Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Are You Drinking Excess Calories?

May 21st, 2010 · 15 Comments

My dear wife receives a weekly email on health and this post is based on one she recently received and forward to me, I felt it was both timely and appropriate for our current health and lifestyle journey and wanted to share it here today!

Are You Drinking Excess Calories?

Beverages are probably the biggest hidden source of empty calories in our diets. Scientific evidence shows that our bodies don’t detect the calories in liquids the same way as when we eat solid foods. Fluid calories don’t suppress or satisfy hunger. When you eat solid food nerves in the stomach wall detect that the stomach is stretching. These nerves send signals to the brain that we are full. Other hormones and signals are released by our intestines and stomach when we eat. Although the process is not fully understood the evidence shows that liquid calories don’t fill you up and satisfy hunger as well as solid foods.

  • When drinking fluid calories people often end up eating MORE calories overall than when drinking water or other low calorie drinks.
  • In a Harvard Nurses’ Health Study of 50,000 women researchers found that those women who increased their intake of sugar-sweet beverages from 1 per week to 1 or more a day consumed an average of 358 extra calories a day and gained a significant amount of weight.
  • The calories we DRINK are likely to be added to rather than replaced by the calories we eat. We don’t tend to reduce the amount of food we eat to make up for the calories we drink.

Consider This..

  • An appropriately sized meal is anywhere from 400-700 calories. One 44 oz Super Big Gulp soda is 800 calories! Eating those calories in a healthy meal is much better than drinking them. Not only do sodas have a lot of calories, they provide zero nutritional value.
  • On an average day you could add 700 extra calories just by drinking!

Breakfast: small café mocha at 240 calories, lunch : a medium soft drink at 210 calories, afternoon: an 8 oz energy drink at 115 calories, dinner: a 12 oz beer or a glass of wine at 100-150 calories. An extra 700 calories per day can lead to an extra pound a week. You can see how easy this can happen.

Calories, sugars, and fats lurk in lots of places:

Coffee Drinks:

  • A 16 oz Starbucks blended coffee Frappucino is 470 calories
  • A 16 oz Starbucks café mocha with whipped cream is 400 calories
  • A 32 oz Dunkin Doughnuts vanilla bean coolatte has more saturated fat than an entire days ration!
  • Regular coffee is calorie free unless you add cream and sugar.

Smoothies and Fruit juices:

  • Even though fruit juices provide some nutritional value they still have calories. A 12 oz glass of orange juice has 180 calories. It’s better to eat the whole fruit than drink the juice. A medium sized orange has 50 calories and plenty of fiber which will keep you feeling full.
  • The average fruit based smoothie has about 180 calories. But watch out what you put in it—high calorie items like, peanut butter, milk, protein powders, yogurts honey etc.. can add up.

Sports Drinks:

  • Gatorade is useful if you exercise for more than 90 minutes-especially if you are outdoors in hot conditions. However if you are exercising moderately and are trying to loose weight you are better off drinking water.


  • A 4 oz glass of wine contains between 85-100 calories
  • A 12 oz beer is 150 calories
  • Mixed drinks are 150-250 calories depending on the mixer used

Drinks and your waistline

Soft Drinks and Iced Tea:

  • Soft drinks have 150 calories for every 12 oz. Diet soft drinks have zero calories but be aware that research suggests people tend to eat more when they drink a diet soft drink. Diet sodas also contain artificial sweeteners so it is best to limit your intake.
  • Iced Tea made from scratch with tea bags and water has zero calories. Commercial sweet tea is a different story! A 16 oz glass averages 180 calories.

The Average cookie is 50 calories, a small brownie is 100 calories and a slice of cake is 250 calories. Now  visualize: Sweet Iced tea is the same as 4 cookies, a smoothie is 2 brownies, and a small frappucino is a slice of cake!


How well do you know your beverages? Match the popular drink below with its caloric equivalent in food. Answers are at the bottom.

