Drinks: Quench Your Thirst Without Gaining Weight

Find out if liquid calories are drowning your weight -loss efforts. You can drop weight and control blood glucose by drinking smarter.


Staggering Statistics

You might decide to shake up your beverage choices after totaling the calories and carbs you drink. Like Jerry Murris, PWD type 2, of Fairfax, Virginia, you could find your drinks have more calories and carbs from added sugars than you expect. "I changed my ways lickety-split," Jerry says. The results? He shed pounds, plus his blood glucose levels improved. You may be able to achieve similar results just by changing to no- or lower-calorie and sugar-free beverages.

A team of obesity experts formed as a Beverage Guidance Panel reported in 2006 that American adults consume an average of 230 calories from beverages daily. Worse, nearly half drink 500 calories a day. In 1977, Americans consumed two calorie-sweetened beverages each day. By 1996, the number of portions rose to 2.5. That means more calories from beverages each day, especially because portion sizes during the same time period grew from 14 ounces to 21 ounces.

Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and coauthor of a proposed beverage guidance system, blames this increase on the growing number of high-calorie liquids available at takeout windows, supermarkets, and convenience stores. "This greater, grander array of calorie-containing beverages is one strong factor underlying our obesity epidemic and the closely related higher incidence of type 2 diabetes," he says.