Saturday, December 8, 2007

Don't Drink Your Calories

The average person’s beverage consumption equals approximately 20% of their total caloric intake on a daily basis. In other words, many of us are drinking our calories!

What have you had to drink today? Did you have a big glass of orange juice w/breakfast? Or just the juice? Did you stop at Starbucks and get a venti drink of your choice? Or you might enjoy a smoothie from your favorite smoothie chain. Maybe you drink black coffee with sugar and cream at home or the office?

A Venti Peppermint Mocha made with 2% milk and whipped cream is a whopping 480 calories and 17g of fat. If you get it nonfat with no whipped cream it’s till 360 calories but only 3.6g of fat. Still, that’s way too many calories for one beverage. You could have a large, healthy breakfast for all those calories, not to mention the nutritional boost from eating real, healthy food.

When I go to Starbucks I get drip coffee and add my own cream and no calorie sweetener. That way I know exactly what I’m getting in my cup.

Many people think that juice, since it’s from fruit, is healthy. But juice contains a lot of calories and sugar and little of the nutrition of the whole fruit, unless you have a juicer and juiced the whole fruit for that glass of juice you enjoy. Eating a whole apple, orange or cup of berries has about a third or the calories of the same juice and has all the fiber, vitamins and antioxidants without the sugar shock.

You would think that a smoothie is a great choice as a beverage or meal replacement. However, most smoothies from your favorite smoothie shop are again loaded with a lot of calories and sugar. Sure there’s a lot of fruit in them but many are made with ice cream or sherbets or sorbets which equal a lot of sugar. Look at the nutrition information on your favorite smoothie the next time you stop in for one. You might be shocked that your healthy treat is not so healthy with the average regular size smoothie having approximately 400 calories.

I had to stop getting my favorite protein smoothie about a year ago. It was originally 400 calories (regular size) with 50g of protein and 20 carbs. I’d get the small size which saved me 100 calories. Unless you’re a body builder you don’t need 50g of protein in one sitting. Sounds good right? But then a lab tested the nutrition facts of each smoothie and my favorite was now 600 calories!!! So I don’t even go there anymore. I can mix up a protein shake in my own kitchen in just a minute or two that has only 190 calories and almost no fat.

Of course we all know that soda is filled with sugar and empty calories unless you drink diet. Choosing sugar-free beverages is a good choice but nothing hydrates you like water.

I realize many of you don’t like to drink water or get bored with water. It’s just one of those things you have to learn to like for your health if nothing else.

Water is the only beverage that helps regulate body temperature, keeps you regular, flushes out toxins, boosts your metabolism, and improves organ function. So if you have trouble drinking adequate amounts of water jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon or a little cranberry juice to add flavor.