When you are looking for a refreshing beverage, fruit drinks appear to be healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened colas and coffee beverages. However, they can also be high in calories and sugars, and over-consumption can lead to health concerns. Consume fruit drinks, such as fruit punch, fruit cocktail and other fruit-flavored beverages with a fruit juice content of less than 100 percent, only in moderation -- if at all.
Avoid Unwanted Calories
High-calorie fruit drinks can lead to weight gain if you are not careful. Each 8-ounce cup of fruit drink contains 128 calories, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Consuming 3,500 more calories than you expend can lead to gaining a pound of body weight, and adding 4 cups of fruit drink to your daily intake can lead to gaining a pound of body weight per week. Diet or reduced-calorie fruit drinks, which are lower in calories, can be better choices if you are watching your weight, but they can contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Artificial sweeteners contain no calories, but they may contribute to weight gain by inducing you to overcompensate and eat more calories from other sources, according to an article published in the June 2010 edition of "The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine."
Protect Your Teeth
Eating and drinking sugary foods and beverages can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. The American Dental Association explains that bacteria in your mouth can produce acid when you have sugar or starch on your teeth. An 8-ounce cup of fruit drink contains 28 grams of sugars. To prevent tooth decay, do not sip on sugar-sweetened drinks throughout the day. Rinse out your mouth with water or brush your teeth when you finish consuming your beverage.
Distinguish Fruit Drinks
Pure fruit juice contains 100 percent juice and no other ingredients. Fruit drinks, in contrast, may contain some real fruit juice, but they can also contain added sugars, such as corn syrup, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. These add calories without additional nutrients. Fruit drinks are similar in calorie content to 100 percent fruit juice, with 114 calories in a cup of apple juice. However, fruit juice is a healthier choice because of its higher content of natural nutrients, such as potassium in apple juice, vitamin C in orange and grapefruit juice and folate in orange juice.
Protect Your Heart Health
Sugar-sweetened fruit drinks can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Consuming- added sugars can also lead to higher levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower levels of healthy HDL cholesterol in your blood. High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol increase your risk of developing heart disease. Water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice are alternatives without added sugars.
- University of Kentucky: Making Healthy Beverage Choices
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- American Dental Association: Diet and Tooth Decay
- University of California, Los Angeles: Weight Gain Strategies
- The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine: Gain Weight by "Going Diet?" Artificial Sweeteners and the Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings: Neuroscience 2010