Trying to Lose Weight? Watch What You Drink
Liquid Calories Add Up Quickly
What About Other Drinks?
Soda isn't the only beverage to beware. Tea and coffee by themselves have no
calories (though the effects of caffeine are a concern for some), but the
add-ons can turn your cup of Joe into a real calorie-fest. For example, a large
Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino with whipped cream adds a whopping 710
calories and 26 grams of fat. Even a tablespoon or two of cream in your morning
coffee, along with a packet of sugar, adds up.
And what about alcoholic drinks? It's best to proceed with caution. The
average calorie count of a glass of wine or bottle of beer is 100-150 calories,
and how often do we stop at one? Even worse, alcoholic beverages can lower your
inhibitions and make you more likely to overeat -- especially those salty
snacks that are often served with drinks.
Diet sodas are virtually calorie free, yet they contain a list of
non-nutritious ingredients including artificial sweeteners. Artificial
sweeteners are approved by the FDA, but moderation is the best approach. It's
best to limit your intake of diet sodas to a few servings a day.
Skim and low-fat milk and no-sugar-added juices certainly have their place
in a healthy diet. These beverages contain a wealth of nutrients needed for
health and should be incorporated into your eating plan. But if you're trying
to lose weight, don't fall into the trap of sipping them throughout the day. To
quench your thirst, stick to water (perhaps dressed up with a bit of juice or
citrus) and other no-calorie or very low-calorie beverages, experts say.
"Simple is best," says Susan Ayersman, CCN, a nutritionist with the
Arizona-based Kronos Optimal Health Co. Water is Ayersman's drink of
"Most people don't drink enough water," she explains, yet we need
water to keep our tissues hydrated and help keep our energy up.
If plain water doesn't do it for you, add slices of lemon, lime, or orange
for flavor without calories. Or try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of
pace, says Ayersman.
Here are a few other suggestions:
- Green tea (which also contains potentially cancer-preventing
- Seltzer water with just a splash of juice. Orange, grapefruit, cranberry
are good choices, but mango, guava, and other tropical juices all add color and
just enough sweetness to keep you from reaching for a can of soda.
- Herbal teas.
- Flavored (lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, mandarin orange, etc.) seltzers and
- Homemade lemonade -- try lemon, water, and a few drops of stevia, a natural
An occasional cappucino, latte, or coffee is fine if you need that Starbucks
fix, Ayersman says. But ask for skim milk, and wave bye-bye to the blended
coffee drinks, especially the ones with whipped cream toppings.