Imagine taking your favorite candy bar, sticking it in a blender and then drinking the contents. Now picture doing that maybe three to four times a day, or possibly more often. Most standard size candy bars actually have only slightly more calories than do your favorite can of soda, and they usually have fewer calories than do your drinks from your preferred coffee retailer. A large mocha for instance, can contain about 100-200 calories more than a single candy bar.
The above example should give you some sense of why drinking your calories as in the consumption of sodas, smoothies, sweetened coffees and most alcoholic beverages may not be such a terrific idea. Most of us wouldn’t consider drinking three to four candy bars a day, but we may be getting the caloric equivalent when we choose sweetened beverages, especially when we consume them often. Moreover, while a candy bar might provide some short-term satisfaction, drinking your calories seldom provides much in the way of a feeling of fullness. People may think nothing of downing several sodas or a vente mocha at a single sitting, but they also often combine this with eating, adding a caloric punch to a meal that will easily add inches to your waistline.
Part of the problem with drinking your calories is that it’s much harder to keep track of the calories you consume on a daily basis. If you do tabulate the consumption of three to four sodas a day, you’ve added approximately 450 to 600 calories to your diet. Two large mochas a day can cost you an extra 400-800 calories, even if you order them with nonfat milk.
Another issue with drinking your calories is the sweeteners used in many sodas, especially high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is processed by the body in a slightly different way than white sugar, and may cause greater fat storage. It may also actually make you feel less full, since it may not fully stimulate the body’s insulin production. So people who consume this sweetener may be more prone to overeat when they pair soda and other foods together. Many believe that the rising levels of obesity in numerous Western countries is directly tied to the use of high fructose corn syrup in a number of products, though there are clearly other factors at work too.
So how can you avoid drinking your calories? Start by consuming enough water a day to truly address your body’s hydration needs. Most adults need between eight to ten glasses of water a day, and if you don’t drink this much, consider aiming for this as a goal. Often, people are amazed that their desire for other drinks diminishes significantly when they actually consume enough water. You also may find that consumption of enough water per day makes you less hungry.
Love those coffee drinks? Consider downgrading from mochas to cappuccinos or non-fat lattes. A nonfat latte will offer you some calories in the form of milk and some protein, without the fat and sugar that your body doesn’t really need. Even if you add a teaspoon of sugar (approximately 16 calories) you’ll still be consuming far less in calories than you would by ordering a sweetened drink.
If you’re drinking your calories in the form of smoothies, consider making your own smoothies at home. Stick to nonfat unsweetened yogurt rather than the frozen sugary stuff, and add a banana for plenty of sweet taste. A little protein powder can also make these drinks much higher in nutritional value, making them more like a meal than a beverage.