Drinking Your Calories

What is your favorite seasonal beverage? Did you know that studies show that the drinks that most affect our weight gain are the ones that are sugar-sweetened such as, soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and sugary tea and coffee drinks? If you are eating a healthy diet there is no need to get our nutrition from the beverages we drink. What this really means is that all we really need to drink is water. Here is the problem. When we eat, we feel sated or if we over eat, stuffed. Then we stop eating. When we drink our calories, the body does not feel sated and does not tell us to stop. So we continue to consume those drinks throughout the day and eat too.

How many calories on a daily basis does the average person consume each day just from the beverages we drink? Look for the answer at the end of this blog posting.

What should we drink?

  • Water
  • Has zero calories
  • Quenches thirst
  • Unsweetened tea and coffee
  • Contain caffeine but a little is good for you
  • Limit caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams (mg) per day
  • Coffee has 132 mg
  • Tea has about 40 mg
  • Skim milk or soy beverages
  • Up to 16 ounces per day
  • Artificially sweetened beverages
  • Up to 32 ounces per day
  • There is no proof that artificial sweeteners are bad for you but moderation is the key
  • Items sweetened with fructose may alter metabolism and cause fat storage

What should we limit?

  • Fruit Juice
  • Has nothing you can’t get from whole fruit
  • Has a lot more calories than whole fruit
  • Whole milk
  • Has a lot of saturated fat
  • Sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks
  • Limit to an 8 ounce glass
  • Sugar sweetened coffee and teas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Guidelines recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men
  • 12 ounce beer
  • 5 ounce wince
  • 1.5 ounce distilled spirits


Bad Choice
Better Choice
Sonic Strawberry Fruit Smoothie- Regular (14oz)
500 cal | 124g carbs | 98g sugar
Sonic Lo-Cal Diet Limeade-Small (14oz)
1g carbs | 0g sugar

(This contains your carbohydrates for 1 ½ days)

Capri Sun Pacific Cooler
170 calories | 40g sugar
Minute Maid Fruit Falls
5 cal | 1g sugar

(Your children will not notice a difference in taste)

Regular Coke
140 cal | 39g carbs | 9g sugar
Coke Zero
0 cal | 0g carb | 0g sugar

(There is little difference in taste between these two)

Venti Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Latte
660 cal | 22g fat
Venti Starbucks Peppermint Café Au Lait
170 cal | 5g fat

(This is a meal and contains your fat grams for the day)

Beverage substitutions

  • Flavor you water with fresh fruit such as oranges, limes, strawberries
  • Try some green tea. These are high in antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney stones.
  • Check out some vegetable juices. Check the label for added sugars but these tend to be lower in sugars.
  • Mix up a little fruit juice with some seltzer. Studies show that pomegranate juice is a good source of vitamins C and B, grape juice has antioxidants that may help protect your brain and blood vessels and cranberry juice may help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
  • Try a little diet tonic water and a few slices of lemon or lime with a little mint for garnish.
  • A little red wine is fine and may lower your risk of a heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers and heart disease.

Answer to the question “How many is consumed daily through the beverages we drink by the average person?” We consume about 450 calories from the beverages we drink each day.

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