Drinking Your Calories
Fluid intake is probably the most promising area for you to cut calories, fast. If you think about it, the human race used to ONLY drink water, tea, coffee, or alcohol, with the main staple obviously being water. Well, not anymore. Most people today drink several soft drinks, flavored energy drinks, and/or fruit juices every day, with water being the least commonly chosen item. This in part is due to aggressive advertising and the fast food industry. Not to mention the fact that we have become used to the insane amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener in these drinks. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely LOVE a coke or a beer on occasion. But I do follow one simple rule that helps me keep the calories in check: “One ‘Fun Drink’ a Day”, but no-calorie water otherwise.
Now, water doesn’t have to be boring. When I was trying to transition from drinking my daily Coke to water, I simply filled in the gap with carbonated alternatives. If you’re missing the carbonation from soft drinks, Perrier carbonated water comes in bottles or cans of regular, lime or grapefruit flavors. Cans of La Croix carbonated water have several natural flavors, my personal favorite being coconut. For a stronger tasting water, there are several ‘water enhancers’ or ‘liquid flavor drops’ that are zero calorie, pocket sized and portable. You simply squirt a little into your bottle of water to add that flavor (though these are usually concentrated artificial sweeteners, I still argue they are a better choice than diet soft drinks. Same goes for carbonated water). This is a great option for at work. I would encourage the selection of diet colas, except for the fact that they have been shown to make people GAIN weight! This seems counter-intuitive, until you check out the list of crazy processed ingredients on the side of the can. It is probably a better choice to select a regular cola/soft drink than a diet one. Other low calorie (basically no-calorie) choices for drinks include fruit infused water (I like watermelon, or sliced cucumber and mint); you just dump some fruit in a pitcher, then ladle or strain it back out after half an hour or more. “Hint” is a water brand that does this for you, and I’m a big fan.
I also like green or black tea and coffee, but you have to be careful about calories from honey, sugar, and cream. Great alternatives to sugar include stevia or truvia sweeteners, and you can always use skim or almond milk instead of cream. Fruit juices (check to make sure the label states “ 100% juice” and not ‘fruit cocktail’ or ‘fruit drink’) are not necessarily a bad choice, especially for kids, but they are very high in natural sugars and calories, so I suggest watering down the juice by half and limiting to one or two servings a day. Overall, It’s better to eat your fruit than to drink it. So, keep your one ‘fun drink’ a day, stick to water otherwise, and watch those pounds come off!
About our Author
Brittany Arnett is a graduate of the NOVA Southeastern University Physician Assistant Program in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Brittany completed her undergraduate studies at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, while playing Division I volleyball. Brittany has been part of the North Shore Family Practice team since 2011.