Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Don’t Drink Your Calories!

Sugar Sweetened Beverages

What’s wrong with a morning coffee drink with work friends, a can of soda at lunch and a strawberry evening treat with your kids? 150 calories, 250 calories and a whopping 750 calories – not to mention lots and lots of sugar! Yikes! While these sweet treats aren’t bad in and of themselves, they can be detrimental to your weight management goals if not taken in moderation.

Why Sweetened Beverages Don’t Work

  • Satiety – Sweetened beverages don’t provide much satiety, meaning they don’t make you feel full after eating. Think about it for a minute. Sipping on a soda for 150 calories (and not to mention, over 40 grams of sugar in one stop) does not necessarily make you feel full. If you are hungry, you may even pair the drink with a bag of chips to take the hunger edge off, which can increase your calorie total for the day. On the contrary, if you have 150 calories of a container of light yogurt and 1/2 cup of fruit, you will feel quite satisfied.
  • Calories – They can wreck your ideal calorie range for the day. Each gram of sugar adds four calories to a beverage. This may not seem like much, but it is. It’s not uncommon for a sweetened beverage to have 50 grams of sugar! That adds 200 calories to a beverage. An average woman may eat around 1500 calories for the entire day. Slurping a medium strawberry milkshake will take almost half your calories for the day, leaving you with little room for other meals or pushing you over your ideal calorie goal.
  • Nutrition – Sweetened beverages typically do not provide nutritional benefits. I know, it’s a bummer. But it’s the truth! Sweetened sports drinks, colas and coffees do not provide anything significant except sugar and calories, thus putting you at risk for weight gain and a variety of health conditions. If you are going to drink your calories, aim for something that provides some nutrition such as a glass of skim milk which adds protein and calcium to your diet.

So, maybe sweetened fluids don’t work – but health professionals are in agreement. Fluid is essential for health and wellness, and they are one of the most important features in your diet. Make sure you choose wisely!

Keys to Fluid Success

  • Hydration is one of the keys to health! Every cell and tissue in your body uses water. Water is important to maintain your body temperature, remove waste and keep you healthy. Be aware that fluid is important!
  • Make your goal 64 oz. Sip, sip, all day long. Find a fun water bottle or new straw to keep things fun and keep you sipping. Consider tracking your fluid intake in a phone app to make sure you are getting what you need.
  • Figure out what counts. Water is always best, but vary things up a bit so you won’t get bored. Try water with a slice or two of cucumber, mint, or a couple berries. Unsweetened tea or coffee can be a good option, as well as drinks that are sweetened with Splenda or another non-caloric sweetener.

Cheers to a new hydrated you!

About the Author: 

Sarah Muntel, RDSarah Muntel, RD, is the Bariatric Coordinator at Community Bariatric Surgeons in Indianapolis, IN. She has 15 years of experience working with bariatric patients and loves to watch people as they change their lives and improve their health. Her favorite part of her job is her weekly support group. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. 

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