Think Before You Drink

by DavalosMcCormack on April 3, 2009

So, the other day I was sitting around at lunch with some of my colleagues chatting about the resurgence of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Obama bailout plan, and the nutritional qualities of Funyun Rings,  and I noticed that not one of my workmates was drinking water. They were drinking sodas and ice teas and fruit juices and such like. But not one ordinary bottle or even cup of water.

Now, we live in San Francisco which has some of the cleanest, tastiest water in the U.S. Apparently they’ve done blind taste testing and found that it beats the pants off fancy, expensive bottled water. So there is no reason why my mates at work couldn’t quench their thirst with a refreshing beverage straight from the tap.

That thought was reinforced when I saw a new study that says when it comes to weight loss, what you drink may be more important than what you eat.

The study, in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said the calories you get from drinks are more influential in terms of how much weight you put on, and how much weight you shed, than the calories you get from solid food.

Now it’s not just any beverage you understand, it’s those deliciously tasty, sugar sweetened beverages. That means sodas, fruit drinks, fruit punches, or any drink where one of the main ingredients is sugar.

In fact, the researchers found that at 37 percent of calories, sugar sweetened beverages were the leading cause of liquid calories. For example, a 12 oz can of Coke has 155 calories, a 16oz can has 200 calories.

So that is the bad news. The good news is that just by cutting out these drinks, and substituting water, you can dramatically cut how many calories you take in every day. And cutting out those calories means weight lost.

Now cutting back on beer and wine and those calorie packed coffee-drinks at Starbucks can also help, but nowhere near as much as those sugar sweetened drinks.

As a society we’ve become so accustomed to meeting the demands of  our sweet tooth that we sometimes forget we have a choice. We instinctively reach for, ask for, order those sweet tasting drinks.

After all, you are having a salad for lunch so why not have a Pepsi or Coke. Or you  skipped breakfast so you need something to give you a little kick-start to the day. Or it’s 4pm and you had to skip lunch so you need something to give you a boost to get through to closing time.

But each can or bottle of those oh-so-sweet, deliciously refreshing drinks comes with a hefty price, and I’m not talking just dollars and cents here. There’s a calorie count too.

So, next time you are thinking about how you can lose a few pounds and are sitting down to lunch with some friends, take a look around you and notice what people are drinking.

Then take a look at what you are drinking.

Sometimes the answer is right in front of us. We just need to know how to tap iinto it.

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