When it comes to drinks many of us choose ‘healthy’ alternatives in the hope that they’ll either add extra nutrition to our diet, or, if not that, at least not add calories to it. A note of caution, however, because most of these are actually not as healthy as we perceive them to be.

First of all, the Zero-Cal drink, our healthy alternative to soda; it’s an attractive choice compared to its full-calorie counterpart. Since your body is anticipating something sweet but doesn’t get the calorie kick, your brain ramps up a response — you get hunger pangs and crave high-calorie food shortly after consuming these drinks, which rather defeats the purpose of picking them in the first place. A better option would be to add some lemon to sparkling water.

Almond milk is trending as a super healthy alternative to milk these days, boasting many plus-points — it’s affordable, tastes good and makes great smoothies. And it’s loaded with all the nutrition of almonds. The truth of the matter is that there’s actually very little almond in almond milk. Only 2% of it is constituted of almonds, making it lack the protein, vitamins and minerals real almonds would give you. It may be a milk substitute for people with dairy intolerance, but it’s hardly the health drink it’s touted to be.

As much as places like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans insist, an 800-calorie glassful of frothy sweetness cannot replace breakfast. The coffee may energize you for a short time but sluggishness will set in later, as it’s just empty calories without any nutrition. Opt for a wholewheat toast, peanut butter and a banana instead.

The assumption is that freshly squeezed juice is as healthy as a drink can get, but that’s not true. When you squeeze juice, the pith or fibre is discarded, and that deprives you of the full nutrition. Pop the whole fruit into a blender and add yoghurt to make a smoothie instead. It will keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent the spike in blood sugar that squeezed juice will produce.

Vitamin Water is advertised as the best drink ever, as it’s infused with vitamins, but what the ads don’t tell you is that it’s also infused with sugar. One bottle of Vitamin Water has up to 33 gms of sugar. Just have vitamin supplements, nutritionists say, and steer clear of this gimmick.

All said and done, the healthiest drink is just plain water. It really can’t get any better than that.