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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Are you drinking too many calories?

How many calories are in those beverages you are drinking every day?  Many people drink high energy drinks, Starbuck’s coffee, soft drinks and drinks like Gatorade without even considering those calories.   And calories from beverages easily add up.   The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has some good advice for high school students that can be applied to all of us.
Drop Liquid Calories is one of the Alliance for Health’s recommendations.  Many of us aren’t eating our calories but drinking our calories by consuming sugary beverages – soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened ice tea, coffee with flavored syrups.  High school students and adults “are drinking more sugary beverages than ever before.”  As the website notes, the biggest source of added sugar in the diets of many of our youth are sugary beverages.  Surprisingly, many of these sugary beverages are provided by parents and they can easily change what beverages are in the home. 
Liquid calories aren’t as filling as calories from “solid” foods.  Thus, if you are trying to lose weight, don’t waste your calories on liquid calories.  Have some liquid calories and you’ll be hungry shortly after as liquid calories are not as filling as calories from solid foods.  (Wellness Letter, Fall 2015)
Suggestions to Drop Liquid Calories

  1. Drink water – water has no calories and many people don’t realize water is an essential nutrient.  We need water but we don’t need all the added sugar in the beverages we choose.  Take a water bottle with you, in a restaurant, drink water instead of a beverage.  I often ask for a glass at Subway, Panera Bread or other restaurants and just get a cup of water and ice to drink.
  2. Identify Your Unhealthy Drinks
a.       Soda loaded with sugar, usually high fructose corn syrup and 100% “empty calories”no vitamins, no minerals, just junk food.
b.      High Energy Drinks – Often loaded with added sugar calories.
c.       Juice Drinks – juice drinks have no or little juice in them.  Hi-C is only 10% juice.  Capri Sun check the label, many like Fruit Punch are mostly water and sugar.   Choose 100% juice to get real juice and no added sugar. 
d.      Flavored coffees – watch all those syrupy flavors as they add calories and added sugar.  Go to the Starbuck’s website and check out the calories:
Iced Espresso Classic – Vanilla Latte
130  calories
Iced Espresso Classic – Caffe Mocha
140 calories
Caffe  Mocha 16 oz
290 calories
Caramel Dolce Latte 16 oz
260 calories

         3.        Choose healthier beverages
  • Water – add ice and some lemon wedges
  • 100% fruit juice – look at label and make sure it is 100% juice
  •  Low –fat unflavored milk
  • Ice tea or hot tea – unsweetened 
       4.       Read the label, read the ingredients and look for these Added Sugars:

Agave, agave syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Maple syrup
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Brown sugar

So reach for the water and not the soda.  Or at least try to cut back on the beverages with all those liquid calories.

Sources:  Drop Liquid Calories, Berkeley Wellness Letter, Starbucks, Fall 2015, image source:  Calories from unhealthy drinks

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