You’ve heard it said time and again, “If you want to lose weight, you need to eat right.” Yes, smarter eating habits are crucial to weight loss, but the drinks you have with your meals often go overlooked. In order to avoid sabotaging your weight loss goals, you’ll need to become a beverage buff. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a look at the drinks that may potentially cause weight gain:
Sugary drinks. They go by many names: soft drinks, fruit drinks, soda, or iced teas. But the no matter what you call them, these beverages can contribute to unwanted weight gain. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, your typical can of soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and about 240 calories. Sugar’s addictive qualities can make it easy to overindulge in these drinks, quickly turning momentary pleasurable sips into a health nightmare. Many studies have linked sugary drink consumption to increased risk of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and heart attack or stroke.
Alcohol. Drinking alcohol in excess can hinder weight loss in a number of ways. If you feel like you eat more when you go out for drinks, you’re not alone. A study by Northwestern University found that alcohol increased food consumption when people knew they were drinking an alcoholic beverage. Furthermore, research suggests that alcohol enhances the tastes of salt and fat, meaning the munchies you’ll have will be for unhealthy foods. Greater alcohol intake has been associated with chronic inflammation and insufficient sleep; both factors that can contribute to weight gain. We’re not saying you need to abstain altogether, but for your health and safety (as well as the safety of others), it’s best to drink in moderation.
Smoothies. Smoothies can be a great way to add fruits and veggies into your meals, but depending on your recipe you could end up hurting your weight loss. Adding too many sweeteners and fruits can pack too many empty calories.. Also, if you’re selecting foods that aren’t rich in fiber and protein, your shake won’t do a good job keeping the hunger away, and you may end up eating more to satisfy your cravings.
We’ve see the drinks to watch our for, now let’s see the weight loss friendly drinks:
Water. Water is the king of weight loss-friendly liquids. This calorie-free beverage does a great job supporting your weight loss journey by keeping you well hydrated. In fact, your body’s water percentage is a key indicator for a healthy weight. To give you some reference, professional athletes maintain a body water percentage of over 60 percent. Most of us aren’t looking to break any world sports records, so we should be aiming for somewhere between 40 to 60 percent. In addition, a glass of water can help keep hunger away for long periods of time by creating feelings of fullness. A study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank 16 ounces of water before a meal were able to lose 9 pounds on average over the course of the 12-week experiment.
Green Tea. Another drink that can help push the pounds off is green tea. Studies have shown that green tea can boost your metabolism and fat oxidation (fat burning). Green tea contains powerful antioxidants called catechins. An analysis of studies published in the International Journal of Obesity found that catechins in green tea extract have a positive effect on weight loss and long term weight maintenance in people who make green tea a part of their daily routine.
Smoothies. Yes, these drinks are on both sides of the weight loss coin, which is why making healthy choices can be so confusing. Smoothies can be your best bud along your weight loss journey if you pick the right ingredients. Make sure your drink is rich in fiber and protein to keep the hunger away. One thing to realize about smoothies and shakes is that it is probably not wise to drink them in addition to a full meal. Even with healthy ingredients, the calorie counts can get fairly high. Just be mindful of how the makeup of your smoothie may impact your overall daily calorie count.
The main takeaway here is that calories come in all forms, including liquid. If you’re mindful of what’s in your drinks and how much you are consuming, you can make the number on the scale go down, improve your body composition (i.e., reduce fat and increase muscle percentages) and hit your weight loss goals.