(HealthyLifeHacks.net) – We know that drinking enough water benefits our bodies. So we might assume that other liquids, from apple juice to energy drinks to cocoa, count toward our daily quota.
But not all fluids are equally good for our health. Learn why we should stop drinking our calories, plus whether zero-calorie beverages are healthy, below.
What’s Wrong With Drinking Our Calories?
“Don’t drink your calories” is a phrase health experts often offer as advice, but we may not understand what it means or why it’s important.
It means that our bodies benefit more from eating solid foods than consuming those same nutrients in liquid form. To illustrate that concept, let’s compare drinking a glass of orange juice to eating an orange:
- Calories: One medium orange contains 62 calories, in contrast to 110 calories in a glass of orange juice.
- Fiber: Orange juice has just .5 grams of fiber, compared with 3 grams of fiber in the orange.
- Carbohydrates: While the juice adds 25 grams of carbs to our daily total, that orange contains only 15 grams.
- Nutrients: During processing, the nutritional value of an orange may decrease in the manufacturing process. When researchers compared juice to the fruit, they found the orange juice contained less vitamin C and folate.
One study compared women who consumed more beverages sweetened with sugar with participants who cut down on their consumption. The women who drank more sugary drinks gained weight. In contrast, those who reduced their intake of liquid calories experienced less weight gain.
Instead of drinking our calories, experts recommend we drink water when we are thirsty. While factors ranging from our size to our exercise may impact how much water we need, sipping eight 8-ounce glasses daily usually helps us stay hydrated.
Are Low-Calorie and Zero-Calorie Drinks Healthy?
Given the advice to avoid drinking our calories, we might wonder if it’s healthy to sip low-calorie and zero-calorie beverages. Those liquids might look tempting on the store shelves, with some energy drinks even promising to provide us with extra vitamins and diet sodas inviting us to treat ourselves to sweetness without added calories.
Here’s what we should know about beverages other than water:
- Flavored or Energy Drinks: Energy drinks or flavored beverages might look like an easy way to get in our eight glasses of water daily. However, these drinks often contain sugar and chemicals, putting them on our “skip it” list.
- Alcohol: When we’re seeking to maintain our weight or lose a few pounds, those so-called light beers may look like winners. Or perhaps we decide that all the fresh fruit in a pina colada could count toward our daily nutrients. A recent study showed that the more alcohol we drink, the higher our risk of death. Moreover, all forms of alcohol contain some calories, potentially adding to our waistlines.
- Zero-Calorie Drinks: Beverages made with artificial sweeteners, such as diet sodas, might look like tasty water alternatives. But researchers discovered that consuming artificial sweeteners actually increases our sugar cravings and dependency.
What Are Ways to Stop Drinking Our Calories?
If we’re in the habit of drinking sodas, juice, and energy drinks throughout the day, we might find it challenging to stop. Gradually reducing our consumption, though, may help us to replace caloric beverages and zero-calorie products with water:
- Restaurants: Request water with lemon or sparkling water rather than caloric beverages.
- Snacks: Accustomed to drinking fruit juice? Swap an apple or orange for the juice and wash it down with a glass of water.
- Variety: For those not used to plain water, begin by mixing fruit juice and water. Gradually add more water to the pitcher. Sliced lemons or limes in a glass of water may also make the taste more appealing.
By learning to eat our calories rather than drink them, we may benefit our bodies in multiple ways. We might consume more fiber, take in more nutrients, and even lose weight. As for all those brightly colored zero-calorie drinks? We now know that our bodies deserve healthier choices.
~ Here’s To Your Healthiest Life!
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