Q. What’s the healthiest drink option from a local shop?
A. The obvious answer to this question is always going to be water; it’s calorie-free and has no sugar, so it won’t cause any damage to your teeth. You should already be drinking plenty of water every day (6-8 glasses), so if you’re in your local shop you may fancy something with a little more flavour. Here are some suggestions:
Milk: This is a wonderful thirst quencher and it also contains several vitamins and minerals, including plenty of bone-strengthening calcium. The healthier choice is semi-skimmed or skimmed milk. There are also goat, sheep and lactose-free options.
Fruit Juice: One glass of fruit juice (approx. 150ml) counts towards your five-a-day fruit and vegetable portions. It contains plenty of nutrients but it can also be high in sugar so it’s best to drink juice with a meal to prevent the sugar from damaging your teeth. Also, read the label to ensure that you are buying 100 per cent fruit juice and that there isn’t any added sugar. Vary the flavours to ensure a wider variety of nutrients.
Squash, fizzy drinks and flavoured water: They may hit the spot in terms of taste but these drinks don’t have much to offer in terms of nutritional value. They also contain heaps of sugar (and therefore calories) and so should be limited in your diet.
If you choose the diet version of a drink it will have less sugar but in its place will be an artificial sweetener; taking these in large quantities over a long period is probably not a good idea. Also be careful with some of the flavoured waters on the market. While they may seem like a healthy choice they too can often contain a lot of sugar or an artificial sweetener, so always check the label.
Sports drinks Some brands can be found at the corner shop. However, sports drinks should only be used
when you’re training, for a quick energy boost or to rehydrate.
At any other time they should be considered another sugary soft drink. Coconut water is rising in popularity
and this is an excellent choice when you’re thirsty and for replenishing electrolytes (on very warm days or around exercise) so if your local shop stocks this you’re in luck.
Henrietta Bailey is a nutritionist who works as part of the Pure Sports Medicine team (puresportsmed.com). She specialises in sports nutrition and performance, obesity, cardiovascular issues, and diabetes and insulin resistance. She has worked with professional athletes and non-elites. She is a member of the Nutrition Therapy Council (NTC) and the British Association for Nutrition Therapy (BANT).