You all know what I am going to say…drink water! I never recommend drinking your calories. You will be quenching your thirst without feeling satisfied. The physiological signs that you are eating and getting full will not be taking place. You aren’t chewing and swallowing, your stomach isn’t distended, and hormones won’t be sent to your brain indicating that you are eating. Basically they are empty calories and often “silent sabotagers” of an otherwise calorie conscious meal plan. Here are a few beverage facts for you.

• Alcohol (whether liquor or wine) is 50 calories for every 2 ounces. Beware if mixed drinks that are often very high in calories and sugar.

• Light beers will save you calories if you don’t mind the flavor.

• Limit fruit juices to no more than 4-6 ounces a day. They are often high in added sugars and low in fiber. It is much better to just eat the fruit than drink the juice because it will contribute more to satiety as well as give you the benefits of fiber.  The same goes for vegetable juices.  You really lose the benefits of fiber when just drinking the juice.  However, vegetable juices tend to be a bit more viscous and may contribute to fullness better than fruit juices.  I wouldn’t recommend making it a habit, but a low sodium V-8 can be convenient and definitely beats most other “snack” foods.

• Carbonated beverages may cause calcium to be leached from your bones. They are high in phosphoric acid and every time a phosphorus in excreted by the kidneys, it takes a calcium with it. Therefore, your blood stream may need to use the storage form of calcium in your bones to replenish blood calcium levels.

• Diet colas are a calorie free option. However, research shows that those who drink diet drinks weigh more than those who don’t. Why? It may be because they feel like they are being “good” by drinking diet and overcompensate for the calories they are “saving” somewhere else. Or, there could be something in diet drinks (artificial sweeteners? see previous video post) that hinders weight loss or increases weight gain. This issue needs to be further researched.

• Caffeine is a stimulant and should be limited to no more than 200 mg a day (12 ounce cup of coffee). In fact, any caffeinated, carbonated or artificially sweetened beverage should be limited to NO MORE THAN (if any) 12 ounces per day.

• Coffee, if limited as listed above, can be OK as long as you aren’t adding multiple sweeteners and creamers to it. Those calories add up fast!  We used to think that it could cause dehydration but further research doesn’t support that.

• Watch your use of artificial sweeteners and limit it to more than one serving per day, if that! For example, if you put Splenda in your coffee, use a natural sweetener for your yogurt.  The more natural the sweetener, the better but do watch your portion size.  Just because it is natural doesn’t make it good for you!

• Drink 8-12 cups of water per day. This will help you stay well hydrated. If you get thirsty, you are already dehydrated so be mindful about getting all of your fluid in before you reach that point.

Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD