By Lisa Angadi, RD, CDN

Blended-Iced-Coffee-1Do you love a tall glass of fruit juice alongside your breakfast, an ice cold soda with lunch, a frozen coffee beverage for an afternoon pick-me-up, and a glass of wine with dinner? If the answer is yes to any or all of these, you may be consuming an excessive amount of liquid calories.  That’s nearly 600 calories consumed from your drinks alone! And if you sip on some iced tea or sports drinks throughout the day, you’ll rack up even more empty calories.

You can use this simple tip to understand and visualize the amount of sugar that’s lurking in your favorite drinks and your favorite foods, too…

First, look at the food label for amount of grams of sugar. Next divide that number by 4 and you’ll get the equivalent number of teaspoons of sugar it contains. For example, a 20 oz. bottle of regular soda has 67 grams of sugar. That’s 16.75 teaspoons! (67 grams/4 = 16.75). Could you imagine scooping out about 17 spoonful’s from the sugar bowl?!

The problem with calories in liquid form is that your body does not register them the same way as it does calories from solid food. And did you know that the act of chewing actually helps your body generate satiety signals? It’s true! If you want to experiment with this, try making a smoothie. Add yogurt, your favorite fruit, and maybe a handful of greens into a blender and enjoy for breakfast. Take note of how soon you feel hungry afterwards. The next morning, take all of the same ingredients but eat them in solid form. Again, take note of how soon the hunger pangs start. Chances are it will take MUCH longer before you’re ready to eat again!

Remember, solid food calories are more filling.  Eat your calories, don’t drink them! Aim to drink plain water, zero calorie flavor-enhanced water, unsweetened coffee, tea, and herbal teas throughout the day.

Lisa Angadi is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 4 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management.