When it comes to dieting most people tend to concentrate on the food they eat but there are many hidden calories in the drinks we consume. The key to successful dieting is to review everything we eat and drink without leaving anything out.
Cut out Sugar Sweetened Beverages
Many soft drinks and sodas contain high-fructose corn syrup which means they are high in calories and low in nutrients. High-fructose corn syrup is linked to diabetes and contributes to obesity and as soft drinks normally contribute to approximately 8% of total calorie intake it’s important that we really begin to think about what we choose to drink.
Drinking only one can of soda each day can contribute to a one pound weight increase per month, which is a hefty twelve pounds per year.
It may be surprising to learn that diet soda which contains sugar substitutes can in fact encourage weight-gain and can even be a higher risk than regular soda, in some cases body mass index has been shown to increase by one and a half times in people who drink only three diet sodas per day.
Say No to Fruit Juice
Although sugar sweetened beverages like soda and pop should be avoided, you should pay attention to a lot of the so-called healthy fruit juices available on the market. Some fruit juices do have nutritional benefits but many of them are high in calories and unlike actual fruit it doesn’t really fill you up.
You would think that including a fruit juice in your diet you would be promoting good health and weight-loss but in fact the opposite is true. Research has shown that many people who drink fruit juice are in fact overweight and this is because they are high in simple sugars. A glass of orange juice contains about 120 calories and if you consume one glass per day, within one month you will have gained a pound.
Consider this-a high-sugar fruit juice with your bagel in the morning contains the same calories as a cheeseburger.
High Energy – High Calorie
High energy drinks have high calorie and caffeine content, so much so they have even been outlawed in several European countries due to health risks.
Most consumers of high energy drinks fall into the younger age groups. They usually mix their high energy drinks with vodka which is an on-going trend and one that helps young people to party hard and stay up late. Unfortunately this also encourages higher alcohol consumption and late night snacking.
Artificial Sweeteners = False Hope
There has been quite a lot of research carried out about artificial sweeteners which has shown some interesting results. In fact, substituting artificial sweeteners in foods like yoghurt has shown an increase in calories overall and in soda drinkers an increased risk of diabetes. The reason this happens is because when sugar substitutes are introduced to the diet many people allow for more calories in the food they eat because they feel they have already made a sacrifice. However, the body is not easily fooled and even though you may be using sugar substitutes in your diet it actually makes the body crave the real thing, so in effect insulin levels spike which causes low blood sugar.
As well as being careful about the calories that may be present in drinks you should also be aware of how many portions you are having per day. Many bottles of soda actually contain two servings so you should take care not to drink it all in one go. Just one of these double helpings can clock an extra 250 calories to your diet allowance.
Alternative Diet Drinks
Try to cut out soda altogether and instead opt for a low or no calorie drink containing no artificial sweeteners or ideally drink water. If you really struggle to drink water then buy a fruit enhanced one but make sure it contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Herbal water is good for you and is usually flavored with natural additives such as mint, lemongrass or ginger.
If high energy drinks are your thing then consider lower calorie options such as 5-hour Energy or Red Bull.
If you can’t go without your fruit juice then make sure you buy whole juice that doesn’t contain any mixed ingredients, sweeteners or sugar.
Try drinking more tea
Americans drink a lot of coffee and significantly less tea. Chinese and Japanese cultures have been drinking tea, especially green tea, for many years and the high consumption of this particular drink is being examined as an important factor in the low rate of some cancers in East Asians as well as the noticeable differences between body types of East Asians and Westerners.
There are many benefits to drinking tea and over the years this has become more prevalent. The same antioxidants that are found in chocolate have been found in tea and there are studies suggesting that it can prevent cancer and reduce heart disease. As well as these important benefits, green tea is said to help with weight loss and some research has shown that replacing your usual drinks with four cups of green tea per day can encourage a weight loss of several pounds over a couple of months. Of course the less coffee you drink-the less creamer and sugar you have too.
Not all diet sodas, high energy drinks and fruit juices are good for you and may be doing more harm than good. It’s well worth looking at the drinks you are consuming and replacing them with healthier alternatives. As with most of the things we eat and drink, we often add little extras such as sugar and cream and these all add up. With a little thought and care we can begin to cut out many of the calories we don’t need and instead buy something much better for us, and make sure we only have one portion at a time.