Are you planning to travel across the country this summer? If so, you may be tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant, ice cream chain, or convenience store in search of a sweet treat. If you’re not careful, however, the treats you choose could blast your calorie intake for the day clear into outer space. Those harmless, once-in-a-while treats tend to add up when we travel, and before you know it you’ll be blowing your sugar intake and calorie consumption way out of proportion.
Not sure what to avoid? Thanks to the research done by the folks at Men’s Health and several other firms, we’re able to share quite a few of the worst drinks in the United States. Keep your eyes peeled for these diet disasters.
9. Chai Tea Lattes
Tea is healthier than coffee, right? Not if you’re drinking a chai tea latte, which is usually filled with fatty milk and lots of flavoring and sweeteners. The large chai tea latte drink at Caribou Coffee, for example, packs about 420 calories. You’re better off making a regular cup of tea, drinking an unsweetened latte, or even sipping that cup of coffee you were trying so hard to avoid.
8. Frozen Coffee Drinks
Frozen coffee drinks may seem like a great alternative to a hot cup of coffee during the summer months, but they’re almost always packed with extra sweeteners, most of which can’t be removed from the blend when you buy. You can get light versions, but the average drink is made with whole milk and lots of syrup. The result? Compare whatever you get to Cosi’s Gigante Double Oh! Arctic drink. It has 1,033 calories for you to work off.
Most health conscious beverage sippers already know soda is bad, but some sodas are definitely worse than others. A great number of soda manufacturers have actually taken a recent pledge to reduce the number of calories in their beverages. Let’s hope the makers of Sunkist, which packs 190 calories and 52 grams of sugar per serving, takes the hint.
6. Light Beer
Beer, in general, is packed with calories, but don’t be fooled by beers that claim to be light in calories. Samuel Adams Light, for example, claims to be a light beer but has 123 calories per bottle. That may not seem like a lot, but consider how many you kick back while watching your favorite sports program each weekend. Why not opt for the lighter, 60 calorie versions instead (and keep better count of how many you’re drinking).
5. The Pina Colada
Who wouldn’t love relaxing by the pool with a cool, refreshing pina colada in the summer? While they taste good, most people don’t realize exactly what can be found in this incredibly sweet drink. Coconut milk and pineapple juice are full of fat and sugar, which is probably why this drink clocks in at 625 calories and 75 grams of fat. Ouch!
4. Fruit Juice
Don’t be fooled by juice drinks that claim to be made with fresh fruit, or that have fruity names. They look good and sound good, but the real truth is that they almost always have more high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) than any other ingredient – and they almost always have very little real fruit juice in them. A classic example? The Arizona Kiwi Strawberry juice beverage. It claims to be refreshing, but a can packs a whopping 360 calories and has 84 grams of sugar. You’re better off eating fresh fruit.
3. Healthy Juices
Walk into a local convenience store and you’re bound to see a wide variety of healthy juice alternatives in the coolers. The truth is that while some of these juices actually include healthy ingredients, they neglect to remove some of the stuff that really isn’t good for you at all. Do you love drinking VitaminWater every day? The bottle only contains 130 calories, but it has an astounding 33 grams of sugar. Not as healthy as it sounds.
A cup of coffee or two is harmless, right? The average American drinks at least one or two cups per day. The bad news is that most flavored coffees from coffee shop chains are packed with tons of extra calories, no matter how “lite” you try to make them. Take, for example, the 2% Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha drink from Starbucks (Venti-sized). That thing packs a whopping 660 calories, has 22 grams of fat, and packs an astounding 95 grams of sugar. Instead, try to make your own coffee and buy your own sugar-free flavorings.
1. The Heath Bar Shake from Baskin Robbins
We’ve got to get specific when it comes to the absolute most unhealthy drink in America. If you’re a fan of Baskin-Robbins (and we know we are), you’ll definitely need to make a special effort to avoid the Heath Bar Shake. This drink will destroy any diet, clocking in at 2,310 calories (no, that’s not a typo), 108 grams of fat, and 266 grams of sugar. We feel sick just thinking about it.
The average person traveling doesn’t stop for just a drink, either. Add a few calorie-packing snacks or burgers to the menu, and you could easily pack on a few pounds over the course of the summer. Be conscious of your beverage choices as you travel – your waistline is depending on you!