the worst offenders. This is without even considering the effects on your teeth, as they are highly acidic, which will cause erosions to your enamel.

A high sugar intake, leading to weight gain, is connected to various health issues such as diabetes type 2 and heart disease.”

TODAY Food's take on the list? The key is to look for store-bought versions that are made with very few ingredients, and watch out for the sodium. Sure, we make some condiments at home, too, but nobody's perfect and don't even try to take that bottle of Sriracha out of our hands before we're done squirting it. Here are the healthiest (and unhealthiest!) condiments, ranked.

The creamy spread comes in at 94 calories per tablespoon. Ugh, sometimes it's better to pretend not to know these things.

13 Healthier Alternatives To Your Favorite Junk Foods

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Sometimes healthy foods taste like leaves and dirt, especially when compared to junk food. But eating healthy has tons of benefits. Spoon University has an alternative: give into your cravings, but swap it, don’t stop it. Here’s a list of our favorite healthy alternatives to our favorite junk foods.

1. Potato Chips

Instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips, try kale chips. Okay, we admit that we’re not the biggest fans of kale, but kale chips are pretty good. Or, if you don’t have any kale, use lots of vegetables (or fruits) to make great veggie chips.

2. Fries

Photo courtesy of

Instead of frying potatoes, why not try baking them in coconut oil? Get all the health benefits of coconut oil while giving those fries that crunchy, crispy texture. Who says all good fries have to be fried?

3. Mac & Cheese

Throw away that orange stuff in a box and make your own by adding some butternut squash in place of elbow macaroni. It will give your mac & cheese more texture and a hint of sweetness.

4. Candy

If you’re ever craving something sweet, grab some fruit, which has lots of natural sugars that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Try frozen grapes, which will last you weeks. Once you run out, go for a frozen watermelon on a stick, which won’t drip all over your hands and cause a sticky mess.

5. Pizza

Delivery pizza is the ultimate college student comfort food, but there are also lots of undiscovered healthy pizza recipes that are just as cheap and easy to make. Make pizza bites with zucchini, mini pizzas with eggplant or mushrooms, or make your pizza out of cauliflower crust to add veggies to your diet and reduce your carb intake.

6. Ice Cream

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Penfold

Ice cream is amazing but eating too much isn’t as amazing. Instead of eating ice cream for every meal, swap it out for vegan “ice cream” made of blended frozen bananas and a few other ingredients. There are so many different variations, you’ll never get tired of it.

7. Pasta

If you can’t cut pasta out of your diet, try replacing it with spaghetti squash. If you don’t like the texture of squash, try making your own pasta using a spiralizer. You can now enjoy penne pasta with balsamic butter sauce without the guilt.

8. Pancakes

You’ll go B-A-NAN-A-S for this super easy pancake recipe. It only requires two ingredients, and one of them is (you guessed it) bananas! Using bananas adds sweetness to these pancakes, so you’re not going to need any maple syrup to top it. If you want to change up your pancake game, you can also make these banana oat pancakes for an early morning energy boost.

9. Pudding

Photo courtesy of The Sassy Cook

If you don’t believe that chia seeds soaked in almond milk tastes just as good as your favorite pudding, give your overnight oats a rest and try this chia seed pudding. The proof is literally in the pudding.

10. Cookie Dough

Photo by The Cookie Dough Cafe

Cookie dough can sometimes be better than cookies, even with the risk of getting Salmonella from eating raw eggs. Luckily for you, Spoon University has a no-bake vegan cookie dough bite recipe that swaps flour for oats and chickpeas (don’t worry, you don’t even taste the chickpeas!).

11. Chocolate

You can easily satisfy your chocolate craving by munching on a few dark chocolate squares. Or, if you want to eat it in a dessert, try this chocolate mousse or a few dark chocolate avocado truffles. Use cocoa powder liberally because it is good for you.

12. Soda

Photo courtesy of

Water is the healthiest thing for you, but it’s hard going from soda to water. To make that transition for you easier, Kombucha was invented. If you want to drink something quickly without going out, just add fruit to your water.

13. Mashed Potatoes

Who needs that buttery Thanksgiving side dish now that you have mashed cauliflower, which tastes lighter and more flavorful than its mashed potato relative? You don’t even need to cover it in gravy, since the garlic and the onions in this recipe already give it the perfect flavor.

How to Make Homemade Evaporated Milk

Since this recipe only makes two drinks you won&rsquot need very much evaporated milk. You can store the remaining homemade milk in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for your next batch of tea.

  1. Place 1 cup of whole milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Bring the milk to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer the milk for 20 to 25 minutes until it&rsquos reduced by about half.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool before using. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Which tea is best for making this Thai milk tea recipe?

Traditional Thai Iced Tea uses a Thai tea mix that comes in powder form. For a healthier version and this recipe, you&rsquoll want to use black tea. You can either use loose tea and place it in a tea infuser or cheesecloth. The best option though is to use tea bags, which are less cumbersome for this recipe.

Can Thai Iced Tea be Made Dairy-Free?

Yes. Switch all of the dairy ingredients with canned coconut milk and you&rsquoll have a delightful dairy-free Thai iced tea recipe. Just make sure to shake the can before opening it. Then stir the coconut milk before adding it to the tea.