Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Choosing Healthy Drink Options

by Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, Live Well @ LifeBridge

Did you know that a 20-ounce soda has about 17 teaspoons of sugar and over 200 calories? While many of us focus on food when we think of controlling calories, how often do we stop and think about our drinks? Empty calories and high doses of sugar are found in many drink options, stifling our goals of healthy weight maintenance.

Poor drink choices are ones that contain a lot of extra calories without very many vitamins and minerals. Choosing these types of drinks regularly can keep you from maintaining a healthy weight. Beware of sport drinks, sodas and fruit-flavored beverages. These types of drinks contain large amounts of added sugar and are packed with calories without many nutrients. Diet sodas are also problematic as they contain artificial sweeteners that our bodies do not readily recognize, leaving us hungry or thirsty for more.

Drinks and Diabetes
A recent study published in Diabetes Care indicates that soft drinks sweetened with sugar may be contributing to the rise in cases of type 2 diabetes, as these drinks add significant quantities of calories and carbohydrate to the diet. Since these drinks contain large amounts of rapidly absorbable carbohydrates, they may induce a fast and dramatic increase in both glucose and insulin concentrations, compared to drinks made with no sugar or a sugar substitute. If you are diabetic or looking to prevent diabetes, cautiously monitor your sugar and calorie intake of these types of drinks.

Think Before You Drink Tips
1. Drink water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it often.
2. Trade large cream and sugar-filled coffees for lower calorie versions. Downsize your large, calorie-packed mocha latte for a medium coffee with an artificial sweetener like Stevia.
3. If you drink fruit juice, ensure that the label reads “100% juice” and not “fruit beverage” or “fruit drink.” Limit your daily intake of fruit juice - experts recommend getting no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice each day.
4. Switch to plain tea (green, white, black) or plain coffee. An additional bonus? Teas contain high quantities of antioxidants.

1 comment:

BeccaLynn said...

Great post! I cut sodas out of my diet when I started working out with a personal trainer. I was surprised to find much better and more fulfilling choices. I now hardly drink coffee too and try to drink at least 2 big bottles of water throughout the work day. When I'm really craving a pick me up I've found better substitutes—my favorite being Phix energy drink mix. Since its all natural I don't feel as guilty :)