We all Love to Drink

We all love drinks.  They are awesome on so many levels.  Drinking fluids offer refreshment, taste, enjoyment, and hydration.  Drinks come in infinite shapes, colors, and flavors.  Our options are endless.  However, our drink options do not come without a cost.

Many drinks taste fantastic because they contain sugars and fats to add flavor.  While taste is not a bad thing, extra calories can add up and pose a problem.  For example, one 12 ounce can of soda pop contains 150 calories.  Say you drink one can a day.  That wouldn’t seem outrageous to most people. Over a years’ time, that can turn into 15 extra pounds due to all the sugar! Even more so, consider a 20-ounce bottle of soda pop.  We often drink these on the go, at lunch, or at home.  Over a year, a 240 calorie bottle of soda can add 26 pounds to your body!

Tasty Drinks Come with a Cost

I hate to be Johnny Rain Cloud, but we cannot afford to drink our calories.  Drinking for taste can worsen our health over time.  There are so many factors to stay at a healthy weight acting against us.  Our culture often encourages weight gain through large portions, convenience foods, take out, and extensive party celebrations.  Drinking high calorie fluids only adds fuel to the fire.

You are probably shaking your head at me right now.  You understand the risk, but do not want to sacrifice taste.  I get you.  I like tasty drinks like the rest of us. We need to be smart consumers, however.  Doing our research and choosing high quality, low calorie drinks will do us an enormous favor.  Instead of sugary sodas, energy drinks alcoholic beverages, or coffees, it is important to choose low calorie options.  Your choices include:

Your Best Options

  • Water itself! Water is the great equalizer.  Our bodies are 70% water.  We need water to survive.  Also, it is a blank canvas so you can flavor it any way you wish.
  • Flavored or unflavored carbonated water: Willing to ditch soda, but not the fizz? Carbonated water is a fantastic option.  You can find numerous flavors and brands at your grocery store.  With the right equipment, you can even carbonate your water at home!
  • Coffee with limited ingredients: I love coffee. I drink it every single day.  Brewed black coffee offers zero calories with caffeine plus some nutrients.  We run into trouble when we add an exuberant amount of sugars and creams.
  • Unsweetened tea: Tea is basically boiled water than has absorbed flavors from various herbs and spices. The variety of tea choices is countless.  Many have strong flavors and do not require any type of sweetener!
  • Water infused with fruit or herbs: Water can absorb very well.  It takes on the likeness of whatever it mixes with.  You can infuse water with your favorite fruits or herbs for a tasty and refreshing drink!
  • Low fat milk: Dairy is an important food group. The dairy group supplies our bodies with many nutrients, namely calcium.  Dairy also offers protein to keep our muscles healthy.
  • Almond or soy milk: Non-dairy alternatives are all the rage right now; and for good reason. Milks made from almonds or soy taste and feel like milk, with a fraction of its calories.  Plus, there are a variety of brands and flavors to choose from.

I was going to include diet soda pop in this list, but I feel it would be an asterisk*.  While it is true that diet pop does not contain calories, research suggests that it could potentially send us in the wrong direction.  The overwhelming sweet taste could potentially cause us to crave sweets more.  On top of that, some studies suggest that diet soda pop can cause weight gain.  Therefore, be cautious about diet pop and be sure to limit drinking it.

Bringing it All Together

Nutrition is not a zero-sum game.  The fluids we drink fall into that definition.  Drinking one healthy or unhealthy fluid will not influence our health one way or another.  But, the cumulative effect day after day will impact our health.  Sure, you can enjoy a high calorie beverage every once in a while. No food or drink is ever completely off limits.  Act smart, however.  Find low calorie drinks you can enjoy all day. Reserve high calorie drinks for special occasions.  Over time, you will find that your body will thank you.

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