  1. a medium slice of pepperoni pizza
  2. a turkey sandwich, a small bag of pretzels, and an apple
  3. Lean Cuisine Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta
  4. 2 pancakes with a tablespoon of syrup
  5. 6 Oreo cookies
  6. 5 Hershey kisses

A: glass of red wine 5 oz , B: Burger King large Sprite 32 oz, C: 7-11 Super Big Gulp Coke 44 oz, D: Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino 16 oz, E: Dunkin Donuts Mocha Swirl latte 10 oz,  F: Pina Colada 4.5 oz

To quench your thirst without expanding your waistline:

  • Water is best! Drink lots of water—plain, flavored, or seltzer. Mix in splashes of juice or slices of lemon, lime, or orange for a twist.
  • Drink green tea or herbal tea made with tea bags and water.
  • Try to dilute your sweet tea with half unsweetened tea. Make your own tea at home using less sugar or a sugar substitute.
  • Watch the cream and sugar in your coffee. If you need that latte make it with skim milk. Skip the whipped topping and the blended coffee drinks.
  • Drink a diet soda if you have that soda craving.
  • Since drinking those calories doesn’t’t make you feel full or satisfy your hunger—then cutting back on them doesn’t’t make you feel deprived!

Answers to Quiz: 1:E; 2:C; 3:F; 4:D; 5:B; 6:A

Sources:, Washington Post, Life Weekend Magazine

Tags: Eat To Live · Healthy

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Emily @Cleanliness // May 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Very, very informative!! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • 2 Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog // May 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I’m always saying the same, why your drink lot of unnecessary sugar? For most of the day the answer is simple: water and for special occasions the rest of them.

    Excellent article! Putting in my weekly roundup.



  • 3 OC2Seattle // May 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Such a great reminder. The first thing my nutritionist said to me was no juice!

  • 4 pegasuslegend // May 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Awesome. I unfortunately knew most of this but can’t seem to leave the wine off my list…. I drink all my other beverages black and never soda so I am not so bad off…I love this eye opener needed to refresh myself on what I could drink less of even juice~!

  • 5 penny aka jeroxie // May 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I drink only 1 coffee a day and heaps of water. Only Fridays do I drink alcohol. But still good to know about fruit juices!

  • 6 Suzee // May 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I try hard to be sure to watch my liquid calories, and my fave option is sparkling water with a splash of a flavorful juice.

  • 7 denise @ quickies on the dinner table // May 22, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Wow!! Wine too? *sigh* I hardly drink any of these beverages but black coffee and wine. Well at least it’s good to know that wine is the least of alcoholic evils – calorie wise. Great information. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • 8 Drick // May 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I’m a couple of cups of coffee in the morning kinda of guy, water all day, a f-e-w cocktails at the 5 o’clock hour (with coke) and water with dinner ….now about that slice of pizza with the mocha swirl latte … whoa!!!

  • 9 Kelly (Hot Cookin') // May 22, 2010 at 9:20 am

    We drink water most of the time, and rarely have or drink soda in the house or when we’re out. I occasionally get coffee drinks, and am thankful Starbucks has Lite versions…got the Mocha Frappe Lite (tall) yesterday. It was delicious, and only 180 calories (no whip).

    We have OJ in the fridge, but the kids are the main drinkers of that….better a small glass of OJ with breakfast than soda. 🙂 Everything in moderation, right?

  • 10 Jessie // May 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I drink lots of water and green tea everyday. I use to be a huge fan of those coffee drinks from starbucks and I always ordered a nonfat or lite version of them. I can’t drink coffee anymore due to a health condition I have.

  • 11 Joan Nova // May 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    So happy to see that my favorite beverage (wine) has the least calories. I could never understand why people drink all those sugary, calorie-laden drinks. I much prefer to chew my calories!

  • 12 Michelle | Online Printer // May 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I didn’t know that drinking liquids can be worst than eating solids. I guess it’s logical how the body may not be able to detect that you are in fact consuming all these empty calories.

  • 13 Doc // May 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Great post Chef,
    A recent study out of Circulation also showed that drinking less sugar containing items can lower blood pressure!

  • 14 What is the earned nutrition parsley over the curly leaf parsley? “ // May 27, 2010 at 5:47 am

    […] Are You Drinking Excess Calories? […]

  • 15 Natasha // Jun 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

    An eye -opener, isn’t it?