Hidden Calories in Your Drinks

Written By: Heather Jones, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Last Updated on:

Calorie-laden drinks may quench your thirst, but they don’t fill you up and satisfy your hunger as well as the calories from solid foods. So when you down a high-calorie soda, juice or other calorie-rich coffee drink before or during a meal, you may not eat less food later on to compensate. In fact, calories found in drinks will probably have little or no effect on how much you eat over the course of the day. That’s dangerous for your health, and for your waistline.

Making matters worse: liquid calories are hiding in your coffee drinks, your cocktails, your sodas, your fruit smoothies, and even in your “hydrating” sports drink. Serving sizes for beverages are also ballooning, and if you’re not careful, you will be too. Even average size beverages can put a hefty dent in your 2,000-calorie daily quota.

Let’s Take a look…….

  • 12 ounce glass of juice with breakfast: 170 calories
  • 16 ounce café latte with milk for mid-morning snack: 260 calories
  • 16 ounce sweetened iced tea with lunch: 120 calories
  • 12 ounce fruit smoothie for afternoon snack: 300 calories
  • 8 ounce glass of red wine with dinner: 170 calories

Total hidden calories: 1,020 calories!

No doubt about it, calories in drinks add up FAST. What to do? Identify and combat the hidden liquid influences in your own life, and you’ll find it easier to lose weight as well as prevent weight gain.

Think Before You Drink – Calories Count

Because calories from drinks don’t contribute to that feeling of fullness, cutting back on them also doesn’t make people feel deprived. Here are some simple things you can always do that will help you reduce your liquid calories, and help you get back into those jeans!

Java junkies should always get their coffee drinks made with fat-free or low-fat milk. Forgo the sugar-sweetened, high-calorie flavor syrups, and skip the whip altogether!
Plain old water (not Coca-Cola, juice or sugar-sweetened beverages) should always be the beverage of choice to quench thirst. Try carrying a water bottle with you at all times, and refill it throughout the day.

While one glass of wine with dinner is fine, four glasses is not. When it comes to high-calorie alcohol, moderation is always the key. The truth is they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing.
As a rule, high-fiber, low-cal, filling real fruit is always better than fruit juice. And 100% juice is always better than a juice “drink.”

Always serve water with meals. Make it more exciting by adding slices of lemon or lime, or try adding just a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water.
Size matters when it comes to calories in drinks. A smaller size is always the lower-calorie choice.

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