April 21, 2015

Re-Think Your Drink

Not good for your waist line…

Calorie-laden drinks may feel great on your taste buds but they are not good for your waist line. In fact, one of the number one reasons behind weight issues in North America is the amount of liquid calories people are drinking. Liquid calories are lurking around every corner making it difficult not to choose them! You’ll find them hidden in coffee and tea beverages (mochachino anyone?), pop, juice, fruit smoothies, sport drinks, “energy” drinks and of course alcoholic beverages. A client once told me her husband challenged her to quit drinking pop while he quit smoking. She was surprised when she lost a few clothes sizes without changing anything else in her diet!

High sugar /high fat/ and high calorie drinks are not only adding empty calories to our diet, but they also don’t fill us up the same way calories from solid foods do. Because liquids digest quickly, they shoot your blood sugar up and if you cannot use the energy immediately it stores it (that means weight gain). When blood sugar goes up quickly, the body brings it down quickly – making you hungry again! It becomes a vicious circle of high calorie/high sugar drinks needed to give you energy every 60 minutes or so.

Choose your drinks wisely with these tips to help you re-think your drink:

Drink water more often. The best thirst quencher by far and if you hydrate properly you won’t eat food when your body is really just thirsty.

Limit juice to only 100% real fruit juice. If you read “beverage, drink or punch” on the label, it is mostly sugar water. Canada’s Food Guide recommends limiting juice to not more than 125-250ml per day. I recommend my clients try to fill their vegetable and fruit quota with whole food choices as much as possible, filling up on the high water content, fibre and having the added benefit of all the nutrients.

Choose milk instead of pop. Soy or dairy based, milk has protein (which can help satisfy your hunger) and is loaded in nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and A, magnesium, and potassium. Drink pop less often.

Drink water at meal time. Add pizzazz with a slice of lemon, lime or just a splash of cranberry juice.

Dilute the juice. If you just can’t do without juice, try diluting it with water, plain or carbonated. Start by diluting the juice half and half with water and work your taste buds up to ¾ water and ¾ juice.

In this case size matters! Choose smaller portions, or if your favorite beverage only comes in one size, share it with a friend or bargain with yourself to only drink half and save the rest for the next day.

Java junkies can choose to add low fat or fat free milks, limit the times you add syrups or sugar laden creamers, and skip the whip cream! Save that for only special occasions.

If you drink alcohol moderation of one to two drinks will help you not “waist” your calories.

Stock your fridge with healthy beverages. By purchasing sugar laden drinks less often, you’ll naturally drink healthier choices!

Article written by: Diane Britton, Registered Dietitian

For more posts like these, visit the Physical Wellness page.