Low-Calorie Summer Sippers
Let's drink to summer -- the healthy way
It's hot, and you're thirsty! But don't just grab the first cool drink that
comes along. What you choose to quench your thirst can make or break your
The way I see it, high-calorie beverages are one of the major reasons
Americans are overweight. Think about how many people you know who drink
several sodas every day. Now let's do the math:
- A 12-ounce soda (non-diet) contains around 150 calories (the equivalent of
10 teaspoons of sugar).
- So three sodas a day adds up to around 450 calories (the equivalent of 30
teaspoons of sugar).
- This means that every week, we would save approximately 3,150 calories (the
equivalent of 210 teaspoons of sugar) if we switched from drinking three cans
of soda a day to drinking three no-calorie beverages.
It just doesn't make sense to spend your precious calories on sweet drinks
that add calories without any nutritional value.
Here are a few beverage facts that may help discourage you from sipping
these empty-calorie beverages.
Fact 1: Most people don't drink enough water. So do your body a favor; when
you get thirsty, reach for water first.
Fact 2: If you choose a beverage that contains calories, select one that
contributes important nutrients as well -- like nonfat or low-fat milk or 100%
fruit juice. According to a national survey of food consumption, as people's
milk intake went up, so did their intake of micronutrients (vitamins and
minerals). But they didn't end up consuming more fat or cholesterol.
Fact 3: Liquid calories don't tend to satisfy your hunger as well as
calories from solid foods.
What You Should Know About Soda
- It stands to reason that if Americans drank less regular soda, the number
of overweight and obese people would also decrease. In a recent policy
statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that overconsumption of soft
drinks could lead to overweight or obesity because of the calories it adds to
the diet. A recent study on an educational program that encouraged children
ages 7-11 to drink less soda found just that: Cutting down on carbonated drinks
was linked to a modest decrease in the number of overweight and obese children
over a year.
- The more sweetened beverages kids drink, the less milk they tend to
consume. Researchers from Cornell University followed 30 children for two
months. They found that the children who drank more than 12 ounces of sweetened
drinks or soda per day gained significantly more weight than children who drink
less than 6 ounces a day. The children didn't appear to eat any less to
compensate for the extra calories they were drinking.
- African-American teens who drank four or more sodas a day had a 6-point
higher systolic blood pressure than white teens who drank the same amount of