Liquid Calories: Alternatives to Soda & High-Sugar Drinks

In today’s Motivational Monday, I discuss the consequences of liquid calories. The brain doesn’t recognize calories consumed in liquid form the same way it does calories of food — be it a slice of lasagna or a handful of cookies. When we eat food, the brain subconsciously attempts to curtail over-eating later in the day, because it registers the calorie intake from the foods eaten earlier. The same is not true of liquids.

Despite the negative attention given to popular sodas like Coca-cola and Mountain Dew over the past decades, these drinks are still an overwhelmingly popular choice today. High in sugar and full of calories, they are extremely detrimental to your health. The over-consumption of foods and drinks like this are contributing to an alarmingly high rate of obesity, diabetes, and other major health concerns in the world today. Sodas also contain significant amounts of phosphorus, which actively demineralizes the bones of calcium which can lead to osteoporosis and other problems.

What may not be so well known though, is that plenty of other common beverages have equally high sugar content. Many orange juices for example, contain just as much sugar per serving as a can of Coke — approximately 36 grams in one personal carton. Other juices that market themselves as having major health benefits, such as concentrated antioxidants, happen to also have extraordinarily high sugar content. Sometimes up to 3 tablespoons of sugar!

Once we factor in the popularity of creative coffee combinations that can start at a whopping 500 calories before you add milk and whipped cream — think Starbuck’s Double Chocolatey Chip Frappucino — and it’s suddenly not hard to see how easy it can be to pile on weight from liquid calories alone.

Diet drinks do not fare any better in terms of health benefits. The artificial sweeteners, which can be as much as 700 times sweeter than ordinary sugar, create a taste preference for excessively sweet food, and studies have shown that they actually decrease your metabolism, leading to the over-eating of high sugar foods in the long-run and probable weight gain.

It’s best to avoid these drinks all-together, and stick with nature’s best thirst-quencher — water. However, for those who are accustomed to their drinks being full of flavor, this can be an enormous challenge. Here are a few alternatives to get you on your way:

In time, and with practice, you will find your taste preference for high sugar drinks diminish, and these options will become more palatable. Best of all, you will reap great health benefits of less sugar and increased water intake!

Share Your Thoughts...

12 comments on “Liquid Calories: Alternatives to Soda & High-Sugar Drinks

  1. AvatarRudolf

    Good site you have got here.. It’s difficult
    to find excellent writing like yours nowadays.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  2. Avatara

    What about the water enhancer called “Mio”.. It has no calories, carbs etc.. What are your thoughts regarding this product.. thx!

  3. AvatarBarbara M Mendez

    Hi Michaela~ Thanks for you question. Soup is actually and excellent dish to include when managing weight b/c the volume of liquid makes your stomach feel full faster. So a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup will make you feel satisfied but the same amount of chicken and vegetables without the liquid would probably not be substantial enough. Try to avoid creamy soups as they are usually full of cream and loaded in calories and also avoid noodle based soups, but enjoy vegetable, lentil and other delicious vegetarian soups~
    Best to you~ B

  4. AvatarMichaela

    Hi Brabara . thank you for this video! What do you think of eating soup and getting calories from it. In my country the main and most important dish is a soup. Do you think our brain does get register that we are taking calories in soup. Is it the right option while being on diet? thank you

  5. AvatarBarbara

    Thanks for your comments! Patricia, Smart Water has more electrolytes than regular water so it may be a bit better. That being said,regularly consuming vegetables and fruit (especially in their raw, natural state) and drinking regular water can also yield the same results.
    Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

  6. AvatarJorge and Iraida Mendez

    Another wonderful video from you. Filled with tips on how to fight our craving for sweets. Once you mention all the tricks on how to avoild the pitfalls of our daily sugar intake, it all sounds so simple and logic. That is because of the charming and direct way in which you express yourself.
    We think you are great !

    The Units

  7. AvatarLou

    I have found that ginger tea is also a very good liquid refreshment. Ginger is loaded with anti-oxidants and of course, the ginger tea has zero calories. If you have trouble cutting up the ginger and making the tea, I have found ground ginger (in my supermarket where I buy my ginger) and it’s slick and convenient to make a quick cup of ginger tea.

  8. AvatarAmy

    Thank you Barbara, for another informative Motivational Monday! I love the sugar-prop – it was very effective. I just came across some interesting research about sugar / food addiction from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. ( Here is an interesting video presentation called “The Highs and Lows – the New Science of Sugar Addiction” ( for anyone who is interested.

  9. AvatarPatricia Smucker

    Barbara, what do you think of Smart water? Is it really that much better than real water? We do hot yoga and it’s been recommended to us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *