Liquid Calories count!

Many experts see sugary drinks as a major contributor to overweight and obesity. Why do liquid calories matter so much?

“Fluid calories do not hold strong satiety properties, don’t suppress hunger and don’t elicit compensatory dietary responses. When drinking fluid calories, people often end up eating more calories overall,” says Richard D Mattes, Professor of Food & Nutrition at Purdue University.  

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Yes! It is easy to slurp down 200 calories from a hot cocoa in few minutes. Gulping down these extra calories will have a great impact on body weight in a short period of time.

Back in 60 s and 70 s, liquid drinks were just “hot coffee / tea”! And today, liquids are hotter than ever. It is quite common to see many stalls with varieties of juice, smoothies, sports & energy drinks, luxurious hot drink like Mocha and enriched waters. Moreover ingredients added like – chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla, whipped cream, ice cream, sweet cream, etc… attracts any one  to stop by and grab a drink

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Many don’t realize the huge amount of calories these beverages contribute to their daily intake!  A 12-ounce mango pineapple smoothie can run up to  220 calories and a 12- ounce latte with whole milk packs 260 calories. 12-ounce hot chocolate is packed with 290 calories!  An 8 -ounce chocolate milk contains 220 calories(11 percent of your daily caloric intake).  On average,  a healthy adult consumes 2000 calories.  A  whipped cream dollop for your hot chocolate, increases the calorie count by 70 calories!  Whipped cream is a common topping for most coffees, both hot and cold. A deluge of drinkable calories!


Mc Donalds’ Frappe’ Mocha 16oz/473ml 550 calories / 22g fat
Mc Donalds’ Mocha Ice 12 oz/355ml 290 calories / 11g fat
Starbucks Hot chocolate 12oz/355ml
230 calories / 7g fat
with 2% milk
290 calories / 13g fat
with 2% milk and whipped cream
Starbucks Peppermint Hot chocolate 12oz/355ml
with 2% milk 280 calories /7g fat
with 2% milk and whipped cream 350 calories / 13g fat
White Hot chocolate 12oz/355ml
with 2% milk 310 calories / 9g fat
with 2% milk and whipped cream 380 calories / 15g fat

About 15-17% of your energy, on average, comes from sugary drinks. This is too high when compared to 8-10% of energy being provided by 2 slices of whole meal bread.

Does that mean people in olden days had coffee as plain, dark, hot liquid?          Of course not, even in ancient times coffee were enriched, but with various healthy ingredients like cinnamon, figs, almonds, and milk!  I used to have my coffee with cream and sugar. But these days I prefer my coffee/tea, black. Coffee and tea are calorie-free, as long as you don’t load up with sugar or cream!

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Fifty years ago, an average size of bottle of soda was 6-8 oz.  And now, even a small size of soda (can) is 12 oz (can) or 16 oz (bottle).  Each 12 oz can of sugary drink or juice typically has 10-12 teaspoons of sugar, and 150 or more calories. The thirst for this sugar water drinks has paralleled the epidemic rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Sugar drinks have contributed mightily to the rapid growth of “diabesity”.

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Calories in drinks are not hidden. They are listed in the Nutrition facts label. You must read the label before making the purchase. To figure out how many calories in the whole container, you need to multiply the number of calories in one serving by the total number of servings in the container


Beware of sweeteners that go by different names like- fructose, sucrose, dextrose, syrup, corn syrup, high – fructose corn syrup, fruit concentrates, honey, sugar that add calories to a beverage.

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Diet drinks are mostly with artificial sweeteners that condition our taste buds to crave for sweet foods, later. Reversing that condition will take longer time, even after you say a big “NO” to these sweeteners!

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Sugary sports drinks are often mistaken as healthy. They are loaded with sugars! Yet, children and parents associate these drinks with healthy lifestyle! Sports drinks are designed for athletes to provide sufficient carbs, electrolytes and fluid during high-intensity workouts that last for few hours.

Children usually involve in low-intensity sports activity or just run around yards.  Plain WATER is best for them to re-hydrate.

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Unfortunately, many children are consuming more sports drink than plain water! Over consumption of these drinks can cause serious problems like obesity in growing children.

IMG_6019Young adults and adolescents have high attraction to energy drinks that has serious health effects. Energy drinks have as much sugar as soft drinks, enough caffeine to shoot up the blood pressure. Why increase the pressure and trouble yourself? While reading labels of energy drinks, you may find some new, not so familiar, and unpronounceable list of herbs whose effects are unknown! Why risk yourself when you just don’t need them! Educating adolescents and increasing the awareness of the hazards from these drinks is an important role of parents.

While dining out, being aware of nutritional information of your meals / drinks ian essential part of maintaining weight. This initiative will help to apply the brakes on many of those blow-out meals. Ask for the nutritional information in cafes and restaurants before placing an order. 

Maintaining weight, typically involves regular physical activities and consuming fewer calories. Cutting liquid calories is more efficient in losing weight rather than cutting the same number of calories from solid food! There are many fresh fruits available and you should take advantage & enjoy the fresh flavor by incorporating them in your diet. The dietary fibers are associated with greater satiety effect. Feb 2013 010

Water is the best to quench your thirst. Just a glass of plain water is the best. Can squeeze lemon or lime to make it more attractive. By swapping out 150 calories of sweet liquid for 0 calories water each day, you can lose up to 7 kg/ 15.4 lb a year!

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Sara M Seifert, BS, Judith L Schaechter, MD, Eugene R Hershorin, MD, and Steven E Lipshultz, MD: Health effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults: Pediatrics 2011 March; 127(3): 511-528

Nalini Ranjit, Martin H Evans, Curtney Byrd-Williams, Alexandra E evans and Deanna M Hoelscher, Dietary and Activity Correlates of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents, Pediatrics 2010;126;e754

Naren Gunja and Jared A Brown, Energy drinks: Health risks and toxity, Med J Aust 2012: 196(1): 46-49

Matthias B Schulze, DrPH; JoAnn E Manson, MD; David S Ludwig, MD; Graham A. Colditz, MD; Meir J Stampfer MD; Walter C. Willett, MD; Frank B. Hu, MD, Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle Aged Women, JAMA, 2004;292(8):927-934. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.927,