Here is a little task for all of you. Work out how many calories you take in per day through drinks. You can use the website MyFitnessPal to check the calorie content of the different beverages.
As an example, here is one day of the drinks section of a food diary one of my clients filled in during their first week and before we put them on the right path.
Regular Caramel Latte (Costa)
2 x Blackcurrant Squash (Robinson's)
500ml Bottle Cherry Coke
500ml Volvic Touch of Fruit Water (strawberry)
Regular Cappuccino (Starbucks)
2 x Glass of wine
Now I’ve been a little mean and picked a particularly bad day but let’s have a look at these drinks in more detail.
Regular Caramel Latte (Costa) gives you about 221 calories
Squash (Robinson's) 14 calories
Cherry Coke – 260 calories
Touch of fruit water (strawberry) – 100 calories
Regular Cappuccino (Starbucks) - 110 calories
2 x Glass of red wine – calories in wine vary depending on the wine and size of the glass but an average calorie content for a large glass (250ml) is around 214, so we have 428 calories total here.
A couple of notes to consider here are that when reading calories for drinks in cans or bottles is that the companies will put the calorie content for what they consider the “serving” to be, not for the entire bottle. A “serving” for a bottle of coke for example is half the bottle…how often do you drink the whole bottle in one sitting? So be careful and read those labels!
Also alcohol is an utter nightmare for weight loss. I had started to write why here but decided the subject warranted it’s own article, so read about the wonders and horrors of alcohol here.
Anyway! Back to our mystery client…
Looking above we can see that on the example day they have taken in 1133 calories through drinks. Pretty scary right?
For anyone looking to lose weight, this should set alarm bells ringing. Let’s be a little mean and say that this person drinks these or equally calorific drinks every day, they will be consuming 413,545 calories a year purely through drinks. Using the logic that 3,500 calories equates to roughly 1 pound of fat, that’s 118.2lbs or 8 and a half stone of fat per year.
What’s worse is that, unlike when you take in calories through food, liquid calories don’t really stem feelings of hunger, meaning people can take in a huge amount of calories through a large drink, then still be able to eat a large meal and shoot their intake up even further.
Be smart with your liquid choices and you can massively accelerate your weight loss, keep some water near you all day or in the fridge if you prefer it chilled. If you need something different and refreshing, choose zero calorie soda options (aspartame is not the boogeyman). And when out for coffee, try going for the “skinny” options that use skimmed or 1% fat milk, or even better, train yourself to like black coffee.
As always though. Never punish yourself or feel bad for having something you like. This article is designed to inform not condemn. I love to have a coffee with froth and sometimes a syrup, sometimes a “full-fat” coke just hits that spot that zero options can’t and if I’m on a night out, you better believe I will be drinking rum like I’m a pirate. The key is making regular, good choices, and make sure indulging remains a treat to be enjoyed.