When we talk about healthy diets, we often leave out something of critical importance: artificially sweetened drinks.
When choosing a beverage to drink with a meal, it is important to account for factors such as the amount of sugar, nutrients and fats that these can add to your diet.
As the USDA Food Guide (U.S. Department of Agriculture) states, “Regular soft drinks, energy drinks or sports drinks and other sugary drinks contain a large amount of calories from added sugars and are low in nutrients.”
The suggestion is to make water your main drink to go with meals and in between meals, and try to drink as much as your body asks for.
Dairy beverages are also an important part of a healthy diet, as they are a good source of key nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and potassium. These beverages should be low or fat-free, however, and should not exceed the recommended daily allowance. With milk, for example, the recommendation is 2 cups for children ages 2 to 3; 2½ cups for children ages 4 to 8; and 3 cups for older children, adolescents and adults.
Another healthy option are 100% natural juices, but due to the calorie content of fruits, you should watch your daily consumption: adults should drink no more than one glass of juice and children should drink no more than between ½ and 1 cup.