What Beverages Can You Have While Trying to Lose Weight?
By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
With so much focus on the best foods to eat for weight loss, beverages tend to get overlooked. In fact, most people do not realize the impact that drinks can have on weight and overall health.
Beverages, especially sugar-sweetened drinks, make up a large part of the average daily calorie intake in America and can contribute to obesity and related health issues.
If you are making changes to your diet to lose weight, don’t forget about drinks!
Beverage Choices and Weight Loss
Here are some common beverages and their calories:
12 oz cola = ~150 calories
12 oz energy drink = ~110 calories
8 oz milk = ~100 calories
8 oz fruit juice = ~100 calories
Small vanilla milkshake = ~350 calories
Medium caramel frappuccino = ~270 calories
Standard rum and coke = ~150 calories
Not only do these beverages have more calories than you may realize, they are mostly made of sugar and lack beneficial nutrients. Too much added sugar can have negative consequences for your health. Milk and 100% fruit juice have some nutrients, but drinking too much of these beverages can contribute excess calories that may hinder weight loss efforts.
Even more, people tend to feel less full after drinking calories than they do after eating food. As a result, they will most likely eat the same amount or a larger quantity of food at meals to feel satisfied even if they have been drinking higher calorie beverages.
In other words, beverages can contribute calories without providing the satisfaction or nutrients.
What Should You Drink?
If you are making changes to your diet or receiving Healthy for Life Meals but not losing weight, your beverage choices may be the problem.
Here is a list of healthier drink options to help you make smart choices:
Water flavored with a splash of fruit juice or infused with frozen fruit and herbs
Carbonated, calorie-free water such as La Croix or similar brands
Tea or coffee with no or minimal amounts of added cream, milk, or sugars
Drinking milk in moderate amounts can be beneficial for some people, especially those who do not consume other sources of calcium and vitamin D. If you decide to incorporate milk in your diet while you are trying to lose weight, aim for skim or lower fat versions.
Diet sodas made with artificial sweeteners are also a popular choice for some people trying to lose weight, especially if they are used to drinking regular soda. However, they may do more harm than good.
Even though diet sodas do not provide calories, they can trigger feelings of hunger and lead to overeating as the body tries to compensate for the calories that it expects to come from a sweet beverage. A naturally flavored seltzer water is a good replacement for diet soda.
If you are trying to lose weight, try substituting some of your higher calorie beverages with the smart drink choices provided in this article.
Note from Healthy for Life Meals: With Healthy For Life Meals you can be confident that you’re getting the well-balanced nutrition you need. There’s never a need to purchase additional items like milk or juice for additional caloric content. Your meal plan is all-inclusive! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water each day – a minimum of 64 oz. Get started today.