Avoid Weight Gain: Watch What You Drink
Here's how to keep from drowning in liquid calories.
For anyone trying to watch his or her weight, the term "liquid
calories" can be downright frightening. And well it should. After all, the
calories we drink go quickly down the hatch, no chewing required.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the occasional Starbucks Caffe Mocha as much as
the next gal. It's just that the calories we drink on a day-to-day basis count
in a big way -- especially as we get older.
Case in point: that Caffe Mocha I was just talking about? On a daily basis,
it would add 300 calories (that's with whole milk and no whipped cream) or 400
calories (with whipped cream) per 16-ounce beverage. Adding the word
"white" adds even more calories. A White Chocolate Mocha totals 410
calories (whole milk, no whip) or 510 calories (with whip). In my world, 510
calories is an entire meal!
Of course, you can order the mocha with nonfat milk or soymilk and bring it
down to 220 calories (nonfat milk, no whip) or 260 calories (soy milk, no
whip). But even then, if you do this every day, you'll tally up 1,540 calories
a week (with nonfat milk) -- and 6,160 calories per month. And that doesn't
even include any drinks you might have during the rest of the day. If you have
a mocha in the morning, a couple of sodas or sweetened bottled teas in the
afternoon, then a glass of wine in the evening -- well, let's do the math:
|Caffe mocha, 16 oz., (nonfat milk, no whip)
|12-ounce sweetened bottled tea
|8 ounces white wine or 12 ounces of beer
Then consider that 626 liquid calories per day = 4,382 liquid calories per
week = 17,528 liquid calories per month!
That's a truckload of calories -- definitely bad news. But the good news is
that if you substituted no-calorie beverages for all those drinks, it would
mean a truckload of calories saved. And calories saved translate into potential
pounds lost -- approximately 5 pounds per month, if you use the
17,528-calories-per month calculation above. Now do I have your attention?
I'm certainly not the only one concerned about the issue of liquid calories.
A national Beverage Guidance Panel made up of six leading nutrition experts came together
recently to decide on beverage guidelines for the U.S.
The panel made a list of recommendations, but the item that impressed me
most was their ranking of beverages to fulfill our daily liquid needs. Water
was ranked as the preferred beverage (big surprise); followed by tea and
coffee; and low-fat (1% or 1.5%) and skim milk and soy beverages. Ranked after
that were artificially sweetened beverages, then fruit juices and alcoholic beverages (which have
calories but some nutritional benefits), then whole milk, and then