By: Deborah Moss, RD, CDN
“Are you pouring on the pounds?” A controversial question posed by the Health Department to New Yorker’s in an effort to highlight the health impact of sweetened drinks. The campaign’s signature image, in which a bottle of soda turns to a blob of fat as it reaches the glass, is a reminder of how sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to obesity and related health problems. Studies suggest that calorie intake from beverages has more than doubled since the 1960’s and it’s no secret that soft drinks have gotten bigger over the years.
Today, a 20-ounce bottle of soda is a typical serving, and a single super-sized soda can pack as many calories as three to four regular cans of soda. And it’s just not soft drinks. Sweetened teas, fruit drinks and sports drinks are also loaded with calories. According to research, we don’t balance these increased liquid calories by taking in less calories from our food or by increasing our physical activity.
Take a look at some popular beverage calorie counts that you probably find yourself having daily:
- 12 oz. sports drink, 80 calories, 5.5 tsp sugar
- 16 oz. iced tea, 200 calories, 11.5 tsp sugar
- 16 oz. apple juice, 240 calories, 13 tsp sugar
- 20 oz. cola, 240 calories, 16 ½ tsp sugar
- 16 oz. caramel frappuccino, 410 calories, 16 tsp sugar
It’s common that when we count calories, we often forget to include calories from beverages. These excess calories provide no nutritional benefit and can lead to weight gain. Follow these tips for healthier beverage choices as well as help manage your calorie intake at the same time:
1. Drink Water - H20 is good for the body. It helps regulate body temperature, flush out waste products, protect organs and tissue, and carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells.
2. Drink Nutrient-Rich Milk – Rich in calcium and vitamin D, milk helps build and maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscle mass. Look for fat-free or low-fat options.
3. Limit Intake of Fruit Juices - While 100% fruit juices can be a good source of different nutrients, they can also contain added sugar. Whole fruits are more satisfying, plus you get the added value of fiber and phytonutrients from the skin and pulp.
4. Coffee or Tea - Order it plain and flavor it yourself.
5. Drink Other Beverages in Moderation - Check the serving size, calories, sugar and fat before you drink. If you order a sugar-sweetened beverage, order a small serving.
For more tips on weight loss and weight management, visit www.eatright.org!
Deborah Moss is a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist. She is the owner of Natural Nutrition and Wellness, a private nutrition counseling practice that specializes in women’s health and wellness, specifically focusing on weight management and the integration of nutrition for disease prevention and management. Deborah graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition. She completed a dietetic internship program through LIU, CW Post. She has presented nutrition and wellness classes associated with diabetes, heart disease and weight management to numerous clients through corporate wellness programs. Deborah’s goal in counseling is in helping others achieve a healthier and more balanced life.
For any diet and nutrition questions, contact Deborah at nnwellness.com!