Best low-calorie drinks

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With summer here, and more runners hitting the outdoors, we thought we’d look at a few low-cal drinks. If you got others you’d like us to test out – send them to BPE.

Many of the drinks use the sweetener Stevia. A few things about it: Yes it is one of the most natural non-nutritive sweetener because it comes from a plant.

What people are really digesting is a concentration of  steviol glycoside or a chemically altered version of the leaf. Some countries such as Japan call it the miracle sweetener while some studies claim it is a carcinogen. It’s been said to help with diabetes and heart disease. Japan has used it since 1970. The FDA approved it in 2010. Do the math – that’s 40 years later. Why is that not a surprise?  Hey, as with everything, consume it in moderation.

But three low-cal drinks stand out, especially in terms of flavor, which – let’s face it is a major selling point.  Our favorites:  Bai5, SoBe Lifewater, and Vitamin Water XXX. But seriously if you want that real taste of fruit, get some real fruit. But if you want a liquid form that’s more than water and something fast, easy and goes down smooth – check these out.

Bai5 is a fruity drink – a little too fruity for some of the flavors but it really depends on your taste buds.  We found the Clementine to be quite tasty and with only five calories – that’s a major plus. The drink is infused with antioxidants that contain coffee, which is a real plus to the coffee addicts and fruit sweetened with an organic Stevia extract.  Thirty five mg of caffeine is a great picker upper. The bai5 drinks come in Panama Peach, Sumatra Dragonfruit, Jamaica Blue Berry, and Costa Rica Clementine.  The bottle costs about $2 or a case of 12 at Amazon for about $20. Buy in bulk and save a few bucks.

Ingredients: filtered spring water, erythritol, orange juice concentrate, natural flavors, coffee fruit extract, white tea extract, stevia extract, citric acid, pectin, fruit and vegetable juice for color.

Fooducate gives it overall a B grade for most its flavors.  Not bad from a pretty tough critic. We tried this one out recently. Quite popular with teens. The four pack didn’t make it through the day. All we heard from our tasters – More Please!

vitwaterVitamin Water: XXX has the best taste of all the vitamin waters, which can be quite bland. Named for its triple antioxidants formula, it  does the trick in quenching  thirst and gives you that replenishing feeling after a great run. Buy in bulk to save a few bucks or pay over a buck for one bottle. And some reviewers suggest dump the  OJ and replace it with Glacéau’s Rise Zero Vitamin Water a extremely healthy alternative. Local grocery chains sell a six pack for about five bucks.

What does Fooducate say? – Not the best grade – C.

In fact, Fooducate gets a little more nasty suggesting the extremely successful marketing campaign should really tell the consumer what is in the drink. To quote Fooducate: : “This is what the ingredient list should read: water, sugar, colors, needless vitamins & minerals. Here is the actual ingredient list:

Reverse Osmosis Water, Cane Sugar, Crystalline Fructose, Citric Acid, Vegetable Juice (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor, Berry and Fruit Extracts (Acai, Blueberry, Pomegranate and Apple), Magnesium Mate (Electrolyte), Calcium Lactate (Electrolyte), Monopotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Cyanocobalamin (B12).”

Yeah, we get the marketing strategy. By the way what the hell is “reverse osmosis” anyway. And no one is fooling anyone with this “cane sugar.” It’s not any better that just sugar. So lets just call vitamin water what it is – water, sugar, colors. But at least it’s better for you than Coca Cola.

SBSoBe Lifewater – Not bad and lots of flavors to choose from zero to 15 calories in a 20 oz bottle,  and 2 grams of sugar. Want a little more zip and sugar try the coconut one with eight grams of sugar but 35 calories. You burned a lot off after doing that long run – so maybe you deserve it. Buy in bulk or pay  about $1.50 per bottle. But here’s the best thing about the Lifewater – you can get one with ZERO calories.  For example, Acai Fruit Punch has 0 calories, 25 mg sodium, 6 grams total carbohydrates, and 100 percent vitamin C. Check out these flavors: Acai Fruit Punch, Strawberry Dragonfruit, Black and Blue Berry, and Yumberry Pomegranate.

Fooducate  grades fluxuate in the C range.

What’s your favorite low-cal drink?

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