How Better Drink Choices Will Lead to a Healthier Lifestyle
If you’re interested in making a lasting change to your lifestyle, start with just one thing. Drink choices are typically a great place to start. With a few simple swaps, you can cut calories, unnecessary sugars and harmful chemicals from your life.
Cut liquid calories
Have you ever stuck to a diet without losing weight? This sometimes happens because we forget to count our liquid calories. Liquid calories are empty calories, which means there’s no nutritional value. If you’re only getting calories without nutritional benefit, that drink does nothing for you.
Regardless of what diet you follow, the basic tenants of weight loss are the same. If you want to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. Each precious calorie offers an opportunity for nourishment. And remember, you’ll have to work harder to burn off any extra calories you consume.
Try to avoid all juices, alcoholic beverages, and sodas. Instead, stick to water, flavored waters and herbal teas.
The following are a few examples of common liquid calories:
- One 12-ounce can of cola = 138 calories
- One 8-ounce glass of orange juice = 111 calories
- One 5-ounce glass of wine = 123 calories
- One 12-ounce can of beer = 154 calories
Researchers have pinpointed sugary drinks as a risk factor for diabetes and obesity. When you eat too much sugar consistently, it’ll likely lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is associated with weight gain, abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. So, if you’re drinking sugary drinks, it’s time for a change.
Take a look at the sugar content on the liquid-calorie culprits we saw above:
- One 12-ounce can of cola = 39 grams (almost 8 teaspoons!)
- One 8-ounce glass of orange juice = 21 grams (4 teaspoons)
- One 5-ounce glass of wine = 1.2 grams (0.25 teaspoons)
- One 12-ounce can of beer = 0 grams
We all have days where we know we aren’t hydrating well enough, but if you’re consistently going from coffee to wine or beer, you’re doing your body a disservice.
Hydration is always important, but it’s crucial if you’re spending time outdoors in hot weather or exercising regularly. Your body’s water content changes throughout your life, but it should always be above 50 percent. That’s a lot of water to maintain, and you’re not likely to do it without drinking any water. If you don’t like the taste of water, add some lemon or infuse your water with fresh fruits or cucumber. And if you need more options, herbal tea is still better than most other beverage choices.
You may think you’re being healthy by drinking sports drinks or protein shakes, but be careful. A good protein shake may help you prepare for an intense workout, but be careful about consuming those calories if you aren’t going to use them. Sports drinks are typically loaded with sugar, so it’s often better to drink water instead.
A healthy lifestyle includes more than just food and exercise. It’s important to be mindful of everything you consume and do. Try swapping the empty calories for flavored waters or herbal teas. Your body will be glad you did.