Coffee drink

What drink should you choose?

Ever wondered about the nutritional value of your favourite drink?

While we’re fortunate enough to have many different beverage products available for purchase, it can also bring a lot of questions with it.

Which drinks are worth the health halo and which ones should we avoid?

Our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller, reviews a few drinks to help sift through the confusion for you.

1. Coffee

Are you a caffeine obsessed, ‘don’t talk to me before coffee’ type of person?

Well, good news, coffee can actually have some health benefits!

Drinking coffee can potentially reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. This is likely due to the antioxidants found in coffee.

However, there can be some downsides of regular or excessive coffee intake, such as insomnia and ‘see-sawing’ energy levels.

If weight management is your focus, most regular sized café coffees will provide approximately 100-150 calories. But be careful with what size you order, how many you have each day, any sugars added and what else you might consume at the same time (i.e. sweets!).

If you’re looking to reduce your calorie intake, ask for skim milk or unsweetened almond milk, or better still, go for black coffee.

2. Soft drink

Australians are among the biggest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world, with soft drinks accounting for most of these drinks.

Unfortunately, soft drink doesn’t provide any real nutritional value and is full of unnecessary sugar and calories (a 370ml can of soft drink contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar!).

There is a strong association between regular soft drink consumption and excess weight, reduced bone density, tooth decay, asthma, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

We do have diet and no-sugar soft drinks options available which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. These add very little calories and no sugar to the diet and so won’t contribute directly to weight gain, and can be enjoyed on occasion.

So, if you have to drink soft drink, choose the diet or no-sugar options.

3. Juice

You may think of juice as a healthier alternative to soft drinks, but even 100% fresh fruit juices contain a large amount of sugar.

It often requires a few pieces of fruit to make just one glass of juice and, while fruit juice will provide some vitamins and minerals that we get from the fruit, it doesn’t provide any of the fibre that fresh fruit would.

Fibre is important to make us feel full and so it is quite easy to consume a large amount of juice (and therefore sugar) in one go.

Consider this; you wouldn’t normally sit down and eat 3-4 oranges in one sitting, but you could very easily consume this in one glass of orange juice.

Instead of drinking juice, it’s best to choose whole fruit or choose 100% vegetable juice. If you do drink fruit juice, stick to small amounts (125ml) and have it less frequently.

4. Kombucha

This is a slightly sweet, slightly acidic, fermented beverage made from water, tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast.

Kombucha is a lower calorie and lower sugar alternative drink to others such as juice or iced tea. Kombucha is a potential source of probiotics and so may provide benefits to gut health.

Most manufacturers don’t comment on the variety or quantity of probiotic strains in their products and studies investigating kombucha are limited.

The health properties of kombucha, however, are likely to be similar to drinking tea or other fermented foods and can be a great low calorie, low sugar, refreshing alternative to soft drink.

5. Sports drinks

Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are advertised to replenish glucose, fluids, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) lost through strenuous exercise.

These drinks can benefit athletes, or those who engage in intense exercise, to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweat, particularly during long-duration exercise, therefore reducing the risk of dehydration.

So, do YOU need to drink a sports drink? Sports drinks are probably unnecessary for most gym-goers.

Drinking water is sufficient to rehydrate after light-moderate exercise that is less than one hour.

For those trying to lose weight, you may also want to consider the calorie content of these drinks and that you may be consuming back the calories you were trying to burn through exercise.

6. Water

At the end of the day, water is the best fluid for us.

Water makes up the majority of your body weight and is critical for your body’s proper functioning.

We are continually using and losing water that then needs to be replaced. We require approximately 35-45ml of fluid per kg of body weight per day, mostly from water.

To help increase your water intake, try taking a water bottle around with you or adding some fruit or tea infusions for flavour.

You can also utilise sparkling water for some extra fizz.

Keep reading about nutrition

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Need help with your diet?

Call 9304 0500 or book online to make an appointment with our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller. We can’t wait to help you!

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 27 July 2022.

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