What Are High Calorie Drinks?

Matthew F.
Matthew F.
A high calorie soft drink.
A high calorie soft drink.

A high calorie drink is, as its name might suggest, a beverage that has a very high calorie count — usually measuring in at least 500, often more. Calories are units of energy that the body converts into fuel. Most health experts recommend that healthy adults consume about 2,000 calories each day total, from foods and beverages both. Most drinks rank relatively low on the calorie meter, but this largely depends on their composition. Beverages with a lot of sugar and other additives often carry more calories than people realize. This is often problematic, and can cause problems like excess weight gain and other health issues. There are also instances where getting calories quickly in a beverage can be beneficial, though. Many athletes, particularly body builders, want high energy, high calorie drinks to stimulate muscle growth. People who are suffering from certain diseases or health conditions may also need these sorts of beverages in order to get enough nutrition. In these latter two examples, it’s usually the quality of the calories more than their specific count that makes them valuable. Not all calories carry an equal nutritional profile, and people choosing drinks are usually wise to look at the ingredients as well as the overall nutritional summary.

Usefulness to Athletes

A basic martini can have over 250 calories.
A basic martini can have over 250 calories.

For body builders and serious athletes, high calorie drinks are often a convenient and easy way to get quick energy that can help immediately fuel muscle power. The digestive process is usually a lot slower for whole foods, and protein breakdown is often more time consuming for foods that are chewed rather than those that are already liquefied and simply swallowed.

Added whipped cream to a drink means adding calories.
Added whipped cream to a drink means adding calories.

Exercise-ready drinks can often be found in health food stores in the form of body building products. In most cases these drinks feature a healthy mix of high calorie ingredients to help the builder put on weight and keep the amount of calories high in their diet while avoiding foods that offer more unhealthy ingredients. They’re also pretty easy to make at home, and usually focus on proteins from plants and nuts together with dairy. Some sugar is often added in to improve flavor and to give a boost of glucose energy.

As a Form of Nutrition

Sports drinks may contain 250 calories per serving.
Sports drinks may contain 250 calories per serving.

Medical experts sometimes also recommend a range of nutritional supplement beverages for people who aren’t able to get the calories they need from food alone. People who are suffering from certain diseases or who are in recovery from surgery or other procedures may not be able to keep food down, or may find normal meals unappetizing. A high calorie supplement drink might be the best way for them to get the calories they need to continue healing and improving. Most of these sorts of drinks are made from complex proteins and are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, too.

Drinks Made Mostly of Sugar and Fats

Mixed drinks made with hard liquor and sweetened with fruit juices are very high in calories.
Mixed drinks made with hard liquor and sweetened with fruit juices are very high in calories.

Not all drinks with high calorie counts are helpful, though, and most are considered anything but. Sugars and chemical sweeteners often raise caloric content astronomically without any significant nutritional payoff. Milkshakes made primarily of ice cream and sugary whipped cream are good examples, as are the sweetened coffee drinks full of syrups that are so popular in many places. Sodas often also fall into this category, particularly when sold in very large sizes.

Alcoholic Libations

Sweet tea with a lot of refined sugar is a high calorie drink.
Sweet tea with a lot of refined sugar is a high calorie drink.

Alcohol, which is itself a complex sugar, is another way to add calories to a drink without adding quality nutrition — and, depending on volume, potentially while actually causing harm to the consumer. Mixed cocktails often only compound the problem. Liqueurs, syrups, and sweeteners are common tools in a bartender’s arsenal, though these can double or even triple the caloric value of the drink at hand. People who aren’t careful can often find that two pre-dinner cocktails cost more, in terms of caloric currency, than the meal itself.

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Discussion Comments

Feryll

I work out regularly, and I need to lift weights to keep on my weight, not to take weight off. I would love to be able to regularly drink the tasty high calorie protein drinks mentioned in this article, but they are so expensive. I simply stick to the basics like high protein yogurt drinks, protein powder (which is expensive enough), and other high calories healthy foods.

I also eat a lot of bananas and mix them in my smoothies. There are plenty of high calorie fruits and nuts you can eat to put on the pounds and stay healthy in the process.

Drentel

@Sporkasia - I agree with you when you write that sodas are bad high calorie drinks, and parents should limit the number of sodas their kids drink, if not cut them out totally. Adults should also cut back on the sodas, especially in this country.

After all, the United States is the most overweight country in the world and that is largely because of the foods we eat and the drinks we consume. Adults also need to cut back on the high calorie alcoholic drinks.

Sporkasia

There is no doubt about the benefits of sodas in our diets; there are none. The health of the world would be astronomically improved if we could somehow go back in time and make sure the dreaded soda never came into mass production.

Seriously, these drinks have no good qualities in terms of health, and we give them to our children like they are some type of miracle health drink. What chance do our children have of being healthy when we load them up on high calorie drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine?

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    • A high calorie soft drink.
      A high calorie soft drink.
    • A basic martini can have over 250 calories.
      By: dondesigns
      A basic martini can have over 250 calories.
    • Added whipped cream to a drink means adding calories.
      By: Tsuboya
      Added whipped cream to a drink means adding calories.
    • Sports drinks may contain 250 calories per serving.
      By: Edie Layland
      Sports drinks may contain 250 calories per serving.
    • Mixed drinks made with hard liquor and sweetened with fruit juices are very high in calories.
      By: leighboardman84
      Mixed drinks made with hard liquor and sweetened with fruit juices are very high in calories.
    • Sweet tea with a lot of refined sugar is a high calorie drink.
      By: karandaev
      Sweet tea with a lot of refined sugar is a high calorie drink.
    • Most liquers are high in calories.
      By: JJAVA
      Most liquers are high in calories.
    • Depending on the ingredients, smoothies could be high in calories.
      By: Tanouchka
      Depending on the ingredients, smoothies could be high in calories.