Are you sipping your way to weight gain?

In our modern world, we have access to a large array of delicious, flavoursome and ‘healthy’ drink choices on the market but how much energy (calories or kilojoules) are you consuming?

At Eat Smart, we have many patients who have a really good idea of what healthy eating is and the foods they should be eating more of.  However, many underestimate the liquid energy they are consuming.  Many are ‘eating’ an extra 500 calories just from drinks alone!

Take for instance the Carmel Crush Frappe at McDonalds, a large serve has 763 calories (3190kJ)….in ENERGY this equates to 2 Apples, 1 medium Banana, 1 cup Blueberries, 2 x Kiwi Fruit, 1 Orange, 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup Grapes, 1 Nectarine AND 1 Plum.   Now I’m guessing the majority of you wouldn’t eat that much fruit in one hit or even within one day YET you would be consuming just as much in a large Caramel crush frappe.

And if you think Gloria Jeans or other café style places are any better, a Grande Caramelised fusion is 654 calories (2750kJ) which equates to 1 cup Broccoli, 1 cup chopped Carrots, 1 cup chopped Cauliflower, 1 large Corn on the cob, ½ cup Mushrooms, 1 cup Sweet Potato (baked), 1 cup Spinach Leaves, ½ cup Peas, ½ cup mashed Pumpkin and 1 cup shredded Cabbage in energy.  Most people couldn’t even eat that many veggies in a day!  Even with the popular boost juice drinks you could be consuming anywhere from ~146 calories for an original size immunity juice to ~629 calories for an original sized Brekkie to Go-go.

Takeaway hot coffee is also becoming a big contributor to the extra liquid calories consumed.  The amount of energy in a tall latte is approximately 170 calories, which is the energy equivalent to what a snack should contain (for weight loss we recommend 150 calories for a snack, weight maintenance 200 calories and weight gain 300+ calories).  To give you an example of what 100 calories looks like in food you could eat either 2 punnets of strawberries; 170g Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy light yoghurt; 2 Vitawheat crackers with 1 slice Bega light cheese; or 1 slice raisin toast with a scrape of jam.  Generally speaking coffee is rarely consumed without something else to eat, whether that is a piece of banana bread, a cookie or even a slice of cake, making ‘snack time’ a meal of 300-500+ calories!

Soft drink, iced tea, cordial, sports drinks, energy drinks and mineral waters also contain added sugar and can contribute from only a few right up to 500 calories so it is important to be very aware of the calories you are consuming in your liquids.

Like a green smoothie?  Did you know your green smoothie could have 150 or more calories for a medium size?  Green smoothies are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but it is important they are counted in your energy intake for the day, particularly if you are watching your weight.

It’s not that tasty drinks can’t be used in a healthy eating plan and also within a weight loss strategy but it is important that you understand how much energy is in your drinks, what you are eating with these drinks and also your total energy intake over the day.  Chat to your Eat Smart Dietitian if you need to learn more about the calories in your drinks, or comment below!

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