Staying hydrated is essential to your well-being—just be sure you're not consuming too many calories in the beverages you drink
Water is essential to life. Drinking water has been shown to help manage weight and may promote weight loss in several ways:
- Drinking water instead of sweetened beverages lowers total caloric intake
- Studies show that people who drink water before eating consume fewer calories. This may be because water can make you feel full
- Drinking water may also change your metabolism. This may lead to weight loss
You may need more water if you are older, more active, or live in a hot climate or at a high altitude. Some health problems also increase the need for water. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine how much water is right for you.
Hydration is vital when you are physically active. When you go for a walk or take part in other physical activities suggested by your healthcare provider, try to start off well hydrated. Try to drink fluids a couple of hours before exercise, periodically during exercise, and more after you finish. This can help make up for the fluid you lose.
Sweetened drinks are a big source of extra calories. The average 12-oz soda has about 130 to 150 calories. Juice drinks can have closer to 200 calories in a 12-oz serving. Often, the drink you buy is even bigger—16 oz, 20 oz, or even 64 oz!
Maybe you prefer coffee drinks to sodas. The milk in coffee drinks can be good for you, but these drinks can also have lots of calories. At the coffee shop, a 12-oz latte made with 2% milk has 150 calories. You could switch to skim milk—it’s only 100 calories!
A latte is low-calorie compared to other drinks. Drinks with flavored syrup have more calories: a 2% milk white chocolate mocha can have 310 calories! Even when prepared with skim milk, it’ll add up to 270 calories—and that’s without whipped cream. At the coffee shop, you could choose smaller drinks made with skim milk. Try to avoid flavored syrups and ask for sugar-free. Also, try to watch out for extras like whipped cream. If you drink your coffee black, you may only be consuming 5 calories.
LOW-CAL BEVERAGE TIPS
It can be a shock to know how many calories are in your favorite drinks. The good news is that cutting out sweetened drinks can be an easy way to cut calories! Research shows that cutting back on liquid calories can help you lose weight; it may even help more than cutting back on “solid” calories!
For starters, you may want to try these suggestions:
- Drink water
- Choose diet beverages instead
- Try sparkling water with a little 100% fruit juice
- Float lemon, lime, or cucumber slices in a pitcher of water
- Make unsweetened iced tea
- Make herbal iced tea. Herbal teas come in many different flavors, like mint, berry, and citrus