Common drinks: The good and bad for weight loss

common drinks

Successful weight loss involves changing the way we eat, drink and exercise. However, drinks are often consumed without counting the extra calories, which wreaks havoc with weight loss results.

The things we drink can be a trap for newcomers to a weight loss program. Drinks can be high in calories, fats, sugar, sodium and other nasties with names too long to mention here.

As a result, many of the drinks listed below are over-consumed and are playing havoc with our waistlines.

Let’s take a look at some common drinks

Soft drink: Did you know that in a 2 litre bottle of soft drink there are 43 teaspoons of sugar. Don’t think that you’re okay because you only drink diet soft drinks, as they can also keep your sweet tooth alive. The body thinks it’s getting something sweet, but it doesn’t, and this can cause sweet cravings which is not ideal for anyone on a weight loss plan. The gas in soft drinks can bloat you which can cause you to feel uncomfortable. I gave up drinking soft drink when I became a healthy person and haven’t gone back.

Fruit juice: Juice is often portrayed as ‘healthy’ and yes 100% juice is high in nutrients, however it has little if any fibre compared to eating the whole fruit. It takes around 4 oranges to make a glass of juice that takes no time at all to drink. But think about it, could you even eat 4 in one go? The difference is that by eating the fruit you get the natural fibre from the orange which bulks you up so that you feel full quickly. It is much better to eat your fruit than drink it, which is why I gave up drinking fruit juice many years ago.

Sports or energy drinks: These were created for athletes who train for long hours every day. Generally high in calories, caffeine, sugar and sodium (salt), these drinks are not for you, unless of cause if you’re a triathlete 😊.

Coffee and tea: Black tea and coffee have zero calories which is a plus, however caffeine is a mild diuretic so you can’t count them in your 8 glasses of water each day. Remember if you add full fat milk and teaspoons of sugar to your coffee/tea this will add huge amounts of calories and fats when tallied up at the end of the week. Consider going caffeine-free with your tea and coffee or restrict to only one or two a day.

Herbal teas: These are a great way to increase your fluid intake and do count towards your 8 glasses a day. My personal favourites are Peppermint or Lemongrass and Ginger. These were my go-to when I cut out soft drink and caffeine, so much better for the body 😊

Alcohol: Moderation is important here. Alcohol dehydrates the body and contains huge amounts of ‘empty’ calories. Put it in the ‘special event’ category or do what I did and quit drinking alcohol altogether. If this seems too hard, aim for more alcohol free days in your week and use your calories for healthier options. When I go out I order sparkling mineral water with fresh lime and ice, then if they have it I ask for them to add some fresh mint, so it’s a Mojito Mocktail.

Cordial: Another high-sugar drink that offers little in the way of nutrition. Choose diet cordials and only use in moderation as they use artificial sweeteners.

Milk-based drinks: Drinks such as lattes, mochas and hot chocolates fall into this category, as do the bottles or cartons of iced coffee and chocolate drinks you buy at takeaway shops. These are high in calories and fats, especially when made on full fat milk. Milk is a good source of energy and protein, and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but it’s NOT A DRINK – it’s FOOD. So, don’t count this in your 8 glasses of water each day.

Coconut water: (Not to be confused with coconut milk which is very high in fat.) I don’t drink it, but pure coconut water is a natural drink with no artificial additives or sweeteners. It’s cholesterol free, 99% fat free, low in carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugars. Coconut water is a natural isotonic drink that provides many of the same benefits as formulated sports drinks, including electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium) in their natural form and zero caffeine.

Water: Of course, I’ve saved the best until last, water is the optimum drink. If you have 8 glasses a day your body will thank you. And better still there are zero calories. If you struggle to drink water, put a purifier on your tap to make the water taste better. Add a slice of lemon or lime to make it more interesting. I have a fancy glass that I use to drink my water when I have visitors so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Note: Unflavoured sparkling water also counts in your 8 glasses a day, as do herbal teas, try them hot or cold.

To wrap it up or should I say to drink it up 😊

Take responsibility for the drinks that are passing your lips every day.  Even an extra 100 calories per day will affect your weekly weight loss. For example, drink a 150ml glass of red wine each night and that’s around 100 calories – but it quickly adds up to a whopping 700 calories for the week.

Am I suggesting you give up your preferred drinks? No. But you will need to adjust your menu plan to allow for it.

I found that when I drank wine or juice it affected my success on the scales which is why I cut them out completely and my skin and health have been the winner. Something to think about 😊

As a nation we are consuming a lot of drinks with very little nutritional value and far too many excess calories. Don’t live in ignorant bliss. Be proactive and know where every calorie is coming from, so you can make an informed choice as to whether to include it in your healthy living plan, or not.

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