When constructing a diet plan, the focus is often placed on developing meals that healthfully balance carbohydrates, protein and fat. But – frequently overlooked are the beverages that accompany these meals.
If you find yourself saying, “I’m not worried. I drink no-calorie diet soda!” you may need to reevaluate your verdict. A recent study published by the University of Texas suggests that guzzling multiple Diet Cokes each day may be linked with weight gain. Despite how counter-intuitive that may seem, researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners common in diet beverages may cause the body to crave the additional calories it tastes, but is actually missing.
So, if Diet Coke doesn’t cut it – what ARE the best beverages for dieting?
Hands down, the best drink for dieting is water. Why? Water makes up approximately 60% of our body weight. Water aids almost all bodily functions – from cleansing your body of toxins built up in the kidneys to aiding the transmission of neurons in the brain. Not only does water help our body function – it just might help you lose weight. A study published in Obesity suggests that overweight women who escalate their consumption of water experience an increase in metabolism and weight loss. There is not an official consensus on the effects of drinking water on weight loss. However, recent research implies that drinking water makes you feel full, consequently causing you to ingest fewer calories. There is no known harm in drinking water – so drink as much as you need to feel full and energized before exercising.
Do you know how beneficial water is, but still find yourself craving the bubbles that only carbonation can provide? Despite rumors surrounding the negative effects of sparkling water, sparkling water is just that – water that sparkles! Nutrition experts agree – the positive effects of drinking sparkling water are identical to those of regular water. Basically, sparkling water is regular water, with carbonation. Carbonation is not known to affect weight – so if you want the benefits of drinking water, swig all of the sparkling water you want!
First brewed over 4,000 years ago, green tea has been long been a staple in Eastern culture. While drinking green tea has voluminous benefits, one major advantage is its effect on weight loss. Containing a combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea increases metabolism. A randomized placebo-controlled study found that moderately overweight adults who sipped 1,900mg of green tea daily lost an average of 2.64 pounds in 90 days (without working out). Drink a cup of hot green tea each day – or swallow it cold – to help lose weight!
One-Percent Reduced-Fat Milk
Drinking a glass of milk isn’t as bad as people might think. One cup of one-percent reduced-fat milk carries similar nutrition contents as a small, healthy meal. An average glass has about 110 calories, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A study published in the “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” (2010) found that increased consumption of one-percent reduced-fat milk may aid weight loss in overweight women. Having a glass as a snack may make you fuller longer, while still giving you the energy you need to exercise and feel great.
Making the Right Choices
When creating your healthy eating plan, don’t forget to assess the beverages that you consume. You may be thwarting your weight loss efforts with unhealthy drinks. Before drinking, ask yourself: Does this drink have calories or artificial sweeteners that might negate my diet? Rather, does it have nutrients or elements that might help accelerate weight loss? Allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite drinks is important, but make sure that your overall beverage consumption does not repudiate your weight loss.