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7 Worst Summer Drinks

Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
7 Worst Summer Drinks

What if you could turn this ongoing heatwave into an opportunity to lose weight—without exercising or changing what you eat?

Here's all you have to do: Think before you drink. A lot of what's offered at the supermarket and the corner convenience store is likely to make this summer only more miserable—by adding inches to your waistline.

According to a study in the journal Obesity, liquids account for more than 20 percent—some 450 daily calories—of the American diet, and most of this is sugar. Another study from the University of Minnesota demonstrated that added sugars are directly linked to weight gain. We're drinking ourselves fat!

But that doesn't mean you have to spend the summer feeling drier and tired. All you need to do is make some smart swaps, and start shedding pounds! A third study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that cutting liquid calories resulted in greater weight loss than cutting food calories. That's right—it's not what you eat, it's what you drink. You can lose more weight by cutting sugary drinks than you can by eliminating burgers and hot dogs. With that in mind, I've unearthed the most devious calorie offenders you're likely to encounter this summer, compliments of Drink This, Not That! This summer, you'll not only feel cooler—you'll look hotter.

Vitaminwater#7: WORST WATER
Vitaminwater Multi-V (1 bottle, 20 oz)
125 calories
0 g fat
33 g sugars

As long as companies continue to sell multivitamin pills and your sink's faucet keeps spitting out tap water, you have no excuse to ever uncap one of these faux health drinks. This bottle has more sugar than a Snickers bar, so if you must indulge, opt for something from Vitaminwater's calorie-free Zero line. Or better yet, try Smartwater. It contains electrolytes that can help keep you hydrated when you're sweating out in the sun.

Drink This Instead!
Glaceau Smartwater (1 bottle, 24 oz)
0 calories
0 g fat
0 g sugars

DROP 15 POUNDS FOR SUMMER: You can lose a couple of inches fast—and without dieting. Follow me on Twitter right here for daily weight-loss secrets. And win a chance to show off your new body and tell your success story in Men's Health or Women’s Health by joining our Fit for Life Summer Challenge!

Sunkist#6: WORST SODA
Sunkist (1 can, 12 oz)
190 calories
0 g fat
50 g sugars

Soda is one of the more condemnable sources of calories in the American diet. It doesn't even bother with the pretense of nutrition—it's pure sugar, plain and simple. But among the throngs of terrible sodas, Sunkist is the worst. A better option: Izze. 70 percent of this bottle is filled with real fruit juice, completely eliminating the need for added sugars. It's still not as healthy as real fruit, but it's a sizeable upgrade from carbonated high fructose corn syrup.

Drink This Instead!
Izze Sparkling Clementine (1 bottle, 12 oz)
120 calories
0 g fat
27 g sugars

SoBe Energize Green Tea (1 bottle, 20 oz)
240 calories
0 g fat
61 g sugars

Leave it to an "edgy" American beverage company to corrupt green tea, a natural wonder of the nutritional world. SoBe's product is merely a saccharine simulation of green tea, with "natural flavor" preceding "green tea extract" on the nutrition label. Gulp down one of these bottles and you've taken in the sugar equivalent of seven Popsicles. Go with Honest Tea instead—it has more than 80 percent less sugar and uses organic, fair trade green tea.

Drink This Instead!
Honest Tea Community Green Tea (1 bottle, 16 oz)
34 calories
0 g fat
10 g sugars

DON'T BE FOOLED! These misleading nutrition claims will add inches to your waistline: 25 Healthy Foods That Aren’t.

Orange Julius Lemon Julius#4: WORST LEMONADE
Orange Julius Lemon Julius (medium, 20 oz)
360 calories
0 g fat
94 g sugars

If you were drinking straight lemon juice, you could tip back 15 cups, or 120 fluid ounces, and still not reach the sugar impact of this icy, lemon-esque beverage from Orange Julius. So save yourself from sugar's flabby impact by switching to Chick-fil-A's low-cal lemonade. It blunts the typical sugar tariff with a dose of sucralose, which eliminates a clean 340 calories of added sugars.

Drink This Instead!
Chick-fil-A Diet Lemonade (medium, 20 oz)
20 calories
0 g fat
2 g sugars

DID YOU KNOW? Many salads aren't as light and summery as they seem. Don't miss our shocking list of the 20 Salads Worse Than a Whopper.

Dairy Queen Caramel MooLatte (medium, 16 oz)
660 calories
19 g fat (15 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
90 g sugars

How is it that such a simple, healthy beverage like coffee can be so mistreated by fast-food purveyors? Dairy Queen's MooLattes, for example, are essentially fat-bloated milkshakes with a little coffee blended in, and the caramel version has nearly as many calories as five White Castle sliders. Want a caffeinated indulgence? Switch to Starbucks' Coffee Frappuccino. It's plenty sweet but saves you more than 400 calories. But be warned: While the Coffee Frappuccino is safe, some of Starbucks' other Fraps aren't so forgiving.

Drink This Instead!
Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino with 2% milk (Grande size, 16 oz)
230 calories
2 g fat (1 g saturated)
49 g sugars

Smoothie King Strawberry#2: WORST SMOOTHIE
Smoothie King The Activator Strawberry (32 oz)
834 calories
1.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
134 g sugars

Judging solely by name, you'd think this beverage were some sort of metabolism-boosting superfruit, but in reality it's a hyper-sweetened smoothie filled out with 550 calories of pure sugar. In Smoothie King's defense, it also delivers nearly 30 grams of protein, but that's not nearly enough to justify the caloric impact. Unless you you're a body builder looking to maximize your caloric intake, leave this blended beverage behind the counter where it belongs.

Drink This Instead!
Jamba Juice Strawberry Nirvana (Power size, 30 oz)
300 calories
0.5 g fat
58 g sugars

HEALTH SHOCKER: Beware—Mr. Salty is running loose at your local supermarket and in your favorite restaurants! Click here to check out our shocking list of the 30 Saltiest Foods in America.

Cold Stone Shake#1: WORST MILKSHAKE
Cold Stone Creamery Oh Fudge! Shake (Like It size, 16 oz)
1,250 calories
70 g fat (45 g saturated)
127 g sugars

At Cold Stone, "Like It" is the small size. If you upgrade to "Gotta Have It," which denotes a large, you're facing 1,920 calories—nearly a full day's energy in one cup. The truth is, milkshakes represent some of the most concentrated calories that will ever cross your lips, so when you find a good one, you should take notice. Outside of what you might make in your own kitchen, the shake below from Baskin-Robbins is about as good as you're going to find. Order it with Premium Churned Chocolate Milk Ice Cream and it floats in at just 500 calories. That's a lot, to be sure, but it's better than the alternatives. Just save it for an occasional treat, and always offer to split with a friend.

Drink This Instead!
Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Shake (with Premium Churned Milk Chocolate Ice Cream) (small, 16 oz)
500 calories
16 g fat (10 g saturated)
73 g sugars


TID Lady Member
Mar 17, 2011
those are all still a lot of calories and sugars! i think i will stick to H2O