The (low sugar) pause that refreshes


It's summer and that means rows of drinks chilling in the cooler, waiting to be grabbed by thirsty shoppers. Staying hydrated is essential for better health: dehydration of just 1-2 per cent can lead to a decline in mental and physical performance and in summer’s heat, meeting fluid needs is especially important.

Water is the natural choice for healthy hydration but for some shoppers, it can seem pale in comparison to the dazzling array of colours and flavours available on the shelf.

What looks like a healthy drink choice might actually have more in common with syrup than water–what’s lurking in many of those brightly coloured fluids is a staggering amount of sugar.

One popular energy drink contains 13 teaspoons of sugar in a large can and another classic cola contains 9 teaspoons of sugar per 355ml. Considering that current recommendations are to keep added sugars below 9 tsp a day, shoppers need healthy options.

You could expand your selection of artificially-sweetened drinks; however, I have another suggestion: go low sugar. There are plenty of beverages on the market that simply add less sugar.

Palates are changing and there are a growing number of customers looking for less sweet (not sickly sweet yet calorie free) options.

Coconut water is one current favourite. With just 60 calories per serving and no added sweetener, coconut water is refreshing and provides electrolytes such as potassium that help replenish those lost during vigorous activity. Coconut water must be served chilled and it is a great option for smoothies too.

New to the iced tea category are those with no added sweeteners or mildly sweetened at just 40 or 50 calories per 473ml.

For an exotic, “super food” option, kombucha is a fermented tea with a natural fizz that comes unsweetened or lightly sweetened by the addition of fruit juice.

For those die-hard soda fans, there are even new “grown up” sodas that ring in at less than 70 calories (just 4 teaspoons of sugar).

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