If you’re looking for hidden places where calories can seep into your diet, look no further than what you drink. And in some cases, it’s a flood! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the single biggest source of hidden calories in your diet comes from beverages, including calorie-loaded sodas and fruit juices. How much exactly? About 37 percent of your daily calories – sobering news for dieters.1 Because sugary drinks can spike insulin levels, they’re among the worst offenders when it comes to adding body fat.
That should make it easy to identify, then, where a smart weight loss effort should start. Simply substitute plain water – just add a lime or lemon wedge, a squirt of zero-calorie flavor enhancer or even some very low-calorie BCAAs – to add flavor, help you fill up and encourage you to drink more. But, beware that drinking sugar-free alternatives doesn’t give you a green light to consume more calories elsewhere in your diet, which happens all too frequently.
1Malik, V.S., Schulze, M.B., & Hu, F.B., 2006. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 84(2): 274-288.