7 Best No-Added-Sugar Drinks to Keep You Healthy & Hydrated, According to Dietitians

Routinely drinking sugary beverages is linked to chronic health problems. These refreshing sips quench your thirst without the sugar—and many taste sweet, too.

<p>Ana Cadena </p>

Ana Cadena

Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RDReviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD

Craving a refreshing drink to quench your thirst? From sparkling waters and kombuchas to high-fiber sodas and coffee concoctions, there is plenty to drink. But a lot of these options may be loaded with added sugar.

Although water continues to reign as the top choice, staying hydrated can be challenging. Forgetfulness, busy schedules or simply not enjoying the taste of plain water can make it difficult to meet daily needs.

That’s why we chatted with three registered dietitian nutritionists who not only remind us of the importance of staying hydrated, but also share seven of the best no-sugar-added drinks to start sipping today.

Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Cut Out Sugar

Benefits of Hydration

When it comes to your health, it pays to stay hydrated—especially when it comes to your brainpower. “Proper hydration aids in maintaining focus, concentration and overall cognitive function,” says sports dietitian Amy Goodson, RD, owner of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “Dehydration can lead to impaired memory, mood swings and decreased attention span,” she explains.

Another benefit of hydrating is body temperature regulation. Sweating dissipates heat and keeps your internal temperature stable, says Goodson. Hydration also keeps joints properly lubricated and supplies muscles with oxygen and nutrients. “This is crucial for athletic performance and everyday physical activities, whether you are an athlete or a fitness enthusiast,” she says.

That said, many drinks are sweetened with added sugar, including sodas, juices, teas, coffees and more. If you regularly consume these, choosing no-added-sugar drinks more often can be an impactful way to decrease your added sugar intake. Here’s what experts recommend reaching for.

7 Best Low-Sugar & No-Added-Sugar Drinks to Hydrate

1. Coconut Water

Young green coconuts supply the slightly sweet, nutty, clear liquid you’ll find in ready-to-drink bottled or canned coconut water. “Coconut water is a good source of electrolytes that can help you stay hydrated, plus it contains a few different trace minerals like copper, zinc and manganese,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and microbiome specialist Taylor Berggren, M.S., RDN. Sip plain coconut water, mix it with 100% fruit juice or blend into a smoothie like this Creamsicle Breakfast Smoothie.

Keep in mind that while coconut water is a good source of potassium, it is low in sodium. If you are drinking coconut water to hydrate while exercising, consider adding some salt to a post-workout meal or snack to replenish sodium lost through sweat.

2. Orange Juice

Orange juice is a top pick for hydration, says sports dietitian Kelly Jones, M.S., RD, owner of Kelly Jones Nutrition. “While all juices contribute to fluid intake and may taste more refreshing than water at times, a past study showed orange juice ranked higher than many other beverages in measures of hydration,” she explains. Other research has found that orange juice may be just as hydrating as a sports drink, thanks to its mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates (though it’s important to note that this research was funded by the Florida Department of Citrus).,

In addition, a cup of OJ also serves up a full serving of fruit, as well as an excellent source of immune-supporting vitamin C. When picking out a bottle, look for one that says 100% orange juice on the label to avoid any added sugars. Enjoy it by the glass or create a refreshing bubbly beverage by mixing together equal parts juice and sparkling water.

3. Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is a ruby red-hued juice, made by pressing whole pomegranates. Each sip packs a delicious sweet-tart taste—and plenty of nutritional perks. “It's always nice to get increased benefits from your beverage when you're trying to hydrate. 100% whole-pressed pomegranate juice is one great way to do this because pomegranate juice contains potent polyphenols that can act as antioxidants in your body,” Berggren explains. One glass of pomegranate juice is also a good source of potassium, which is an electrolyte that supports hydration.

Drink pomegranate juice straight out the bottle, enjoy it as an alternative to wine or use it to whip up our Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea.

4. Agua Fresca

Need a sip that feels extra special? “If you're tired of plain water and don't feel like a glass of juice, aguas frescas can be refreshing and support hydration,” says Jones. Agua fresca is a popular beverage originating from Mexico that translates to "fresh water" and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Jones explains that the sip is made by blending whole fruit, water and lime juice. Some options might include an added sweetener, but you can always leave that out or request one without sugar. Try our Cucumber-Mint Agua Fresca, Pineapple-Cilantro Agua Fresca or Watermelon-Basil Agua Fresca.

5. Lemon Water

Many people like lemon water at the start of the day to get in some good hydration. “Sometimes the most simple things are the best,” says Berggren, recommending lemon water as a hydrating no-sugar-added beverage option. She explains that adding a squeeze of lemon to your ice water not only enhances flavor but also provides a boost of vitamin C and other beneficial antioxidants.

Even during cold months, lemon water is a great option. Try it with a cup of hot water to warm you up. Lemons can also be used to make hydrating water infusions like our Lemon, Cucumber & Mint Infused Water.

6. Broth

Broth isn’t just for making soup. From chicken to beef and vegetable, any kind of broth can be consumed for hydration, says Jones. “Many people enjoy sipping on bone broth, which contributes not only fluid and electrolytes but also protein,” she says. Broth can be higher in sodium, so look at the nutrition label to see how much your preferred brand provides. You can also choose low-sodium broth to better align with your nutrient needs. Another idea? Whip up your own broth using our Super-Simple Vegetable Broth or Beef Bone Broth recipes.

7. Kefir

If you are in the mood for a creamy beverage, pour yourself a glass of kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that has a tart and tangy taste and a thick milkshake-like consistency. Similar to yogurt, kefir contains live and active probiotic cultures, which help support digestion, gut health and immune function. Each cup also supplies an excellent source of calcium (another hydrating electrolyte) and 9 grams of protein.

Opt for plain kefir or, if you need a touch of sweetness, blend it up with some fresh or frozen fruit like in our Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie.

The Bottom Line

Staying well-hydrated offers many benefits, including enhanced cognitive function, body temperature regulation and improved physical performance. But staying on top of your hydration game doesn’t have to be boring! There’s a variety of delicious, no-sugar-added options to quench your thirst. From creamy kefir and tart pomegranate juice to a refreshing agua fresca, you can skip all the sugar—but not the taste.

Read the original article on Eating Well.