If you’re trying to lose weight, here’s a great reason to log what you drink in your daily food diary: New research suggests that beverages such as pop, alcohol and sweetened and unsweetened fruit drinks may account for a too-large proportion of our recommended daily calorie intake. In an 18-month study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects consumed more than 350 of their daily calories from beverages’that’s about 20 percent of their total daily intake.
Scientists and dietitians are suggesting that having fewer of these drinks could be an easy step for weight loss. Study subjects who cut out just one sugary beverage a day lost about one pound of body weight in six months, and one and a half pounds in 18 months.
Plus, interestingly, study participants who cut liquid calories lost more weight than when they eliminated the same number of calories in food.
The theory? Researchers reason that the absence of chewing and swallowing and the fact that beverages are emptied from the stomach at a faster rate than solid foods may weaken the body’s signals that tell us we’re full.
The best liquid replacement is water, say experts. In fact, says Kate Comeau, a dietitian in Montreal, ‘most of the fluids you drink should be water.’ As for healthier-caloric beverages, she says, ‘I recommend milk or a milk substitute, such as a fortified soy or rice milk.’
More ways to drink healthier
‘ Flavour plain water with some frozen strawberries, or slices of lemon or cucumber.
‘ Dilute a glass of juice with half water or soda water, suggests Crystal Dow, a registered dietitian in Vancouver.
‘ When it comes to alcohol, avoid coolers and frozen blended drinks. Dow suggests going for wine instead: ‘You’ll get the antioxidant benefits.’
This article was originally titled "Rethink those drinks," in the November/December 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.