Many people who are on a diet and plan to lose weight pay much more attention to what they eat as opposed to what they drink. However, you may be surprised to learn that on average, a person gets a fifth of daily calories from beverages. Therefore it’s really important to choose the right drink as it can tweak your metabolism, curb your appetite, as well as reduce your total calorie count. In the past, humans used to get their calories from what nature embedded into food. These days, people seem to rather go for soft drinks which are filled with cheap sugar and even cheaper high-fructose corn syrup. It’s quite intuitive to assert that the more sugar-rich soft drinks a person has each day, the more calories he or she takes in. This has also been proven by several studies, as well as meta-analyses. But are diet sodas any healthier that regular ones?
The truth about diet drinks
Replacing high-fructose corn syrup with artificial sweeteners seems to solve the calorie intake problem that people who want to lose weight have. Artificial sweeteners have 0 carbohydrates, fat, and protein, so they do not affect your calorie intake or blood sugar, at least not directly. However on the long term, consuming artificial sweeteners may have disturbing effects on how your brain manages the sensation of hunger. Traditionally sweet taste means sugar, and thus energy. The human brain’s response to sweetness is to send signals to eat more and then, once enough calories have been taken in, it sends signals to slow down and stop eating. By offering a sweet taste but without any calories, artificial sweeteners may confuse the complicated circuits involving the brain, stomach, nerves, and hormones and thus severely affecting your body’s ability to accurately measure how many calories it gets and when to say “stop!”. A longitudinal study of approximately 3,700 residents of San Antonio, Texas, revealed that those who averaged three or more artificially sweetened drinks per day were more likely to have gained weight over an eight-year period as opposed those who didn’t drink artificially sweetened beverages.
The best idea would be to eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, or consider them occasional treats. A healthier beverage option is infused water: simply add a slice of lemon (lime, grapefruit, orange) in your glass of sparkling water, or fresh mint if you prefer. Tea is also a good idea, you can find certain teas that naturally taste sweet to the palate without adding any sugar or honey: Japanese roasted barley tea (Mugi Cha), fruit-flavored herbal teas (mango, blueberry), or teas that contain cinnamon, vanilla, or other “sweet” spices. You can go for coffee as well, obviously as long as you don’t add any unnecessary cream or sugar. Fruit smoothies can calm your thirst as well as give you energy, so they are perfect to have for breakfast. Here’s a quick idea: blend 3/4 cup of sparkling water, half a cup of ice along with 1/3 cup of melon or berries and a bit of chopped mint. Healthy and refreshing!