Liquid calories can certainly sabotage your weight loss success. If you’re failing to properly assess how many calories are in your drinks, that could be why you’re not meeting your weight loss goals. In fact, some drinks that seem healthy such as fruit juice and bottled smoothies, for example, are in fact full of sugar and should be consumed in moderation if at all.
When we’re trying to reach certain fitness or weight loss goals, we often have a limited number of calories per day that we should be consuming in order to meet those goals. Despite our goals, many of us find ourselves absent-mindedly drinking full glasses of high-calorie drinks. Some of these drinks might even be cleverly marketed and packaged to appear to be “healthy”.
If you’re on a mission to get fit for summer, then you should definitely be cognizant of what you’re drinking and understand how many calories are in your drink. It’s not just the 600 calorie McDonald’s milkshakes we’re referring to. It’s also the seemingly “healthy” drinks that are empty calories we shouldn’t be consuming, as we could easily have water or homemade iced tea with Stevia instead.
Liquid Calories in Juice: Should You Avoid Drinking Fruit Juices?
Many people are in the habit of drinking a nice, big glass of orange juice in the morning. And later on in the day when they’re feeling thirsty, they might have another big glass. The average household glass holds about 2 cups of juice. This means that each glass of orange juice is approximately 220 calories. If you have 2 glasses of orange juice per day, that’s 440 calories per day just in juice. It’s crucial to be aware of this and cut back.
Similar to orange juice, one glass of apple juice or pineapple juice also has approximately 220 calories. If you drink half a glass, that’s a bit better. That would be around 1 cup of juice which is typically 110 calories. In general, there are a lot of calories in fruit drinks.
If you love drinking juice, try diluting it to keep a handle on those liquid calories. Mix your juice with water, so that you end up filling your glass with less juice. It will taste less sweet, and it will take some getting used to.
Another option is to switch to vegetable juice. Tomato juice, for example, is quite delicious and only has 42 calories per cup. This is much healthier than fruit juice.
Canned Soda: Try Healthier Alternatives
We all know how much sugar is in a canned soda such as Coca-Cola or Sprite. One can of soda has approximately 138 calories and 39 grams of sugar. If you’re in the habit of drinking canned soda, it’s definitely an unhealthy habit you need to break. These empty calories you’re drinking are not getting you any closer to your weight loss goals.
As an alternative to canned soda, try Zevia. It’s a naturally sweetened soda with zero calories. Cans of Zevia soda are sweetened with Stevia. Zevias taste good and hit the spot if you’re craving a soda. Try the grape soda flavor or the cream soda. You might find you can easily become used to drinking one of these instead of a sugary soda, and that it’s a simple transition that saves you a ton of unnecessary liquid calories.
Frappuccinos and Specialty Coffees
How many calories are in your favorite specialty coffee drink? If you love going to Starbucks and treating yourself to a Mocha Frappuccino, don’t gloss over the fact that those are about 300 calories or more. These drinks are not healthy. You can speak to your local Starbucks barista for tips on how to order a more calorie-wise version of your favorite specialty coffee. They can use low-fat milk, sugar-free syrup, less whipped cream, and offer other healthier alternatives for you.
One can of Red Bull has approximately 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar. Most energy drinks are just as bad. There’s a sugar-free version of most energy drinks that is zero calories, but an even better option is to just get yourself a cold-brew coffee sweetened with Stevia, which is only about 20 calories.
There are many ways you can get an energy pick-me-up without drinking a 200 calorie energy drink. You can even buy a bottle of caffeine pills from your local drug store. It’s safe to use caffeine pills in moderation, and they do not contain any sugars or calories.
Smoothies and Protein Shakes
Many smoothies and protein shakes are made with healthy ingredients, but the caveat is that they’re meant to be meal replacements. These drinks often have calorie-dense nut butter, dates and fruits that provide you with enough calories to replace your lunch. The problem is that many of us drink a high-calorie protein shake with lunch. Try drinking the smoothie and waiting 20 minutes. You’ll probably find that it fills you up enough on its own and that you don’t need to eat anything with it. Professional health food stores make their smoothies and protein shake with filling, nutritious ingredients that are meant to satisfy your hunger and be consumed as a meal replacement.
It’s common knowledge that most alcoholic beverages contain a lot of calories, carbs and sugars. At the liquor stores, the nutritional information such as the number of calories is not listed on the product. This makes it easy to misjudge how many calories you’re actually drinking when you have a few beers, a few hard lemonades, or a couple of glasses of wine.
A beer typically has approximately 150 calories per bottle, wine is about 110 calories per glass, and a hard iced tea such as a Palm Bay can be over 200 calories per can.
More and more liquor companies, however, are coming out with low-calorie alcoholic beverages. Nude Vodka Sodas are only 100 calories per can with zero carbs and zero sugar. Social Lite Vodka Soda has only 80 calories per can. Miller Lite beer only has 96 calories per bottle. Social Lite also now has a zero-sugar hard iced tea that is only 100 calories.
However, 100 calories per can adds up if you drink plenty of them, so you still need to be careful. That’s why it’s best to simply abstain from drinking alcohol whenever possible.
What Should You Drink?
If you’re counting calories (as many people do when they’re trying to reach a fitness or weight loss goal) you should make a list of what you’re allowed to drink. On this list should be things like water, green tea, black coffee, unsweetened coconut milk, homemade iced tea sweetened with Stevia, herbal teas, and vegetable juice. These are all very low-calorie drinks.
When you’re at Starbucks, exercise self-discipline and order a regular coffee sweetened with Stevia instead of ordering a high-calorie specialty coffee. Or, at least order the low-calorie version of your favorite specialty coffee using the barista’s help.
When it comes to alcohol, try to abstain unless it’s a special event. If you get into the habit of abstaining from alcohol except for special occasions, you’ll feel healthier and you’ll also save yourself from a lot of empty liquid calories.
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