Eat This, Not That: The worst summer drinks

By David Zinczenko

Men's Health 

Between swimming, sweating, and sipping, summer is a season of liquids. And while staying hydrated is important, how you do so can have a critical impact on your waistline. Currently, liquid calories make up a staggering 21 percent of the American diet, and a study from Purdue University found that sugar-based calories (as most of them are) appear to lower satiety, making you hungrier the more you drink. To help you get a handle on the problem, here are six beverages that will drown your diet this summer—and six others that will keep you in swimsuit shape all season.

Worst Shake

Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shake (Large, 32 oz)

1,600 calories, 72 g fat (46 g saturated), 181 g sugars

Calorie Equivalent: 8.5 Krispy Kreme Donuts!

Each scoop of Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream contains 300 calories, firmly placing it among the worst creams in the country and helping to explain this shake’s egregious calorie count. But even built from a more moderate scoop, 32 ounces of any shake would be problematic—that’s not one dessert, it’s four! Most disturbing of all, this chemical concoction contains no fewer than 40 ingredients. If you absolutely must have a drink at Baskin-Robbins, switch to a Mocha Cappuccino Blast and downsize to a small—it’s your best possible option.

Drink This Instead!

Baskin Robbins Mocha Cappuccino Blast (Small, 16 oz)

400 calories, 13 g fat (9 g saturated), 48 g sugars

BLOWN-UP BEEF: Ice cream is hardly the first victim of supersizing—over the past thirty years, burgers have nearly doubled in calories! Check out the 1,000-plus calorie iterations that make up the 11 Worst Burgers in America.

Worst Smoothie

Smoothie King Peanut Power Plus Grape (40 oz)

1,460 calories, 42 g fat (6 g saturated), 214 g sugars

Calorie Equivalent: 39 Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies!

If you threw a PB&J in a blender, this smoothie is what you’d end up with. Only difference is, it would take about 24 Smuckers Uncrustables to match this massive sugar load. The problem with this smoothie isn’t the ingredients—among them, peanut butter, banana, and honey—it’s the proportions. Combine calorie-dense foods like these in one drink, and it doesn’t matter how much nutritional heft they might pack on their own—together, they’ll only add heft to your midsection. Stick with the fruit-based Celestial Cherry High, which is bolstered by 4.5 grams of fiber. Make this swap just twice a week and you’ll lose nearly 9 pounds by the end of the summer!

Drink This Instead!

Celestial Cherry High (32 oz)

385 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 83 g sugars

GRILLS GONE WILD! The grill in your backyard can provide some of the leanest, most delicious food you’ll eat this season. But the oil-drenched griddles of restaurant kitchens? They’re often to blame for fat-infused fare like The 20 Worst Grilled Foods in America.  

Worst Coffee Drink

Dunkin' Donuts Frozen Coffee with Cream (Large)

860 calories, 51 g fat (33 g saturated), 91 g sugars

Calorie Equivalent: 14 Fudgsicles!

This slushy cup of joe holds as much saturated fat as two whole cups of half and half! The problem? Opting for cream as your dairy base. In a regular DD beverage—say, an iced coffee—adding cream would only tack on about 60 calories. But choosing cream over skim milk in this case instantly adds an extra 440 calories to your drink! And if it’s a jolt you’re after, keep looking—the only coffee to be found in this drink is “coffee extract.” Go with the iced latte instead, which is made with real, metabolism-stoking espresso.

Drink This Instead!

Iced Caramel Mocha Latte (Medium, made with nonfat milk)

260 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 51 g sugars

JAVA JILT: Coffee can be a great ally in the fight against flab, helping to speed up your metabolism and improving brain function. Just be sure not to order one of The 6 Worst Coffee Drinks.



Worst Energy Drink

Original Rockstar (16 fl oz)

280 calories, 0 g fat, 62 g sugars

Calorie Equivalent: 8 cups of Movie Theater Butter popcorn!

You know what won’t give you energy? Carrying around all the extra weight you gain drinking these over-sugared “functional” drinks. This beverage is filled with exotic-sounding ingredients that promise to charge you up, but the bottom line is that sugar alone accounts for 248 of the 280 calories in a 16-ounce can. That’s not energy, that’s a sugar crash in the making, and enough empty calories to pad you with 27 extra pounds over the course of a year. Rockstar Recovery provides the same supplements, but with a fraction of the carbs and calories. (Get the full scoop on performance-boosting beverages here, with The Truth About Energy Drinks.)

Drink This Instead!

Rockstar Recovery (16 fl oz)

20 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g sugars

Worst Beer

Goose Island Pale Ale

208 calories, 21.1 g carbohydrates, 5.9% ABV

Calorie Equivalent: 82 Cheddar Goldfish Crackers!

Craft brews, like Goose Island’s, tend to be higher in both calories and alcohol than mainstream beers, so if you plan on enjoying one, keep it to one. But for those times when you plan on drinking a few, switch over to a light beer to keep the calories from quickly escalating. Consider this: a six-pack of this pale ale eclipses 1,200 calories. If you drink three, you’re 600 calories down, and that’s likely on top of your regular, food-based caloric intake. A good compromise is Michelob Ultra Amber, which is slightly more complex than most domestics. (Have trouble keeping your malts and hops straight? Consult our Essential Guide to Beer.)

Drink This Instead!

Michelob Ultra Amber

95 calories

3.2 g carbohydrates

3.9% ABV

Worst Cocktail

Frozen Margarita (12 oz)

675 calories, 0 g fat, 83 g sugars

Calorie Equivalent: 11 Entenmann's Pop'Ems Powdered Donuts!

Frozen margaritas are a triple threat: first, the calorie count is invariably high; second, an average glass can pack more sugar than a pint of Haagen-Dazs Crème Brulèe ice cream; and third, the salt rim can knock out nearly a day’s worth of sodium in an instant. Instead, opt for sangria. You’ll get antioxidants from the wine, including heart-healthy resveratrol, and an added boost of nutrients from the fruit.

Drink This Instead!

Sangria (12 oz), 225 calories, 0 g fat, 24 g sugars

SKINNY FOR SUMMER: Believe it or not, your grill is one of the world’s most effective weapons against body fat. Harness the flame with the all-new Grill This, Not That! Backyard Survival Guide. It’s jam-packed with protein-rich recipes and fat-busting tips that will keep you slim and well fed through Labor Day.  

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