liquid-calories-and-their-effect-on-weight-loss-864x574 Liquid Calories & Their Effect On Weight Loss

Liquid Calories & Their Effect On Weight Loss

In Health and Wellness, Nutrition by Jay J. Garcia M.D. October 14th, 2019

What’s better than cracking open a cold can of bubbles on a hot day? Or pouring a tall glass of fruit punch by the pool? As refreshing as it sounds, the key to weight loss is steering clear of liquid calories.

Liquid Calories And Weight Loss

Whether you drink soda, juice, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages or other sweetened beverages, it’s a good idea to monitor your drinking habits. Finding out how many liquid calories you consume daily is the first step toward making healthy substitutions. 

The body doesn’t detect liquid calories the same way as it does solid foods. Liquids (and sugar) don’t have satiety properties, meaning they don’t make you full. They don’t suppress hunger nor do they elicit a dietary response (like breaking down fiber, for example). As a result, when people drink fluid calories, they end up consuming more calories at the end of the day without realizing it. 

Cognitively, people have a harder time recognizing liquids as part of their daily caloric intake. They tend to forget that they still count. The mouth-feel of a liquid generates different signals compared to a solid. Liquid calories also travel more quickly through the body, bypassing the hormone response associated with fullness.

On the positive side, since beverages don’t make you feel full, cutting them from your diet won’t lead to feelings of hunger. In addition, there are things you can substitute that can help you ease off the habit. 

Sugary Drink Substitution Tips:

  • Replace soda (AND diet soda) with seltzer water (make sure it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners, which disturb certain digestive and fat storage pathways of the body).
  • Replace energy drinks with iced unsweetened tea, or sweeten it with stevia. 
  • Replace juices with smoothies; the sugar content will still be there, but at least you’ll get the fiber, which aids digestion and weight loss. 
  • Replace lemonade with lemon water, or make your own healthy lemonade (fresh lemon juice, water, and stevia). 

If you still crave the taste of a sweet, refreshing beverage, try infused water. Steep these ingredients with a pitcher of water for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight) to let the flavors infuse. Here are 10 easy infused water recipes to try at home that’ll help you avoid liquid calories: 

  • Cucumber + Mint 
  • Orange slices + blueberry
  • Pineapple + Mint
  • Watermelon + basil
  • Cherry + lime
  • Grapefruit + raspberry
  • Mango + Pineapple
  • Pineapple + Basil
  • Grape + Orange

Dr. Garcia is a board-certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist who has practiced in the Tampa Bay area for more than 30 years. He currently owns and operates four weight-loss and wellness clinics in Tampa, FL.

Dr. Garcia received his M.D. from Temple University, and is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. He received certification in Age Management Medicine from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (“A4M”), and has been a featured presenter at several Age Management conferences. Learn more about Dr. Garcia.