Ah, the beverage aisle—quite possibly one of the least healthy aisles in the grocery store. While most of us know to avoid the sugars, artificial sweeteners and unnatural preservatives to be found (in huge quantities) in this area, even when we're buying better beverages, health concerns lurk in the prepackaged drink aisle. It’s not just the contents of those drink packages we need to be concerned about. Drink packaging itself is rife with unhealthy ingredients.
Most beverage cans in the United States are lined with the potentially dangerous hormone-mimicking chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is able to leach into foods it comes in contact with—in particular liquids. So that can of soda (even the all-natural kind) may contain a lot more than water, sugar and flavoring. It may well also be laced with chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, obesity, diabetes and cancer, among other health issues.
Unfortunately, choosing plastic bottles over canned beverages isn't a good alternative. #7 plastic (look at the recycling code on the bottom of the bottle) is also made with BPA. But most beverages are packaged in #1 plastic, which is often BPA-free. Unfortunately, recent studies have found that nearly all plastics release estrogen-mimicking chemicals, and its ability to mimic estrogen is suspected to be the cause of the various health effects caused by BPA .
Lest you think you must ban all drinks besides water, consider the better alternatives. Glass is a safe, inert and recyclable material, and many natural sodas and sparkling waters are packaged in it. You can also make your own much healthier beverages using combinations of herbal teas, fruit juices and sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar, or make your own lemonade or sodas at home.
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