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These are the three drinks you should replace this summer

Every year, North Texas weather climbs well above 100 degrees during the summer months. What a person chooses to drink during this time can make the difference between enduring the heat or being well prepared for (and even optimizing sports performance during) the summer months.

Although there are a multitude of drinks and foods that we advocate be consumed in the summer, this blog focuses on three drinks that we recommend most people take a hard look at and replace, if necessary.

Diet Soda

Non-sugared beverages like diet soda often contain sodium and if these beverages are consumed on a routine basis along side other hidden sources of sodium like condiments, salad dressings, packaged bars, crackers and sweets, they can be dehydrating. Diet soda often contains non-caloric sweeteners in the form of aspartame, sucralose or erythritol. One of which is not recommended in pregnant women due to it crossing the placenta and being present in amniotic fluid, and one being associated with increased blood clotting. Lastly diet soda contains phosphoric acid, which can impact calcium absorption in people who don’t eat or drink as many calcium rich foods which is associated with low bone density. 

What should you drink instead?

  1. We take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables available in the summer months and make infused water. Some of our favorite combinations include: mint and lemon; cucumber and lime; raspberries and blueberries. You can buy an infuser or use a large pitcher and simply strain your fruits and herbs before drinking.
  2. Low-fat dairy products are a great base for smoothies and protein shakes. Low-fat dairy like 2% milk can also stand alone with a meal and serve as a refreshing cold beverage rich in calcium. We should also note that plant-based unflavored milks are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D and are great choices as well. 
  3. If you need electrolytes because of underlying health conditions or your physical activity level, consider an electrolyte replacement beverage without added sugar or artificial sweeteners. We like tablets and powders that we can mix ourselves with water as premade sports beverages so often contain additional unnecessary ingredients.
  4. Pre-biotic soda is an alternative to carbonated sugared beverages and diet beverages that can provide additional fiber into a person’s diet but be selective if you choose to drink these and read the source of flavorings and sodium content.
  5. Sparkling water is not created equal. Choose waters without added sodium, sugar and alternative sweeteners. Use citrus fruits to flavor your own. 


Alcohol is often poured freely in the summer months and we want you to be informed of some tasty and nutrient dense alternatives. Alcohol intake is associated with increased cancer and cardiovascular disease risk and in most cases when we’re asked the answer is, “less is more,” so here are our top alternatives to alcoholic beverages:

1. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains beneficial bacteria and yeast that boosts gut health and in turn, mood and immunity. We like opting for kombucha with minimal added sugars and pair with frozen fruit in a fun glass.

2. Sparkling water and citrus or sparkling water and a fruit based iced pop. We routinely combine plain sparkling water and an upside down fruit based iced pop to create a tropical inspired mocktail that rivals the refreshing flavor of daiquiris and pina coladas. Ask us for brand recommendations.

3. Non-alcoholic spritzers, wine, beer and mixers are readily available in liquor stores and online. They vary in sugar content and flavor profiles and most often still contain calories and sugar, so they are best used in moderation.

4. Hot herbal tea is a great replacement for alcohol consumed in the evening for two reasons. First, consuming hot beverages in the evening can help lower body temperature and prepare you for sleep. Second, herbal teas like tumeric and ginger provide properties associated with anti-inflammation, which can help with a multitude of health conditions like arthritis and heart disease.

5. Sometimes a person drinking alcohol needs some support to cut back and that’s okay. If you feel like you could benefit from drinking less alcohol, but don’t know where to start, the CDC offers a free and anonymous online screening tool with printable action plan afterwards. It is called, “Check Your Drinking”.  Even if you don’t choose to use this tool, we recommend anyone who feels like alcohol is keeping them from living a full and healthy life to reach out to a trusted healthcare provider for support and guidance in next steps. 

Energy Drinks

One of the most popular beverages we have seen teens and young adults drink in the last 5 years has been energy drinks. They can be troublesome for anyone experiencing anxiety, poor sleep or stress because of their high caffeine content (for reference: many energy drinks contain the same amount of caffeine that is in 3 cups of coffee in just one can). They are also associated with arrhythmias, poor appetite and GI distress. If you’d like to replace these beverages, here are some tips for swaps:

1. Choose drinks with less caffeine first before going “cold turkey”. This will minimize any unwanted side effects from lowering your caffeine intake. Opt for brands with less added herbals and vitamins as well. Many tout B12 additives for increased energy however this is unnecessary.

2. Swapping out energy drinks for similar tasting carbonating products is a challenge. The closest flavor profile we have found is iced green tea with a splash of unflavored seltzer water. Green tea still contains some caffeine but offers more nutrient density. Green tea contains antioxidants associated with lower cholesterol, blood pressure and bacteria related to dental hygiene. It can be flavored with small quantities of honey to reduce bitterness. 

3. Often times we find that when a person is choosing an energy drink because they are wishing to make up for poor sleep or they need more energy and focus to prepare for an increased work load. The cycle will not be broken unless proper rest and time management is addressed. Nutritionally, we specialize in personalized precision nutrition for many adults seeking a more balanced lifestyle.

Summer can be an opportunity to refresh your beverage choices and create lasting beneficial new health habits. Drinking less diet soda, alcohol and energy drinks are just three ways to improve total body wellness. We’d love to hear how you have swapped out your beverages for the better in our comments. 


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