Americans are consuming far more calories from beverages than they did decades ago. Specifically, more calories are coming from soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, tea drinks and fruit juice. The only beverage consumption that dropped was milk. The panel and most health experts agree that high calorie beverages may contribute to weight gain and the obesity epidemic. So, what’s the deal with drinking your calories?
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-Beverages do not satiate as solid foods do. And, you do not make up for those extra calories by cutting back on food later on.
-Data shows that soft drinks and fruit drinks play a bigger role in weight gain than other beverages.
-Studies show that if you start drinking non-caloric beverages instead of sweetened beverages, you lose weight and vice versa.
-The average American gets roughly 21% of his or her calories from beverages – that is 150-300 calories more than 30 years ago!
-A teaspoon or two of sugar isn’t detrimental. It’s when you get into the realm of an extra 100-200 calories coming from sweeteners that you’re in trouble.
-As long as you consume a healthy diet, plain old water is just fine!
-The panel didn’t address meal drinks, it is possible that the protein and added fiber may help satiate, especially when consumed with a solid such as fruit or vegetables.
-Whole fruit still wins over fruit juice. A serving of fruit has fewer calories than juice and we don’t compensate for the calories in juice later. Plus, whole fruit has fiber and more vitamins and minerals.
-Sports drinks have fewer calories per serving than soft drinks, however, their benefit is really for endurance athlete.
-This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a sweetened beverage, however, the panel recommended limiting sweetened beverages to 2 servings per day. This includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, 100% fruit juice, sports drinks and alcoholic beverages.
-A few studies suggested that diet drinks may condition people for sweetness, but more studies are needed. In the meantime, the panel recommends diet drinks over sweetened ones. That doesn’t mean you should drink diet sodas all day long – moderation still counts!
WHAT AMERICANS DRINK NOW
(reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006 and based on a 1999-2002 government survey):
Average Fluids Per Day: 14 cups or 114 fluid ounces
-2 ½ cups from soft drinks and fruit drinks for a total of 210 calories
-2 cups 100% fruit juice, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, whole or 2% milk for a total of 215 calories
-½ cups diet drinks for a total of 0 calories
-2 cups unsweetened coffee or tea for a total of 10 calories
-6 cups water for a total of 0 calories
Red Light – Calorie Don’ts!
-Sonic Watermelon Slush (32 oz): 470 calories
McDonald’s Chocolate Triple Thick Shake (16 oz): 580 calories
-Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappucinno Blended Crème (Venti): 600 calories
-Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d (24 oz): 840 calories
Green Light - Calorie Delicious Do’s
-Sonic Lo-Cal Limeade (20 oz): 10 calories
-Jamba Juice Strawberry Nirvana Enlightened Smoothie (16 oz): 160 calories
-Starbuck’s Caffe Latte with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrup (tall): 120 calories and a serving of milk!
-Minute Maid Light Orange Juice (8 oz): 50 calories
-Club Soda with Lime: 0 calories (compare that to a 16 oz, 696 calorie margarita)!