This post has been updated since its original publication date to include more expert insight.
If you suffer from inflammation frequently, it’s vital to reevaluate the beverages you consume daily, health experts tell us, to determine what’s causing it for you. Many of us drink inflammatory drinks without even realizing that they should also avoid bloating, cramping, weight gain, indigestion, etc. and who wants to avoid weight gain), and why. Read on for tips, suggestions and insights from Nataly Komova, RD, Registered Dietitian and Fitness Expert, Sara Chatfield, MPH, RDN, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, and Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.
Tip #1 – Skip soda, replace with kombucha
While replacing one of your favorite high-sugar or high-calorie drinks with water is the optimal solution to inflammation and the best way to go, it can be difficult at first. If you frequently sip soda, colas, or other similar fizzy and sugary drinks, Hunnes suggests opting for kombucha instead, as it’s a probiotic-rich, anti-inflammatory option. “The probiotics and the antioxidants [in kombucha] are anti-inflammatory and can help promote GI health by helping to colonize the GI tract with healthy bacteria,” she explains. Komova adds that soda, in particular, is one of the most inflammatory drinks out there because it “may also cause insulin resistance and raise cholesterol levels, slowing down weight loss.” Overall, preventing inflammation will only help your overall health (and/or) weight loss goals, as Komova says, since “inflammation can negatively affect weight loss because it alters leptin responses in the body. ”
Altering these hormones impairs the brain’s function of signaling the body that you’ve maxed out. “Leptin resistance causes weight gain, as individuals tend to unconsciously consume more calories.” The antioxidants in kombucha can not only help prevent this and aid your digestive health, but also help prevent inflammation, Hunnes notes, as well as promote the health of the probiotics. “It is also thought that kombucha may slow the digestion of carbohydrates, probably in part because of the healthy anti-inflammatory effects it has on the gastrointestinal tract,” says Hunnes.
#2— Swap energy drinks for lightly sweetened coffee
If you like to wake up using an energy drink, it will only make your inflammatory symptoms worse, says Komova. With so much sugar, fruity flavors and an instant serving of caffeine, energy drinks are popular for their taste, but as Komova explains, their potential to cause inflammation is a notable concern. “I strongly advise you to keep these drinks out of your weight loss diet routines,” says Komova, referring to energy drinks, which are the usual drinks that contain stimulants. “Most energy and sports drinks contain added sweeteners, dyes and sugars that are harmful to your health,” she continues. These artificial compounds, she adds, can cause chronic inflammation.
“The drinks contain processed sugars and artificial sweeteners that increase the risk of body inflammation, slowing down your weight loss process.” If you need an energy boost to wake up in the morning, Hunnes recommends drinking either regular black coffee (which has zero calories, by the way) or “slightly sweetened” drinks with vegetable or monk fruit sweeteners that don’t. contain sugar.
#3— Avoid sugary sweet tea, try unsweetened
Finally, super-sweet tea is a delicious treat once in a while, but should ultimately be avoided if you’re prone to inflammation, Chatfield points out. Drinking these often leads to excess sugar consumption that can cause weight gain, she says. Sugar-sweetened drinks like sweet tea are a big culprit because “we may not think of them as high in calories, nor do our bodies recognize the calories the same way they do food,” notes Chatfield. This can lead to more calorie intake later on. This, she continues, can lead to changes in fat metabolism. “There is an increased risk of fatty liver disease, where fat accumulates in the liver. Too much insulin from a high sugar intake can also be detrimental to artery and heart health,” she says, noting that the downsides of sweet tea are more than just inflammation.
To promote your ideal health and prevent inflammation, she recommends sipping unsweetened iced tea instead, as it has health benefits due to its flavonoid content. Ultimately, the high sugar content of sugary teas (popular teas ranged from about 28-44 grams of sugar per 12 oz serving) can quickly put you above the maximum recommended sugar intake of 24 grams per day for most women and 36 grams per day. day for most men. Chatfield concludes that “unsweetened iced tea is a better choice” for this reason and to prioritize and care for your digestive health.