So what did you have to drink this morning? A tall refreshing glass of OJ with breakfast to start your day, or a venti frappuccino enroute to the office? Well, that could be the sneaky culprit for your steadily expanding waistline.
Beverages are the most common diet derailers. A study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the average person consumes a shocking 37 percent of total daily calories in the form of sweetened beverages without even knowing it! Conversely, if you are trying to shed a few pounds, these calorie-laden sips are often the easiest to cut without you missing anything, too. This is particularly true when it comes to sugary drinks like fruit juices, sodas and alcoholic drinks.
Fancy having some booze with your meal? Think again. That is like having an extra course of meal. Alcohol itself is almost as calorific as fat, which many are not aware of. Recent research by the Royal Society for Public Health showed that vast majority of us have no idea how many calories we’re taking mindlessly in with a glass of wine, and 90 percent have no clue how damaging a pint of lager could do to our waistlines. To give you an idea, chugging in 1 pint of lager (180 calories) is as sinful as indulging in a slice of chocolate cake; a large glass of wine is the calorie-equivalent of 4 fish fingers; and the innocent-looking pina colada contains a whopping 644 calories – making it the liquid equivalent to a Big Mac!
Before we get to whether juice drinks and smoothies are calories worth your while, let’s start with the trouble with liquids: Our brains don’t register liquids the same way as solids. Studies have shown that the extra calories from liquids are unlikely to be compensated by eating less food each meal. Experts suggest that this is because we feel much more satisfied and “full”-filled if we actually munch on our calories.
Some may argue that drinks like fruit juice contain vitamins beneficial to our bodies. Well, juice beverages you purchase off the supermarket shelves are often are supplemented with vitamins to replace the natural fruit vitamins, which are wiped out during processing. But vast majority of the whole fruit’s health-giving fiber and phytonutrients are missing in juices. To make matters worse, juice drinks are typically sugar-loaded and are often spiked with artificial “flavour packs” to improve taste. So the ugly truth is that the packet of juice you got for lunch could be as good (or rather, bad) as a soda with some extra vitamin C.
What about a smoothie as a meal replacement? Again, most store-bought smoothies are health food fakes, being loaded with hidden sugar and calories. Their fruit content might make them look virtuous and antioxidant-packed, but they are actually highly calorie-dense as most have rich ice-cream or sugary sorbets added. An average regular-sized smoothie contains 400 calories, with 50g of protein and 20 carbs.
If losing weight is one of your New Year resolutions, just a single easy change can help you see a dip in your bathroom scale without deprivation, for good: Stay clear from sodas, juices, smoothies, energy drinks, and sweetened teas or coffee. Go for water – pure and simple. Water is the only drink that helps regulate body temperature, flushes out toxins, boost your metabolism and improves immune system. By cutting out that 250-calorie beverage every day, you can look forward to dropping 2 pounds a month!
If you really can’t stick to sky juice, here are some figure-friendly ideas to shake off some calories from your fave flavoured drinks:
– By Magdelene Lim
*This article has been selected Article of the Month for Dec 2014*