Don’t Drink Your Calories
Many of us have heard the expression that “all calories are not created equal,” and it pretty much makes sense when you’re comparing 300 calories of carrots to 300 calories of cake. But apparently, the weight-gaining effects of calories on the body differ depending on whether someone is drinking their calories or shoveling them in. Studies show that between solid foods and beverages, the consumption of liquids packs the greater girth-generating wallop. Who’d’a’thunk?
Somewhere along the line, the exhortations to drink plenty of water throughout the day (see Hello to Health blog # 1) got translated into drinking all sorts of beverages that, by both their nature and their ingredients, are wreaking havoc on people’s weight.
Not surprisingly, sugar-laden sodas are the primary villain. Researchers found that volunteers drinking at least one serving per day of sugar-sweetened drinks gained more than twice the weight of those avoiding them: specifically, 10.3 pounds over a four-year period versus an average of only three pounds.
Another study found that by drinking one less serving of sugary soda per day, participants saw an average weight loss of 1.1 pounds in six months and 1.54 pounds in 18 months.
There could be many reasons for this. One is the discovery that the caloric intake of sugar-packed soft drinks don’t diminish a diner’s appetite. In fact, just the opposite happened to study volunteers who found themselves downing even more food. And, of course, with the result of weight gain, comes other problems. It was found that, when compared to women who drink less than one sugary drink per month, women who consume one sugar-sweetened soda per day are 83 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
While many of us already avoid drinks that list sugar as it’s number one ingredient, the presence of high-fructose corn syrup is just as bad. Maybe even worse. Researchers discovered that the hormones helping to signal fullness are reduced by the intake of high-fructose corn syrup, while the levels of an appetite-stimulating hormone are actually raised. Might as well just mainline calories directly into your veins!
And if you think diet sodas will come to your rescue, think again. Some artificial sweeteners have earned nasty reputations as appetite stimulants, particularly aspartame (sold as NutraSweet or AminoSweet), which has been tagged as a neurostimulant and has been linked to food allergies/sensitivities causing everything from sore muscles to migraines.
With sugar and artificial sweeteners verboten, that leaves all-natural fruit juice the healthy person’s beverage of choice, right? Well . . . not exactly. While nutritionally speaking, fruit juice is good for you, calorie-wise it’s nicht so gut. (Not sure why we’re suddenly speaking German.) Fruit juice is full of calories and sugar. See for yourself at The Calorie Counter. While the fruit sugar (fructose) in juice may be in its natural form, it’s still sugar. And when it comes to calories or raising your blood-sugar levels, sugar is sugar is sugar.
So what sweet things should you be drinking? Actually, if you can avoid any beverage that’s predominantly sweet you’re better off. The problem is that researchers have found that a sweet taste (whether real or artificial) triggers the body into thinking that a good burst of calories is about to come its way. If those calories aren’t delivered as expected, the brain tells the eater to find something quickly that will satisfy the stimulated craving. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s all-to-often does the trick.
Here at Bramble Berry, the way we keep ourselves flush with fluids is by always having a big pitcher of unsweetened iced tea handy. On those days when we absolutely need to drink something sweet, we add just a touch of fruit juice to the pitcher. We challenge each other to see who can come up with the best combo of herbal and black tea flavors: today we had vanilla honeybush, jasmine, peach and Earl Grey with a shot of raspberry juice. Delicious, thirst-quenching and oh so good for you . . . especially when you follow our “teepee” tip from last week’s blog on drinking your water!
Read more about better beverages at the sites where we did our research for this blog post: Natural News and MSNBC.
CALL TO ACTION: Commit to decreasing your calories in your liquids by doing one less drink per day that contains calories. This goes hand in hand with our last blog, drink more water. See Hello to Health Day 1 for a refresher!
There are 3 real bad artificial sweetners: Aspartame (sweet n low), Splenda, and Agave. Aspartame when mixed with food color is toxic to the brain cells and breaks down into formaldahyde in the body. Splenda doesn’t even break down in the body, is flushed out and into the waer treatment systems and gets into the water shed.. AND is made with chlorine. Agave is made with 70 to 80% corn syrup, some is made with 40 to 60%. Not good!
