Trying to Lose Weight? Watch What You Drink

Liquid Calories Add Up Quickly

By Carol Sorgen
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

You're trying to lose a few pounds, so you're watching what you put on your plate. But are you watching what's in that mug, or glass, or can? If not, you just might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

"Beverages are probably the biggest hidden source of empty calories in our diets," says Mark Izzo, PhD, director of science and technology at Orafti Active Food Ingredients. "Even those that are positioned as super-healthy, like grapefruit juice and orange juice, can pack 100 calories in 8 ounces."

"What's worse," says Izzo, "is that nobody drinks only 8 ounces. A typical serving is usually 16 ounces. That's 200 calories for one drink!"

And then there's soda, which contributes few useful nutrients but plenty of calories in the form of sweeteners. A 20-ounce soda, for example, has the equivalent of 18 teaspoons of sugar.

Soda is unquestionably among the many sources of excess calories contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country, says David L. Katz, MD, associate clinical professor of public health and medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and author of The Way to Eat.

"A standard 12-ounce (non-diet) soda has roughly 150 calories," says Katz. Drink two or three of those a day and that's enough calories to gain a pound a week! And just think what a supersized (44-ounce) drink can do -- just one a day can lead to an extra pound per week.

More Calories, Less Satisfaction