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!
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
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!
TAKE THIS QUIZ!!
How well do you know your beverages? Match the popular drink below with its caloric equivalent in food. Answers are at the bottom.
- a medium slice of pepperoni pizza
- a turkey sandwich, a small bag of pretzels, and an apple
- Lean Cuisine Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta
- 2 pancakes with a tablespoon of syrup
- 6 Oreo cookies
- 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: WebMD.com, Washington Post, Life Weekend Magazine