Trendy detox, energy drinks put to test
How healthy are the popular drinks?
HOUSTON – You've probably seen some of these trendy drinks at the gym, in the grocery store or even on the menu at some restaurants.
We were intrigued by their growing popularity, so we asked Bethany Thayer, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Henry Ford Hospital, to evaluate the potential risks and benefits of five trendy beverages.
Of all the trendy drinks, Bulletproof Coffee certainly sounds the most appealing. So what is it?
"Bulletproof Coffee is actually a branded product," Thayer said. "It takes coffee, mixes in two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and a tablespoon of MCT oils or medium chain triglyceride oils."
Fans of Bulletproof Coffee claim it kills cravings, boosts energy and makes you feel more focused.
But Thayer cautions it also contains 20-plus grams of fat.
"It's a lot of calories being given to something that started out as calorie-free," Thayer said. "Most of us don't need those extra calories. From the weight-loss perspective, people drink it in place of breakfast.
"Unfortunately, what happens then is they aren't getting the nutrients that you would traditionally get from breakfast foods, and those don't seem to be made up for as the day goes on."
Sarah Shurge was picked to be the taste tester.
"You can actually kind of taste the butter in it," Shurge said. "I love coffee and I don't think I would drink that."
So-called 'tea-toxes' are also attracting attention, claiming to help cleanse the body of toxins and encourage weight loss.
"We don't know enough about the herbs that are in them. Herbs are not regulated," Thayer said.
Thayer said some herbs can have serious side effects. Others interact with medications, including birth control pills and blood thinners, making them less effective.
"Because they're not regulated, we recommend not consuming them," Thayer said. "The best detox out there is actually your liver, so I tell people who are interested in detoxes that actually what you want to do is take care of your liver."
Kombucha is a trendy drink that's actually centuries old.
"Kombucha is a tea, usually is a black or green tea, where a bacteria, yeast and some sugar has been added to it and then it's fermented," Thayer said.
Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, can help with digestive health, but Thayer cautioned that with kombucha, it's buyer beware.
"You need to be very careful in the fermentation process. It can become too acidic. It can have too high an alcohol level. It can get contaminated with another bacteria or fungus. So if you're drinking kombucha, you need to be very very careful of the preparation of it or trust where it's coming from," Thayer said.
Kombucha has a vinegar smell, and the taste?
"Oh, that's terrible. Oh, it's so bad," Shurge said.
Let's just say, perhaps it's an acquired taste.
Another ancient remedy gaining new fame is bone broth.
"Bone broth is exactly what it sounds like," Thayer said. "It's putting the whole carcass, chicken, turkey, whatever, into a pot, and putting some herbs and spices into it for some flavoring, and then you just boil it for a long time and then strain it and you've got your broth and you drink it."
Thayer said bone broth does contain nutrients that are essential for healthy bones, teeth and skin.
"It certainly helps with hydration, and it also helps a little bit with weight loss, because if you have a little bit of broth soup before you eat a meal, you're likely to eat less," Thayer said.
And the taste?
"It's warm. Kinda makes you feel good. I would cook with this. I don't think I would just sit and drink it, but I would cook with this," Shurge said.
Our last trendy treat coconut water is a hit with many athletes.
It's the clear liquid found in green coconuts that's naturally high in potassium.
"Americans in general aren't consuming enough potassium, so it's a good way to get potassium," Thayer said. "If you like the flavor, it is good for hydration, but so is water, so whichever one you like."
Just be careful to pick a product without added sugar, and don't expect it to taste like coconut.
"Its not coconut, that's for sure," Shurge said.
But it was refreshing.
"I think out of all of them, this is probably the best," Shurge said.
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