Don’t Drink and Diet

Are liquid calories sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

Looking for an easy way to cut calories? Start by taking a look at what you are drinking each day.

According to “The Beverage Panel,” a consortium of scientists working with the University of North Carolina, 21% of the calories we consume in the U.S. come from beverages. According to that same study, the average American is drinking about 450 calories a day!

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to liquid calories. The bad news is they are the most difficult calories for us to gauge, because there are none of the greasy, cheesy visual cues we get when we go face-to-face with a loaded plate of nachos or a triple cheeseburger.

The good news is that they are the easiest calories to cut from your diet.

“Soda,” “Pop,” and “Soda-Pop”
Sweetened sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, pre-sweetened teas, and most sports drinks are full of empty calories – lots of them. Dr. Bradley has written at length about sweet tea, but soda is every bit as dangerous when it comes to your waistline (and, ultimately, your health).

A single 12-ounce can of cola has about 39 grams of sugar, adding roughly 140 calories to your diet. It might be hard to visualize that, but that means that each can contains roughly 9.5 teaspoons of sugar! The worst part: most of us drink soda in even larger quantities.

If you must have some sort of fizzy drink in your day, a diet or zero-calorie soda is a much, much better option. Nevertheless, you should try to limit sodas (diet and regular) to 1 per day.

Stop Drinking Your Fruit
Did you know that the Institute of Medicine recommends reducing fruit juice as a means of controlling childhood obesity, which is quickly becoming an epidemic here in the United States?

For adults as well, it is recommended that two-thirds of your fruit intake should be from whole fruit. Of course, if you are on the OurSkinny Program, you will want to eliminate fruit entirely until, as you near your goal weight, you begin to transition from the diet.

As for fruit juices, you should pay attention to the sugars on the label. Store-bought juices often contain as much sugar as a Snickers bar!

Happy hour can be expensive!
Alcohol is a carbohydrate itself, and all alcoholic beverages necessarily add calories to your diet.

If you are trying to lose weight, and especially if you are on the OurSkinny Weight Loss Program, you are really making things hard on yourself if you are drinking alcoholic beverages.

You can undo all the hard work of a week in a single happy hour!

12 oz.
Michelob Ultra
Miller Lite
Bud Light
Pabst Blue Ribbon

5 oz.
Champagne (4 oz.)
White Wine
Rose / Lighter Reds
Medium / Heavy Reds
Mimosa (1:1) (4 oz.)
Sake (4 oz.)
Dessert Wines

8 oz.
Rum and Diet Coke
Bloody Mary
Gin and Tonic
Rum and Coke
Vodka Tonic
White Russian
Chocolate Martini

  • The “heavier” the beer, including most craft brews, the more calories it is likely to have.
  • Note that draft beer generally comes in 16-ounce (pint) glasses.
  • 5 ounces is the standard pour for a glass of wine.
  • Specialty cocktails are often a good deal larger than 8 oz, so pay attention!
  • The key stat for mixologists: a shot of 80-proof liquor adds about 96 calories to your diet.

Party healthy!
Hey, we know that it’s summer and time for family vacations and lazy weekend afternoons by the pool and leisurely trips to the beach. So even if you do plan on having a refreshing adult beverage, make a healthier choice.

Know the numbers! Be sure to read labels. Have a healthy snack before heading to Margaritaville. And don’t forget that mixers add calories: see if you can find a diet or reduced-calorie option when making your drink of choice.

Most of all, be safe and have a fabulous Fourth of July,

- Leslie Culbertson, MSSM, CSCS

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