Much of the discussion about healthy eating centers on exactly that: what we eat. However, the drinks you enjoy could also be taking a toll on your diet. In fact, if you’re regularly consuming alcohol, sugary sodas or fancy coffee drinks, you may unintentionally be adding hundreds of calories to your daily total.
Here are a few shocking statistics about some of your favorite drinks that might make you think twice before taking another sip.
If consumed in moderation, alcohol can certainly be part of a healthy diet. In fact, a glass of red wine can even have positive effects on heart health, and some studies have even found drinking moderately can actually reduce weight gain.
However, alcohol becomes a dangerous addition to a healthy diet when consumed in excess or added to sugary mixers to make a high-calorie cocktail. While some studies have found moderate drinking has no affect on weight gain, a 2005 study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III found people who consumed four or more alcoholic drinks per day were 46 percent more likely to be obese than non-drinkers.
Soda and Other Sugary Drinks
A 20-ounce soda typically has between 15 and 18 teaspoons of sugar. For a 20-ounce Coca Cola, that’s 65 grams of sugar, or over 27 sugar cubes. Thanks to these high sugar contents, many regular soda drinkers are consuming 200-700 extra liquid calories per day. The National Cancer Institute found sugary drinks represent the top calorie source in the diets of teenagers – even more so than pizza. And the risks don’t stop at simple weight gain: a 2010 study published in Diabetes Care found regular soda drinkers were 26 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Fancy Coffee Drinks
On it’s own, coffee is virtually calorie-free. However, for those who dislike the bitter taste, excess cream, sugar, syrups and artificial flavoring can quickly add up to create a drink with more calories than your average meal. Take the McDonalds McCafe Mocha, for example. A small size contains 340 calories, 11 grams of fat and 42 grams of sugar—more than twice the amount the American Heart Association recommends for daily sugar consumption. Like this list recommends, you’d be better off satisfying your sweet tooth with a plain cup of coffee and an actual candy bar.
If you are someone who regularly enjoys high calorie beverages, try slowly weaning yourself off or transitioning to a healthier alternative. You might be surprised how quickly your body reacts to such a small change.
Ready to make more healthy changes? Download our free guide: “5 Steps to Eating Healthy.”