The health drink craze is one of the most deceptive and confusing things to navigate as a consumer. The marketing is done so well that companies have been able to mask sugar loaded drinks as healthy on-the-go options.

Vitaminwater has people thinking that they’re getting a daily dose of nutritional vitamins just based off of the name on the label. The name, however, doesn’t mention that there are 33 grams of sugar in every 20 ounce bottle – who knew vitamins could taste so good? According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the marketed health benefits of Vitaminwater are more than offset by its sugar content.

This health drink craze doesn’t stop at Vitaminwater, unfortunately, it targets the beverages that already have the reputation of being healthy. Take Kombucha, for example, in its natural state, kombucha is a perfectly healthy, fermented, probiotic beverage that can have several health benefits. What happens when it is mass produced in order to sell to a Western palate, however? It gets loaded up with additional sugar after the fermentation is complete in order to sweeten up its flavor profile.

When you’re looking for a kombucha, take care to read the ingredients list and know where the product is coming from. Make sure it is natural and as always, if you’re unsure, try making your own at home – that way you always know what is going into your kombucha.

The health drink craze extends into the realm of caffeinated beverages as well. Those thinking they would like to save some calories and fat by going for a low fat option at the counter of their favorite cafe are sorely deceived.

When these consumers are going for “low-fat” in hopes of “being good” with their morning beverages, they actually may be pumping up their coffee with even more sugar. Many dairy beverages, and food products in general, that are advertised as “low fat” are actually just bumped up with sugar in order to replace the fat that was taken out.

This is done so as not to compromise the taste of the product. This means that when someone who is looking to lose weight orders their low fat latte at the counter, they could actually be contributing to weight gain and massive fluctuations in blood sugar unknowingly.

Your best bet for avoiding the hidden sugar trap with coffee drinks is so stick with unsweetened almond milk. This means you’ll avoid the negatives of dairy consumption and you won’t have to worry about the added sugar hiding behind the guise of a healthy morning drink.

HIDDEN ENVIRONMENTAL TIP: Bring your own coffee cup to your cafe, or sit and have it a reusable cup there.

Another and possibly, the most, deceptive realm of health drinks is that of smoothies. With a major smoothie craze that increases through the summer months, you can find a smoothie option at most fast food joints and because it’s all blended up and you can’t actually decipher what goes into it. It tastes amazing, so you keep sipping.

What you don’t know is that any smoothie coming from a fast food chain is most likely packed full of dairy and additional sugars. That is why it always taste so creamy and delicious, a bombardment of sugar on your palate, if you will.

Premade smoothies that are sold on supermarket shelves are often marketed as a low-fat healthy snack option to grab and go because they use low fat yogurt. The reality, however, is that these drinks are loaded with sugar, as mentioned before, to bump up the taste missing from the fat that is taken out.

Your best bet to not fall victim to the deceptive smoothie game is to make your own at home and avoid using any low fat yogurt to smooth out your smoothie. When it comes to smoothies, start with vegetables, then add some frozen fruit, a healthy fat and unsweetened almond milk is always a good choice for liquid.

Getting educated about the marketing tactics of these companies will save you from spending your hard earned money on products that are profiting off of the perceived image of a health drink. Get wise to the health drink craze and stop placing your health in the hands of big business.