Liquid calories – most people don’t think about them or include them as part of their daily calorie intake. But those “sippable calories” add up quickly, especially during the summer when you’re drinking more fluids to stay hydrated. If you’re reaching into the refrigerator and pulling out sweetened soft drinks to quench your thirst, you may be taking in more calories than you bargained for. With a 12-ounce soft drink averaging about 150 calories, it doesn’t take many of them to equal the calorie content of a full meal – and wouldn’t you rather eat your calories rather than sip them?
Is Fruit Juice a Better Choice?
Fruit juice is a common beverage people drink in the summer. It sounds like a better alternative to soft drinks, and it is, at least to some degree. Fruit is a good source of natural antioxidants. On the other hand, fruit juice contains large amounts of natural sugar and isn’t necessarily low in calories. A cup of orange juice has around 110 calories and apple juice about 120. Plus, some juice you buy at the supermarket has added sugar. Plus, fruit juice lacks the fiber of the whole fruit, and the sugars are in a less concentrated form. That’s why it’s best to get fruit in its whole, unaltered state.
Coffee Beverages: Another Source of Hidden Calories
Are you a regular at your local Starbuck’s store? The good news? Coffee is almost calorie-free. The bad news? What you add to it can turn it into a calorie monster. That Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with whipped cream that tastes so good going down will set you back about 500 calories. Even the healthy-sounding Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino will stick you with 650 almost empty calories. Unlike soft drinks, coffee is something you can enjoy without calorie overload. Sip it with a no-calorie natural sweetener like Stevia and a little 2% milk instead of dressing it up with fat and sugar.
Cutting Beverages Calories: How Much of an Impact Can It Have?
Wanna lose a few pounds? Try eliminating soft drinks and other sweet drinks. If you’re drinking three soft drinks or cup of fruit juice a day, replacing them with water would lead to weight loss of almost a pound a week - without changing anything else. There’s another reason to stop sipping calories. Research shows that beverage calories aren’t as satisfying as ones you get from food.
Ways to Cut Beverage Calories
To get a better idea of how many beverage calories you’re taking in each day, write down everything you drink along with its calorie content for a day or two. Add up the calories. You may be surprised by the total. Here are some other ways to get a handle on how many calories you sip a day.
Rediscover the natural taste of water. If the water that comes out of the tap doesn’t taste good, invest in a water filter. To add more flavor to water, squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your glass or mix seltzer water with a small amount of fruit juice for a healthier “soda.”
Sip tea sweetened with a low-calorie natural sweetener. Visit a local tea store, and discover how many different types of tea there are – black tea, green tea, white tea and herbal teas of kinds. You can enjoy them hot or iced for a refreshing, calorie-free beverage.
Make infused water by filling a pitcher with cold water and ice cubes. Add slices of cucumber, orange, lemon or a handful of berries for flavor. Sip this almost calorie-free beverage on those hot summer days when you need to stay hydrated.
Stop ordering wine or alcoholic beverages when you go out. The calories add up quickly.
The Bottom Line?
Be more aware of how many beverage calories you’re consuming during the day by keeping a journal. Substituting low-calorie beverages for the sugar-sweetened drinks you’re sipping now could help you easily shed a few pounds.