Tag Archives: Beverages

The Best and Worst Beverages for Weight Loss

Many of us watch what we eat but not what we drink while watching our diet. That’s a mistake. Research shows that most of the sugar in the average American’s diet comes from their beverage choices. Choosing the right drinks can tweak your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help cut calories.

Which drinks are the best and which are the worst on the path to weight loss? Keep reading to find out!

Best Beverages for Weight Loss


This comes as no surprise, but the most efficient drink you can choose is water. Tap, bottled, and sparking, all have 0 calories! Need some extra flavor? Add berries, or slices of lemon, or cucumber. Or add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water to create your own flavored bubbly drink!


Black coffee has the least calories! Flavored syrups and whip cream add calories. Switch to fat-free milk or an unsweetened milk alternative, like almond milk.

Unsweetened Tea

Choose a tea variety that fits your taste palette and enjoy hot or iced! You can get a gentle energy boost with black or green teas. For a caffeine-free option, stick to herbal varieties like chamomile or dandelion root.

Vegetable Juice

One cup of tomato juice has 41 calories, compared to 122 calories for orange juice. Choosing juice with pulp provides some fiber, too, which may help control hunger.

Worst Beverages for Weight Loss


Every time you chug a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories. Switching to diet soda can cut calories, but the research is mixed on whether this switch leads to weight loss. Some studies show a short-term benefit. Others find diet soda drinkers gain weight. If you eat or drink more calories than you burn, switching to diet soda may not do the trick. Bottom line: ditch the soda or enjoy in small amounts.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks often include high levels of added sugar, large amounts of caffeine, and other stimulants that generally aren’t considered healthy. It’s usually best to steer clear of energy drinks, and opt for getting your energy from quality food sources.

Sports Drinks

Often advertised as healthy drinks for active individuals, sports drinks are usually full of added sugars like high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. One serving of a leading sports drink brand contains 34 grams of sugar, which equals about 132 calories in sugar alone. That’s a lot of sugar in one beverage serving! If you’re looking for an electrolyte alternative, coconut water is a great option, totaling only 9.6 grams of sugar per serving.

Different Name, But It’s Still Sugar

The list below includes sugars that are hiding behind a different name. Look at the ingredient labels before purchasing to make sure you’re not getting more sugar than you’re bargaining for.

  • Cane juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Malt Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar cane

Learn how to read nutrition fact labels by the FDA so you can easily recognize added sugars.

If you drink sugary drinks often, you are more likely to face long-term health problems like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout, and more. When considering your daily calories and beverage choices, keep added sugars to less than 10% of your total daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this is no more than 200 calories.

Sources: CDC, Healthy Food AmericaWebMD

Choose a Healthy Drink!

Say “YES” to 100% juice, milk and water!
  • Drink plenty of water. 8 cups will do!
  • Naturally flavor water with lemon, lime or cucumber wedges.
  • Drink nutrient rich low-far or skim milk.
  • Drink 4-6 oz of 100% juice per day.
  • Try unsweetened tea.

front of Drinks palm card

Say “NO” to added sugar, caffeine and empty calories.
  • Soda/Pop (diet and regular)
  • Sweetened Teas
  • Vitamin Infused Water
  • Sports Drinks
  • Energy Drinks
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Juice That is Not 100%
  • Coffee

back of Drinks palm card


Download images here.

Important Nutrients to Know: Water

It’s important for your body to have plenty of fluids each day. Water helps you digest food, absorb nutrients from food, and then get rid of the unused waste. Water is found in foods—both solids and liquids, as well as in its natural state.

What To Drink As You Get Older
Learn about why it’s important for older adults to drink plenty of liquids, including water, and how to make healthy choices.


“But I don’t feel thirsty”

With age, you might lose some of your sense of thirst. To further complicate matters, some medicines might make it even more important for you to have plenty of fluids.

Take sips from a glass of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals. But don’t wait for mealtime—try to add liquids throughout the day. For example, have a cup of low-fat soup as an afternoon snack.

Drink a full glass of water if you need to take a pill. Have a glass of water before you exercise or go outside to garden or walk, especially on a hot day.

Remember, water is a good way to add fluids to your daily routine without adding calories.

Source: National Institute on Aging; Water

The Health Benefits of Tea

Across the country, restaurants, cultural venues and retail shops serve premium teas, while supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are stocking bottled tea.

According to the Tea Association of the USA, the number of Americans who will drink tea today is about 160 million, about half of the U.S. population. And, 2012 continued with the trend of increased consumer purchases of tea — surpassing the $2.25 billion mark in retail supermarket sales.

Ever since 2737 B.C., when Chinese legend says leaves from an overhanging Camellia sinensis plant fell into Emperor Shen Nung’s cup of boiling water, tea has been recognized by cultures around the world for its capacity to soothe, restore and refresh. Far from being an apocryphal promise, tea has been lauded for an array of potential health benefits — from reducing cancer and heart disease risk, improving dental health and boosting weight loss.

Tea and Heart Health
The strongest evidence is on the side of heart health, attributed to the antioxidants in tea. Flavonoids in both black and green tea prevent oxidation of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, reduce blood clotting and improve widening of blood vessels in the heart. Studies that looked at the relationship of black tea intake and heart health reported decreased incidence of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels and significantly lower blood pressure.

