Summer Cocktails and healthy lemonade


The sun is shining, the air is warm and the nights are long. I crave thirst quenching, refreshing, sweet and sour drinks in the summer. But the usual fizzy drinks, concentrated fruit juices and sugar laden or diet beverages are not the best choice.

Want to know why? Let's compare three types of soft drinks

"Coke" contains about 12 teaspoons of sugar.

The sugar in coke is likely to be high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has been reported to have quite a strong negative effect on health. HFCS comes from genetically produced corn and is in a free unbound form, D-fructose.

Once consumed it is not recognised in the human Krebs cycle for conversion to blood glucose in any significant quantity, which means it is not a very good source of energy.

Instead the fructose is converted into triglycerides and adipose tissue (body fat). This chemical difference is very significant for people that are obese as in a recent study obese people who drank HFCS drink with a meal as opposed to a glucose sweetened drink had 200 per cent higher levels of triglycerides levels.

This high level increases insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Phosphoric Acid. May interfere with the body's ability to use calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis or softening of the teeth and bones. Phosphoric acid also neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which can interfere with digestion, making it difficult to utilize nutrients.

Caffeine. Caffeinated drinks cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects, and perhaps some forms of cancer.

So it’s best to limit your intake of this chemical, and that limit will vary from person to person.

But consider the relative size of a child consuming a can of fizzy drink, to an adult and the proportion of these chemicals is far greater and will have a greater effect on their smaller, developing body.

"Diet coke" contains no sugar but do contain an artificial sweetener.

The most common sweeteners used are aspartame and sucralose.

Aspartame is definitely not a healthier alternative. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumours, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures.

It has been labelled an excitotoxin, which is a substance that excites nerve cells to the point of death of the cell, particularly the cells in the brain. It’s made up of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol, a wood alcohol.

The methanol portion of aspartame is broken down in the body to form formaldehyde which causes all sorts of damage to the body and has been linked to cancer, depression and headaches amongst others.

Orange Juice

The sugar in orange juice is much closer to a real, whole food than coke and is a naturally occurring fructose called L-fructose, which is bound to other sugars and is part of a complex that includes fibre, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

However there is far more fructose in a glass of orange juice than you would get from eating an orange and it takes 8 oranges to make a glass of orange juice.

When you consider there can be 2 teaspoons of sugar in each orange, which means there are up to 16 teaspoons of sugar per glass of orange juice, about the same as a glass of coke. 

The other thing to consider with fruit juices is whether they are concentrated, pasteurised and have any artificial additives. Pasteurisation will heat the juice and damage most of the antioxidants and phytonutrients, and most of the juices available in the shops whether they are in the fridge or not, will be pasteurised.

Look for ‘raw and unpasteurised’ on the label to be sure. When you eat a piece of fruit you are consuming not just the fruit sugar within it, but also the fibre and all the other vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which makes it a whole food and a whole lot more healthy for you.

The methanol portion of aspartame is broken down in the body to form formaldehyde which causes all sorts of damage to the body and has been linked to cancer, depression and headaches amongst others.

Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are the amino acid part of aspartame and when consumed they enter the central nervous system in abnormally high concentrations.

As a result of these substances appearing unnaturally in the body, the body tries to metabolise and excrete it and this is where it can start to cause damage to the body’s cells.

Further, when aspartame is stored for long periods of time or kept in warm areas it changes to methanol, an alcohol that converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.

So what is the alternative to Fizzy Drinks?

Make your own juice, fresh cocktails and lemonade! Full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals and when you make a whole juice, which means blending the fruit whole, skin and all, you get all the fibre too which slows down the metabolism of the natural sugars as well as being very good for your digestion and elimination of toxins.

They are hydrating, alkalising, cleansing and immune boosting and can be drunk any time of day and if you want to make it into an alcoholic drink, can’t imagine why you would, then all the goodness in the fresh, blended and juiced fruits will minimise the harmful effects of the alcohol (within reason!).

It’s important to use organic ingredients wherever you can as you don’t want to be adding pesticides, herbicides and other nasty chemicals to your drinks when you have gone to all that effort.


Here follows a few of my favourites. Enjoy!

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