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!