rethinking your drink

Rethinking Your Drink Helps to Lose Weight


Rethinking Your Drink Helps to Lose Weight. When it comes to weight loss, there’s no lack of diets promising fast results. There are low-carb diets, high-carb diets, low-fat diets, grapefruit diets, cabbage soup diets, and blood type diets, to name a few. But no matter what diet you may try, to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than your body uses. Most people try to reduce their calorie intake by focusing on food, but another way to cut calories may be to think about what you drink.

What Do You Drink? It Makes More Difference Than You Think!

Calories in drinks are not hidden (they’re listed right on the Nutrition Facts label), but many people don’t realize just how many calories beverages can contribute to their daily intake. As you can see in the example below, calories from drinks can really add up. But there is good news: you have plenty of options for reducing the number of calories in what you drink.

rethinking your drink
rethinking your drink

Occasion: Morning coffee shop run
Instead of: Medium café latte (16 ounces) made with whole milk
Calories: 265
Try Rethinking your drink: Small café latte (12 ounces) made with fat-free milk
Calories: 125

Occasion: Lunchtime combo meal
Instead of: 20-oz. bottle of nondiet cola with your lunch
Calories: 227
Try Rethinking your drink: Bottle of water or diet soda
Calories: 0

Occasion: Afternoon break
Instead of: Sweetened lemon iced tea from the vending machine (16 ounces)
Calories: 180
Try Rethinking your drink: Sparkling water with natural lemon flavor (not sweetened)
Calories: 0

Occasion: Dinnertime

rethinking your drink
rethinking your drink

Instead of: A glass of nondiet ginger ale with your meal (12 ounces)
Calories: 124
Try Rethinking your drink: Water with a slice of lemon or lime, or seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice
Calories: 0 calories for the water with a fruit slice, or about 30 calories for seltzer water with 2 ounces of 100% orange juice.

Total beverage calories: 796

Rethinking your drink total beverage calories: 125-155

(USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

Substituting no- or low-calorie drinks for sugar-sweetened beverages cuts about 650 calories in the example above.

Estimate the Number of Calories you take in

Of course, not everyone drinks the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages shown above. Check the list below to estimate how many calories you typically take in from beverages.

Type of Beverage: Fruit punch
Calories in 12 ounces: 192
Calories in 20 ounces: 320

Type of Beverage: 100% apple juice
Calories in 12 ounces: 192
Calories in 20 ounces: 300

Type of Beverage: 100% orange juice
Calories in 12 ounces: 168
Calories in 20 ounces: 280

Type of Beverage: Lemonade
Calories in 12 ounces: 168
Calories in 20 ounces: 280

Type of Beverage: Regular lemon/lime soda
Calories in 12 ounces: 148
Calories in 20 ounces: 247

Type of Beverage: Regular cola

rethinking your drink
rethinking your drink

Calories in 12 ounces: 136
Calories in 20 ounces: 227

Type of Beverage: Sweetened lemon iced tea (bottled, not homemade)
Calories in 12 ounces: 135
Calories in 20 ounces: 225

Type of Beverage: Tonic water
Calories in 12 ounces: 124
Calories in 20 ounces: 207

Type of Beverage: Regular ginger ale
Calories in 12 ounces: 124
Calories in 20 ounces: 207

Type of Beverage: Sports drink
Calories in 12 ounces: 99
Calories in 20 ounces: 165

Type of Beverage: Fitness water
Calories in 12 ounces: 18
Calories in 20 ounces: 36

Type of Beverage: Unsweetened iced tea
Calories in 12 ounces: 2
Calories in 20 ounces: 3

Type of Beverage: Diet soda (with aspartame)
Calories in 12 ounces: 0*
Calories in 20 ounces: 0*

Type of Beverage: Carbonated water (unsweetened)
Calories in 12 ounces: 0
Calories in 20 ounces: 0

Type of Beverage: Water
Calories in 12 ounces: 0
Calories in 20 ounces: 0

*Some diet soft drinks can contain a small number of calories that are not listed on the nutrition facts label.

( USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

Milk also Contains Calories

rethinking your drink
rethinking your drink

Milk contains vitamins and other nutrients that contribute to good health, but it also contains calories. Choosing low-fat or fat-free milk is a good way to reduce your calorie intake and still get the nutrients that milk contains.

Type of Milk: Chocolate milk (whole)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 208

Type of Milk: Chocolate milk (2% reduced-fat)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 190

Type of Milk: Chocolate milk (1% low-fat)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 158

Type of Milk: Whole Milk (unflavored)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 150

Type of Milk: 2% reduced-fat milk (unflavored)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 120

Type of Milk: 1% low-fat milk (unflavored)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 105

Type of Milk: Fat-free milk (unflavored)
Calories per cup (8 ounces): 90

(USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

Learn To Read Nutrition Facts Labels Carefully

Be aware that the Nutrition Facts label on beverage containers may give the calories for only part of the contents. The example below shows the label on a 20-oz. bottle. As you can see, it lists the number of calories in an 8-oz. serving (100) even though the bottle contains 20 oz. or 2.5 servings. To figure out how many calories are in the whole bottle, you need to multiply the number of calories in one serving by the number of servings in the bottle (100 x 2.5). You can see that the contents of the entire bottle actually contain 250 calories even though what the label calls a “serving” only contains 100. This shows that you need to look closely at the serving size when comparing the calorie content of different beverages.


  • Serving Size 8 fl. oz.
  • Servings Per Container 2.5
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories 100

Sugar by Any Other Name: How To Tell Whether Your Drink Is Sweetened

rethinking your drink
Sweeteners added to food and drinks

Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious to anyone looking at the ingredients list. Some common caloric sweeteners are listed below. If these appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage.

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

High-Calorie Culprits in Unexpected Places

Coffee drinks and blended fruit smoothies sound innocent enough, but the calories in some of your favorite coffee-shop or smoothie-stand items may surprise you. Check the Web site or in-store nutrition information of your favorite coffee or smoothie shop to find out how many calories are in different menu items. And when a smoothie or coffee craving kicks in, here are some tips to help minimize the caloric damage:

At the coffee shop:

  • Request that your drink is made with fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
  • Order the smallest size available.
  • Forgo the extra flavoring – the flavor syrups used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut, are sugar-sweetened and will add calories to your drink.
  • Skip the Whip. The whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds calories and fat.
  • Get back to basics. Order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and artificial sweetener, or drink it black.

At the smoothie stand:

  • Order a child’s size if available.
  • Ask to see the nutrition information for each type of smoothie and pick the smoothie with the fewest calories.
  • Hold the sugar. Many smoothies contain added sugar in addition to the sugar naturally in fruit, juice, or yogurt. Ask that your smoothie is prepared without added sugar: the fruit is naturally sweet.

Better Beverage Choices Made Easy

Now that you know how much difference a drink can make, here are some ways to make smart beverage choices:

  • Choose water, diet, or low-calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  • Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
  • Serve water with meals.
  • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
  • When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-oz. cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories.

Final Thought on Rethinking your Drink

Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages.

I hope you found this article helpful and inspiring. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

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