June 15th, 2011 by Digestive Detective
Did you know that a 20 ounce soda has about 17 teaspoons of sugar and over 200 calories?!
While many of us focus on food when we think of controlling calories, how often do we stop and think about our drinks? Empty calories and high doses of sugar are found in many drink options that stifle our goals of healthy weight maintenance.
Poor drink choices are ones that contain a lot of extra calories without very many vitamins and minerals. Choosing these types of drinks regularly can keep you from maintaining a healthy weight. Beware of sport drinks, sodas and fruit flavored beverages (even waters made with “vitamins”). These types of drinks contain large amounts of added sugar and are packed with calories without many nutrients. Diet sodas are also problematic as they contain artificial sweeteners that our bodies do not readily recognize, leaving us hungry or thirsty for more.
Drinks and Diabetes
Soft drinks sweetened with sugar may be contributing to the rise in cases of type 2 diabetes because these drinks add significant quantities of calories and carbohydrate to the diet. Since these drinks contain large amounts of rapidly absorbable carbohydrates, they may induce a fast and dramatic increase in both glucose and insulin concentrations, compared to drinks made with no sugar or a sugar substitute. If you are diabetic or looking to prevent diabetes, cautiously monitor your sugar and calorie intake of these types of drinks.
Think Before You Drink Tips
- Drink water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle (opt for glass or steel to eliminate plastic leaching) with you and refill it often. To stay well hydrated, you should aim for half of your body weight in ounces of H2O daily; for example, a 150 lb woman should consume 75 oz of water as a baseline and potentially more if exercising and sweating throughout the day.
- Trade large cream & sugar filled coffees for lower calorie versions. Downsize your large, calorie-packed mocha latter for a medium coffee sweetened with stevia.
- If you drink fruit juice, ensure that the label reads “100% juice” and not “fruit beverage” or “fruit drink.” Limit your daily intake of fruit juice - experts recommend getting no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice each day – even better, opt for fresh-pressed juices or consider using a processor like a VitaMix blender that allows you to maintain the whole foods ingredients from fresh fruits including pulp and skins as these areas of the fruit contain vital nutrients such as fiber, and antioxidants such as quercetin.
- Switch to plain tea (green, white, black) or plain coffee. Teas contain high quantities of antioxidants.
- For a great thirst-quencher when plain water won't do the trick, try some coconut water: an 8 oz. serving contains 65 claories and 14 grams of naturally occuring sugar. In addition, coconut water is high in potassium and low in sodium.
*Tried coconut water? Let us know what you think by commenting and sharing your experience below.