One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from friends of mine who are trying to lose weight is: “I’m eating healthy and working out but I’m not losing as much weight as I should! What am I doing wrong?” And oftentimes, the reason they’re not losing enough weight is because they’re unconsciously consuming more calories than they think. A lot of these “hidden” calories are in drinks! Alcohol, sodas, even juice which is supposed to be the “healthy” option are full of calories and sugar! And your morning coffee could be adding up to 500 calories to your daily diet. So – one of the biggest tips I can give for people trying to lose weight is – don’t drink your calories!!
Here’s how the caloric counts break down:
1. Sodas: For most sodas, 8oz has anywhere from 100-125 calories. So drinking that 16 oz Coke with lunch could add up to 250 calories to your diet! And forget about supersizing – that would add up to over 500 calories per day!
2. Coffee: You might think of your morning latte as having no effect on your diet. But actually – unless you’re ordering either a tall nonfat cappuccino or a tall nonfat latte from starbucks, you could run anywhere from 200-500 calories with your morning coffee! Why? Because of all the sugary syrup add-ins, the whipped cream, the full fat milk (if you don’t ask for nonfat), the caramel, the chocolate, etc. etc.). And the drink titles can be decieving. The “Tall Chai Tea Latte” sounds healthy, but actually has 200 calories and 31g sugar! What’s one of the worst drinks you can get at Starbucks? The Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino® blended coffee with Chocolate Whipped Cream – a grande will run you 470 calories and 17g fat! Ack. You could eat an entire lunch & dessert for that amount of calories.
3. Juice. Basically, the rule with juice is 8 oz carry about 80-100 calories. So if you have a glass of juice, you’re going to be drinking at least that many calories.
4. Alcohol. Wine/beer have about 80-100 calories for 8 oz. 1 shot of any hard alcohol has 60-100 calories. Everything else – all fruity mixed drinks, multiple glasses of wine, etc can go anywhere from 200-600+ calories!
The takeaway here is – if you’re following a 1,500-2,000 calorie/day diet, and you get 500 of those calories from sugar laden drinks – losing weight is going to be a major challenge!
So what does that mean? Should you cut out all drinks? No way! There are some great alternatives – you won’t be stuck with drinking only water for the rest of your life 🙂
Healthier Drink Alternatives
1. Soda: If you must have soda, there are tons of diet, calorie-free options for all of the big brands – I’ve even found Diet Cherry Coke! And for the most part, they all taste pretty close to the originals. And it’s definitely worth it when you think about the calorie savings! But keep in mind that all of these diet drinks are flavored with artificial sweeteners – which are basically chemicals added to the drink. So if you can, stay away from soda in general and stick to more natural fizzy drinks like sparkling water!
2. Sparkling Water: This is another great alternative to soda and to juice. If you mix flavored sparkling water with 1/4 cup of apple juice or orange juice, you end up with a very refreshing drink that only has about 30 calories!
3. Starbucks: I know sometimes you just NEED coffee. So what are some healthy low calorie options at Starbucks?
– Hot Tea: If you get a Tazo Chai tea bag with water, let it steep for a few minutes and add 1/4 cup nonfat milk and splenda – you end up with a great, tall, hot drink for only 30-40 calories!
– Tall Non-Fat Cappuccino, sweetened with splenda or sugar-free syrup: 80 calories
– Tall Non-Fat Latte, sweetened with splenda or sugar-free syrup: This is about 100-120 calories
– Hot Coffee or Espresso with a shot of nonfat milk, sweetened with splenda – 20-40 calories max
Essentially, you want to stay away from the mochas, caramels, hot chocolates, sugary-syrup add-ins, etc. That cuts the calories down by a lot!
4. Juice: Essentially, the way to get around juice is by mixing it with sparkling water (like in #2) or finding sugar free versions that taste like juice. Flavor Splash by Dasani is pretty good – refreshing and doesn’t feel like water. Propel is a good alternative to Gatorade. There’s also Crystal Light powders – which mixed with water make pretty good lemonade!
5. Alcohol: Basically, stick to red wine or beer and only have 1-2 drinks max! If you want hard alcohol or a mixed drink, have rum and DIET coke instead of regular, or vodka soda (club soda has 0 calories), etc. Stay away from Long Island Iced Teas, Margheritas, Pina Coladas, etc. etc.