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.
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.
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: