To drink or not to drink...

To drink or not to drink...

by the von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Center

You may be getting plenty of exercise, watching what you eat and counting those calories carefully, but did you know that more than 20 percent of your daily calories could be coming from what you drink?

So what do I drink?

Water is the best calorie-free hydration source. It’s recommended that at least 48oz. of your daily fluid intake come from water. Artificially-sweetened beverages should be limited to 8oz. daily. Decaffeinated coffee and teas are acceptable. However, if you choose caffeinated tea or coffee, you should replace them with an additional serving of water.

What about sports drinks?

Sports drinks contain sugar and are low in nutritional value. On average, they can contain about 150 calories for a 12-ounce serving.
The skinny: If you need an extra 150 calories, fine. If not, drink water after a workout.

Does alcohol contain a lot of calories?

Let’s get right down to the numbers. A 12 fl.-oz. Piña Colada rings in at a hefty 655 and a 12 fl.-oz. Margarita comes in at 750 calories. A 1.5-ounce serving of spirits has approximately 100 calories. Combine that with 8oz. of a mixer, and your drink will be more than 200 calories. The alcohol, sweet mixes and fat in the coconut mix all provide extra calories. That’s one thing few of us really need. Keep in mind that alcohol contains empty calories. To save calories, use diet soda, water or seltzer water for mixed drinks. Avoid mixing with juices, tonic water and colas.
The skinny: Enjoy alcohol in moderation and skip the high sugar and fat mixes.

I love specialty coffees. Are they really that bad?

Buyers Beware! Many of these tasty drinks are loaded with calories. For example, a 16-oz. café mocha with no whipped cream can pack up to 290 calories. Instead, order a regular café latte with skim milk or even reduced fat milk and no sugar to save fat and calories. The skinny: Coffee drinks deserve their reputation as an adult milkshake.

What about juices (i.e. orange juice, mango juice, etc.)?

Juices sold in convenience stores typically come in 16 fl.-oz. or 20 fl.-oz. bottles. Believe it or not, the calories ring up quickly. A bottle of orange juice is about 225 calories. To put this in perspective, that’s more calories than a can of Coca-Cola with 150 calories.

The skinny: The sugar and calories in large juices rarely justify the “fruit” status. If you want the “fruit,” then grab an actual orange or mango to save on calories and gain vital nutrients.

For more information call the von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center at (239) 436-6755.