Trying to Lose Weight? Watch What You Drink
Liquid Calories Add Up Quickly
You're trying to lose a few pounds, so you're watching what you put on your
plate. But are you watching what's in that mug, or glass, or can? If not, you
just might be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts.
"Beverages are probably the biggest hidden source of empty calories in
our diets," says Mark Izzo, PhD, director of science and technology at
Orafti Active Food Ingredients. "Even those that are positioned as
super-healthy, like grapefruit juice and orange juice, can pack 100 calories in
"What's worse," says Izzo, "is that nobody drinks only 8 ounces.
A typical serving is usually 16 ounces. That's 200 calories for one
And then there's soda, which contributes few useful nutrients but plenty of
calories in the form of sweeteners. A 20-ounce soda, for example, has the
equivalent of 18 teaspoons of sugar.
Soda is unquestionably among the many sources of excess calories
contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country, says David L. Katz, MD,
associate clinical professor of public health and medicine at Yale University
School of Medicine and author of The Way to Eat.
"A standard 12-ounce (non-diet) soda has roughly 150 calories," says
Katz. Drink two or three of those a day and that's enough calories to gain a
pound a week! And just think what a supersized (44-ounce) drink can do -- just
one a day can lead to an extra pound per week.
More Calories, Less Satisfaction
"Some of the calories consumed in soda may be taken out of the diet
elsewhere," says Katz, but he doesn't think that's necessarily a good
thing. "Sodas provide no nutrient value, while the foods eliminated may.
Further, the calories we drink are likely to be added to, rather than replaced
by the calories we eat."
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2000
bears this out. Fifteen healthy men and women consumed an extra 450 calories,
in the form of either jellybeans or soda, every day for four weeks. After four
weeks, the soda drinkers switched to jelly beans and vice versa.