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Drinking Habits That Are Making Your Favorite Beverages Unhealthy

Avoid these caloric mistakes the next time you cozy up with one of these drinks.

From boosting your energy in the morning to calming your mind at night, drinking a hot beverage plays an integral role in many of our daily routines. While every drink has its own unique set of benefits, depending on how they're consumed, there can also be multiple drawbacks. However, as highlighted in Consumer Reports, there are several quick and easy fixes to ensure you're getting the most out of your favorite hot drink.

Read on to discover the drinking habits that are making your hot beverages unhealthy, and for more, check out The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.

When Drinking Coffee…

pouring milk into coffee

Drinking coffee is tied to several health benefits, ranging from increased metabolism and an improved mood to reduced risk of diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's, and heart disease. However, what you put into your cup of joe makes all the difference. Creamers and sweeteners not only add calories, but they can also cause blood sugar spikes, increase inflammation, and contribute to various health issues.

Additionally, the time at which you drink your coffee can affect your sleep, Consumer Report notes. According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, drinking coffee even six hours before going to bed could disrupt your sleep.

When Drinking Tea…

green tea being poured into cup

Whether you're drinking green tea to kickstart your day or sipping on some chamomile to wind down before bed, tea has been shown to work wonders for the body. However, like coffee, the ingredients in your tea could be counteracting the health benefits. Chai tea, for example, is rich in antioxidants, but many of the packaged versions often feature "syrupy concentrates," Consumer Reports notes.

On top of being mindful of what's in your cup of tea, it's also important to let it cool before gulping it down. In a 2019 study, researchers found that those who drank tea that was hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit and consumed more than 700 ml per day (about two large cups) had almost double the risk of esophageal cancer.

When Drinking Hot Chocolate…

hot cocoa

Cocoa is chock-full of polyphenols—especially flavanols—which have been shown to lower inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. But processing cocoa can reduce the polyphenol content, and adding sugar and flavorings can cut the drink's healthy qualities. According to Consumer Reports, "Those trendy hot chocolate 'bombs' can deliver 20 grams of sugar or more, several times the recommended daily max."

To get your hot chocolate fix without letting your health fall by the wayside, Consumer Reports recommends combining cocoa powder, warm milk, and a teaspoon of sugar per mug.

When Drinking Hot Apple Cider…

apple cider

This aromatic beverage does more than elicit vivid images of the fall. It's also packed with inflammation-fighting polyphenols that can reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Like the other beverages, the health benefits can be reaped by drinking apple cider in its simplest form, meaning without added ingredients like caramel and cinnamon syrups. Consumer Reports also advises to avoid unpasteurized or "raw" apple cider, as it's been connected to outbreaks of E. coli and cryptosporidium infection.

For more, check out 5 Coffee Habits to Help You Live Longer, Say Dietitians.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna
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