Rethink Your Drink: Is your favorite beverage sabotaging your weight loss?

The general key to weight loss and weight maintenance is a balance of calories in vs. calories out. When trying to lose weight, we tend to focus on food calories rather than beverage calories. Some people don’t even realize just how many calories their beverage choices are contributing to their daily intake and oftentimes this oversight can sabotage weight loss efforts.

Read nutrition facts carefully: Luckily, packaging of food products is changing and will now include the number of calories in the entire package rather than calories in the recommended portion size. However, there may be some snacks and drinks that still have the old packaging. When looking at a food label, be sure to check the servings per container. If there is more than one serving per container, multiply the number of servings by the number of calories listed. For example, if the recommended serving size of  8 oz. of soda contains 100 calories, but there are 2.5 servings in the whole bottle multiply 100 x 2.5. That entire bottle of soda contains 250 calories!

Besides the grocery store, there are also other places where we are consuming extra calories from drinks. Coffee shops, smoothie shops, and restaurants all have specialty drinks that are delicious but contain a lot of calories and sugar. Here are a few tips for ordering:

  1. Ask for the smallest size possible
  2. The more basic the better – plain coffee rather than a Frappucino, plain iced tea rather than strawberry lemonade
  3. Check out the nutrition facts on their website before hand – a lot of sites will let you modify recipes to see the new calorie information

One of my favorite presentations during my dietetic internship was my “Rethink your Drink” poster I presented at a health fair with my friend Courtney. We had a blast showing families how much sugar was in their favorite beverages. It really is amazing to see something rather than a number to put it into perspective.

Courtney and I made this poster board to show how much sugar is in each beverage!  Hint:1 sugar cube = 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams of sugar
It may not seem like it but calories and sugar from the beverages we drink can really add up and sabotage your weight loss. There are plenty of low-calorie options out there to replace your full calorie beverages.

  1. Choose water – make it more tasty by adding slices of lemon, lime or cucumber
  2. Try naturally flavored sparkling water – you could even add a SPLASH of 100% juice to liven it up
  3. Keep sugar-sweetened beverages out of the house – keep bottles of cold water readily available instead.
  4. Instead of sweetened iced teas try putting lemon in freshly brewed iced tea
  5. Switch from whole milk to skim milk in your coffee. Avoid sugary syrups and try to cut back on the number of sugar packets you use

Check out my post from Monday to see the benefits of water!

– Carly

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