Are You Drinking Your Dinner?
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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Are You Drinking Your Dinner?


This week I seem to have beverages on the brain. The presentation I gave at the conference in Dallas was about bottled vs. tap water (more to come on this soon) and today I read an interesting article in a British newspaper. The expert quoted in the article said it's not unrealistic for an average woman to spend 70 per cent of her daily calorie needs on liquids (based on 2,000 cals per day). That doesn't leave much room for solid foods, and if those calories come in the form of soda or sweet tea, there will probably be a whole lot of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) not showing up for work. Also, research shows that drinks just aren't as filling as solid meals. Have you ever had a 500 calorie smoothie and felt hungry less than 2 hours later? For 500 calories you could have 2 slices of toast with 2 Tbsp (size of a golf ball) of peanut butter, a container of yogurt and a cup (size of a baseball) of grapes! The latter would definitely take a lot longer to eat and would probably keep you full and satisfied about twice as long.

According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 60% of the beverages we drink, preferably 100%, should be calorie free. Now, I love my morning coffee and I don't drink it black, so let's say we go for 90%. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day, that means a maximum of 200 liquid calories. Here's a comparison of how several popular beverages stack up:

  • 20 oz Smoothie King Banana Boat smoothie -520 calories
  • Grande Starbucks White Chocolate Frappucino - 480 calories
  • 20 oz bottle lemonade - 250 calories
  • 20 oz bottle sweetened iced tea - 225 calories
  • 16.9 oz bottle regular soda - 200 calories
  • 8 ounces hazelnut coffee sweetened with a quarter cup of vanilla soy milk mixed in (how I typically start my day) - 25 calories

So what do you think? Are you spending too many calories on beverages? Please share your thoughts!

Photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute
http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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