Can Tea Prevent Cancer?
Support for tea’s cancer prevention benefits is less compelling. It has been suggested that antioxidant polyphenol compounds — particularly catechins — in tea may play a role in preventing cancer. However, a 2007 review reported that with the exception of colorectal cancer, studies related to black tea and other cancers were extremely limited or conflicting.

Tea for Teeth
In 2010, Japanese researchers reported at least one cup of green tea per day was associated with significantly decreased odds for tooth loss. Other studies have suggested tea may lower the pH of the tooth surface, suppressing the growth of periodontal bacteria. A more likely reason for tea’s anti-cariogenic effect is its fluoride content. Tea usually is brewed with fluoridated water and the tea plant naturally accumulates fluoride from the soil.

Tea and Weight Loss
Evidence supporting tea as a weight-loss aid is based mainly on studies that used tea extracts (ECGC and other catechins, flavanols, polyphenols and caffeine). These results may not be directly applicable to brewed tea consumed in normal amounts.

Tea and Hydration
The caffeine content of tea varies widely depending on the kind of tea used and the way in which it is brewed. Typical levels for tea are less than half that of coffee, ranging from 20 to 60 milligrams per 8 ounces (compared to 50 to 300 milligrams in coffee). Studies found no negative effects on hydration with intakes of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (the amount in about seven cups of the strongest brewed tea).

Source: EatRight.org; The Health Benefits of Tea by Joanna Pruess and Neva Cochran, MS, RD, LD

10 Tips to Help You Eat and Drink More Dairy Foods

The Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soymilk. They provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein, and other nutrients needed for good health throughout life. Choices should be lowfat or fat-free—to cut calories and saturated fat. How much is needed? Older children, teens, and adults need 3 cups* a day, while children 4 to 8 years old need 2ó cups, and children 2 to 3 years old need 2 cups.

Download the PDF for the 10 tips.

Source: ChooseMyPlate.gov

The Debate Over Sugary Drinks

In an attempt to reverse the obesity epidemic, lawmakers and health officials across the nation are considering new laws and taxes.

Legislation in California calls for the nation’s first warning labels on sugary drinks. A soda tax is being debated in Illinois, and New York City’s 2012 efforts to ban large sodas is now before the state’s highest court. Meanwhile, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks was enacted in Mexico, which has the world’s highest death rates from sugary drinks.

Americans drink about 45 gallons of sugary beverages a year, a veritable bathtub full of products linked to health problems, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugar in American diets,” said Dr. Goutham Rao, chairman of the American Heart Association’s Obesity Committee, vice chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Chicago and associate director of the Center for Clinical Research Informatics of the NorthShore University Health System. “While obesity is complex and has many causes, discouraging sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a simple, single behavior that can have a positive impact.”

The American Heart Association supports taxes, based on the scientific evidence about the health issues related to sugary drinks. Adults who down a sugary soda a day increase their likelihood of being overweight by 27 percent. Kids with the same habit more than double their risk to 55 percent. Research shows that a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent. Worldwide, sugary drinks are linked to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths each year.

Despite those figures, efforts to do something about it have struggled. More than 30 states and cities have tried to pass soda taxes without success in recent years.

But in California, Democratic state Sen. Bill Monning, who introduced the bill in the nation’s most populated state, said lawmakers have a responsibility to protect citizens. “As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians essential information they need to make healthier choices,” he said when introducing the bill earlier this month.

The measure would place a warning on drink containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. The warning, developed by nutrition experts, reads: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

In Illinois, a case of soda could get a $2.88 price hike if the Healthy Eating and Active Living Act passes. The legislation, introduced Feb. 19, would add a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in sealed containers and be the first of its kind in the country.

The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity predicts that the tax would reduce obesity in kids by 9.3 percent and adults by 5.2 percent, and save more than $150 million in obesity-related health care costs in a year. Similar taxes on tobacco were found to be effective in reducing smoking.

John Sicher, editor and publisher of the trade publication Beverage Digest, said the obesity problem in America is undeniable, but that sweetened beverages are getting too much of the blame. He also was critical of the measures proposed in California and Illinois, saying they won’t work or are unfair.

“Anybody who denies there is an obesity crisis in America has their heads deeply in the sand and the beverage industry does not deny that,” he said. “What I believe is that some of the proposed solutions are unfair to people with lesser means and are not going be effective.”

Soda taxes are regressive and would disproportionately affect lower-income people, he said. Sicher also said the California effort to add warning labels would really add nothing because the ingredients are already on the labels.

Regardless of whether these measures pass, from a public-health standpoint it’s crucial that everyone understands the harm these beverages can have.

Bridget Williams, a Chicago-area registered nurse and an American Heart Association volunteer, is the mother of two teenage boys who knows it can be tough to keep the treats out of the grocery cart.

“We all know that is difficult in a culture of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption,” she said. “But we can no longer ignore the devastating effects obesity has on a person’s life from healthcare and quality-of-life perspectives.”

For more information:
Voices for Healthy Kids
Sugar-sweetened beverage tax policy brief

Source: American Heart Association, Soda debate bubbling across the country