The 4 good sweetners: Stevia, raw organic honey, sugar alcohols and blackstrap molasses.
Scary isn’t it?!
I stay far far far away with anything that has any artificial sweeteners. In fact, I can taste it in my drinks really easily and HATE the taste. I hadn’t heard that about Agave though I did know that a sugar is a sugar is a sugar in terms of how your body processes it. I tend to cook with Agave way more than anything so I’ll look into it. I do love a good Molasses cookie … (sigh) =) Thanks for chiming in!
Don’t forget iced and flavored coffees! I see so many people who think they’re in the clear when they just have coffee, but factor in any and all cream and sugar and you’re looking at some real calories if you have more than a few cups throughout the day.
Oh that is SO me. My favorite drink in the world right now is a 16 oz. Hemp Milk latte, decaff, with fresh caramel sauce – it is SO delicious but also 300 calories! So I only have it when I walk the 3 miles (round trip) with the baby to the only place in town that serves it.
When they did the research on Heather, it was non identifying info cause she was under age .. also the American cancer society did some too but again no names on the report, both just say a 2 year old girl, and what ever her age was when they updated the data.. The mayo clinic also reported the findings at the cancer meetings there are Mayo and phone to Marshfield Clinic in wis.. i got the mins of this cause it was about Heather.. Thanks for posting this, i do enjoy reading all about this stuff..
I once saw a documentary about the benefits of super high doses of Vitamin C for cancer patients. The medical industry really devalues the benefits of vitamins in favor of peddling pharmaceuticals.
A-M, I agree about lowering our consumption of unhealthy drinks so that we can drink more water. I started a habit my freshman year in college of drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. I think I read once that it helped stimulate the brain upon waking. And 20 years later, I still drink my glass of water first thing in the morning before I let myself have a cup of coffee. I do like my diet Coke, though, but I’ve made it a “treat” rather than a regular drink with meals. Some days I go all day without a diet Coke, but sometimes I just want to treat myself to an ice-cold glass. 🙂
Love the idea of doing a glass of water first thing in the morning. I often am so busy that I don’t manage to drink ANYTHING before I leave the house and then start drinking a protein shake that I make in the car. Add a newborn into that and wowzers, those mornings are compressed but a glass of water first thing? That should be doable! I’m going to try that. Thanks for the hint. =)))
Patrice Valentine says
Thought you might find this article interesting… http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html They mention that they monitored his glucose levels, but they don’t report on it. Interesting read.
This article provided endless conversation for me and my sweetie since we’re both carrying a couple extra pounds after the baby! It is ponderous but 3 Twinkies plus a protein shake and some greens would not at all get me through the day, no matter how yummy! =)
I just wanted to add that juicing is very important to your body. My daughter had cancer since she was 2 years old.. she fought for 17 years with it.. she passed away at 20 years old. The mayo told us that if it wasn’t for us juicing she wouldn’t have lived as long as she did, the ensure is good yes but when we added 3 times a day veggies and fruits we juiced she was more alert, her eyes were brighter and her finger nails and toe nails were not that chemo grayish colour from chemo treatments.. She kept her blood counts higher then with no juicing. My daughter had 6 months to live back in 1993 and she passed away march 24th 2011. I strongly believe she made it this far with her heath wise is cause we juiced and god of course too.. But now mayo is giving out the info about juicing to all cancer patience’s, after doing a study on heather cause she was the youngest child to get 35 treatments of radiation at 2 1/2 years old they found proof that it does help with you immune system and your blood counts as well.. yay to juicing…
I love juicing! I have a juicer at home and juice up a concotion at least 3 or 4 times a week. Have you seen the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead?” It’s all about juicing. I’m sure those micro nutrients were fantastic for your daughter’s health.
When I’m talking about juices in the article, I mostly mean the store bought fruit juices and not the good-for-you juices we can make at home for ourselves (though, too much of those and we can easily pack on the weight too!).
The best is to toss whole fruits into something like a VitaMixer and get the pulp and all the fiber into our veggie and fruit smoothies. Yum yum!
I’ll go hunt down the Mayo Clinic data. It sounds fascinating.