As you enter middle age, your body starts to undergo various physiological changes, which makes it even more imperative to eat healthy foods and engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise of moderate-intensity (such as a brisk walk) each week.
Knowing which drinks to keep in your meal plan can make a huge difference down the road, but deciding which beverages to nix from your diet might seem like a stab in the dark—especially as nutrition science is seemingly ever-changing.
Eat This, Not That! consulted a group of health professionals who helped us assemble a list of drinks you may want to consider cutting out of your life (or at least reducing your intake of) by the time you turn 50. By keeping an eye out for these refreshments, you can reduce your sugar intake and potentially stave off some chronic diseases, studies suggest.
After, don't forget to read The Best and Worst Foods for Women Over 50 for more advice from a registered dietitian.
Once you hit a certain age, you may want to consider reducing your sugar intake, and one of the sugariest beverages of them all is Coca-Cola.
"I'd recommend people over 50 avoid drinking regular Coca-Cola," says Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG, creator of The Kidney Dietitian. "Like all soda, Coca-Cola is packed with sugar. Although some sugar is okay, sugary drinks like soda tend to add dangerous amounts of sugar to our diet. All this sugar can cause heart disease and other health issues."
Aside from consuming an inordinate amount of excessive sugar, Betz says a little-known side effect of regularly sipping on sugary beverages, like Coke, is that they can also increase your risk of kidney stones.
"Regular Coca-Cola, most fruit juices, punch, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks can cause kidney stones," she says. "Kidney stones become more likely the older you get, so this may be extra motivation to avoid those sugary drinks."
"Fruit in its natural form is highly nutritious that is loaded with fiber and powerful antioxidants," says Clara Lawson, RDN, who also works with USA Hemp. "But unfortunately, fruit juices eliminate all the nutrients and minerals of fruits and replace them with tons of sugar and calories that are definitely bad for people over 50."
If you suspect your go-to juice brand packs in a ton of unnecessary sugar, there's still hope that it's filled with naturally occurring sugars from fruit. Make sure to check out The 7 Best 'Healthy' Juice Brands & Which To Avoid at All Costs to see if your favorite juice makes the naughty or healthy list!
Special coffee drinks
"A plain cup of coffee with a limited amount of sugar is good for health but coffee drinks that have added creams, whipped toppings, and sugary syrups should be avoided by older adults," says Lawson. "The fancy versions of coffee exceed your daily recommended intake of sugar and put you at a higher risk of developing metabolic diseases."
To see if your favorite coffee drink falls into this not-so-healthy category, reference 13 Terrible Ways You're Ruining Your Coffee.
Now, here's one drink a certified nutrition coach advises steering clear of…
Inexpensive white wine
If you enjoy white wine, it likely feels like a punishment to remove this from your diet. But, before you go and clear out your bar cart, there's a solution. Once you hit 50, it may be a wise idea to spend a little bit more money and indulge in a white wine that cuts down on both sulfates and sugar.
"After the age of 50, those who consume alcohol may want to consider switching from white wine to red wine," says Lisa Richards, CNC, creator of The Candida Diet.
Cheap white wines will often contain sulfates and sugar that can be more damaging than brands made with more care, she explains. Red wine tends to get most of the attention for its antioxidant content. Antioxidants, specifically resveratrol found in red wine, may offer the body some protection against free radicals.
"However, white wine should not be too quickly disregarded for not having similar benefits," Richards adds. "While the antioxidants may not include resveratrol, there is still a high antioxidant load in many white wines."