When helping our Home Coaching clients transition from their H3 stay to their home environment, it is essential for them to remember that when it comes to managing a nutrition and weight-loss/maintenance program, the quality of the calories you take in is critical. To optimize energy levels and improve metabolism, it is important to plan meals and snacks that stay within your allotted calorie range and make sure the foods you choose meet all of the recommended nutritional guidelines. With this in mind, people often are surprised to learn how many calories are in the beverages they consume. Juice, coffee with cream and sugar, beer and wine, for example, can add significant calories to your daily intake. The biggest culprit for many people however is soda! It is often the hardest beverage for people to give up, but can have the largest impact on your health in more ways than calorie count. In addition to weight gain, there is the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and stroke), and the side effects individuals may experience from the excessive caffeine intake which include headaches, insomnia, nausea, irritability and rapid heart rate to name a few.
In a recent Fox News report it was reported that ‘the average American consumes 45 gallons of sugary, sweetened beverages per year, according to a 2011 study by Yale University.’ They cite Dr. Christopher Ochner, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who says that “If everything else in their diet is equal, a person who has a can of Coke a day adds an extra 14.5 pounds per year, just from the calories alone.” And when it comes to the commonly held belief that ‘a calorie is a calorie’ Ochner refers to new studies that have emerged in the past decade that suggest all calories may not be created equal. “We’re finding some research that seems to indicate that calories from sugar are more easily turned into fat in your body than calories from fat in food are turned into fat in your body, (translation: eating and drinking sugar makes you gain more weight than eating fat.)”.
Ochner states that with the overwhelmingly adverse health effects associated with drinking soda, he recommends that people should drop soda completely from their diets. But if you still need that 140-calorie fix, he said almost anything else is better than soda. “There’s zero nutritional value. None,” Ochner said. “You’d probably be better off eating those calories at McDonald’s, because you’d at least get some nutrition.”
Here are some interesting statistics according to the Boston Public Health Commission:
Sugar may be sweet, but the health effects of sugar consumption are not. Drinking large amounts of sugar can lead to serious health effects.
Did you know…
- Drinking large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) can increase the risk of gaining weight and developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gout.
- SSB intake is significantly associated with weight gain and obesity.
- Women who drink one or more SSBs daily have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes as those who drink less than one SSB daily.
- A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% with each additional SSB consumed daily.
- Children who drink carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages have almost double the risk of dental cavities.
- Drinking just one 20-ounce can of a sugar-sweetened beverage per day can result in gaining 25 extra pounds per year.
- The health costs of obesity in the United States are about $147 billion annually. That’s like buying everyone in the U.S. an iPad 2.