Avoid Weight Gain: Watch What You Drink
Here's how to keep from drowning in liquid calories.
5 Points About Liquid Calories
Here are five points to consider about liquid calories:
1. Liquid calories may not be a wise investment of your
Liquid calories don't seem to register in the stomach like food calories do,
so they don't satisfy hunger as well. The next time you drink a high-calorie
beverage, check in with your stomach an hour later. How do you feel? Are you
A group of researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center at
Louisiana State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
explain in a recent journal article that fructose (the chief component in
high-fructose corn syrup) is different from glucose in that it does NOT
stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. And higher levels of
insulin and leptin in the blood stream help regulate body weight by serving as
signals that food has been eaten.
2. Watch the high-fructose corn syrup.
Some experts say that part of the rise in obesity in the United States is
due to our rising consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, which is used in
many soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
One study found that rats fed a high-fructose diet were more likely to
develop features of metabolic syndrome, says
researcher Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the University of Florida College of
Medicine. Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms linked to a high risk of
diabetes and heart disease.
3. Soda consumption may contribute to obesity.
Excess calories contribute to obesity, of course, and full-calorie soda is
no doubt adding excess calories to many of our diets. In fact, a recent study
followed that followed 2,300 young girls for 10 years showed that soda
consumption predicted the greatest increase in the girls' body mass index (BMI). Several
other studies have shown that as intake of sweetened soda went up, so did the
effect on weight gain.
4. It is better to eat your carbohydrates than to drink
A Purdue University study showed that significant weight gain may occur when
we consume carbohydrates as liquids rather than as solid food. In the study, 15
men and women consumed extra carbs each day for four weeks, either as a liquid
(soda) or a solid (jelly beans). The rest of the day's intake was up to them.
While the study participants didn't decrease their total calorie intake to
compensate for the added soda calories, they did compensate naturally for the
additional calories eaten as jellybeans.
5. The bottom line to alternative sweeteners.
In discussing the latest research on alternative sweeteners, the April 2006
issue of the Environmental Nutrition newsletter concluded that
"one diet drink a day or NutraSweet in your morning coffee is not anything
to worry about. But if you regularly consume much more than that or eat several
low-calorie foods sweetened with aspartame, Environmental Nutrition
suggests consider switching to products that use a less controversial sweetener
like sucralose (Splenda) or a sucralose blend."