Did you know that you probably waste 350 to 450 calories each day on empty calories? For most people, over 35% of your daily calories are spent on consumable liquids, specifically sugary drinks such as soda, juice and energy drinks. What is really interesting is nutritional studies have shown that these calorie-laden drinks have a direct impact on your waistline, perhaps the reason why even the most diet and exercise savvy people cannot achieve a flatter belly.
Nutritionists say that when you drink many of your calories, it does not reduce the amount of food you eat. The stomach has receptors which recognize fulfilling food versus liquids. That is why you may not always be able to achieve a flatter belly even though you eat right and do all the right exercises. The drinks you consume could be sabotaging your fitness efforts. The good news is that if you start to cut back on those empty calorie drinks, you will start to notice weight loss and exercise efforts start working more effectively.
Drinks that Are Safe to Consume
Besides water, tea is the most popular drink around. People all over the world have been drinking it for centuries not only for its taste but also for its medicinal antioxidant properties. In fact, green tea has something called catechins which fires up your metabolism to help you burn fat calories more effectively. You can drink tea hot or cold and it has no calories when left unsweetened.
Tea is healthy and would not contribute to the empty calorie syndrome so you can drink it often. However, when you add sugar as a sweetener, you are adding empty sugary liquid calories to your diet. If you cannot drink tea without some sweetness, use a low calorie sweetener (preferably a natural one), honey or even agave nectar.
Coffee is popular drink with few calories that offers some beneficial qualities such as lowering risk of diabetes, colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments. Again, like tea, coffee is best consumed without sweeteners to avoid empty calories and a bloated stomach. It is quite easy to fall into sugary traps when visiting coffeehouses that serve cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee concoctions. Use low calorie sweeteners if you must have a touch of sweetness in your coffee.
Drinks to Watch for
Alcohol can be great on occasion but it does offer plenty of empty calories and can even stimulate your appetite causing you to eat more than you normally would. In addition, when you drink alcohol, your body cannot store the calories so it must stop other fat burning mechanisms and process the alcohol first. A basic glass of wine is 100 to 150 empty calories so you have to decide if it is worth forgoing other foods in your diet to accommodate the calories in alcohol.
Milk is a healthy beverage with vitamin D, calcium and amino acids that can help with fat burning processes. However, in order to benefit from this beverage, you need to stick with low-fat or fat-free versions as they have less sugar content than cream and whole milk. In fact, if you are truly counting calories and trying for a flatter belly, consider soy milk.
Many juices are good for you and packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, added sugar is a common practice for many manufacturers. Consider the apple. Less than 100 calories, it has several grams of natural sugars but is packed with plenty of filling fiber. Apple juice on the other hand has no fiber and plenty of calories. If you want a little variety in the liquid portion of your diet, consider mixing your juice with water.
The best way to achieve a flatter belly through diet is to consume water. For variety, unsweetened tea and coffee are options too. In order to determine exactly how many extra calories you are consuming from liquids, track everything you put in your mouth in a journal. You will be surprised at how many calories you are wasting each day.
3 More Winning Ways to Reduce Calories
Here are some winning ways to reduce your calorie intake and stop overeating:
1. Boost flavor not calories by using vinegar.
Vinegar has the power to moderate your glucose levels from your meal, particularly if you consume a meal laden with carbs like pasta dishes. The sugar surge from carbs can be a problem for the obese who are dealing with diabetes. And even if you are overweight and don’t have diabetes, excess glucose in the blood spurs on your appetite so you will feel hungry again.
Vinegar not only introduces a piquant flavor to food to keep things interesting but it also reduces the glucose intake you consume. The acid literally eats away at the starch in the carbs. Use vinegar in salad dressings and sauces.
2. Nosh on some fruit, especially for dessert after you eat a fattening meal.
Antioxidant-rich fruits have the power to reduce the damage of free radicals that are released into your body after consuming a rich meal. Fruits with darker colors such as purple grapes, blueberries and cherries are especially beneficial. Can you imagine how powerful these fruits can be if you eat a healthy meal? You can burn more calories and reap the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants at the same time.
3. Wine aficionados can drink red wine in moderation to aid in weight loss.
There are beneficial antioxidants called polyphenols which can help negate some of the negative impact that calorie rich meals have on your body. Resveratrol is a compound found in red wine too that helps trick your body into consuming fewer calories than you normally would. In fact, resveratrol has been isolated and turned into supplement form for weight loss too. Cooking and drinking a glass or two of red wine with meals can help you stop overeating and lose weight.
Overindulging seems to be a national pastime as the percentage of obesity rises each year in this country. Almost 60% of Americans are overweight and up to 15% are classified as obese. While the occasional slice of cheesecake or plate of fettuccine Alfredo is fine, a daily occurrence of thousands of calories is not.
Metabolizing carbohydrate-rich and fatty foods create a bad environment for your body. Free radicals which can cause premature aging, illness and a host of other factors are released in your body, attacking the body cells that can affect certain conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and more. The higher the amount of bad foods you consume, the more free radicals are released in your body to wreck havoc.
While calorie restriction is one of the best ways to lose weight, it will not totally protect you from the diseases you could form as the result of obesity. One goal is to cut 25 to 35% of your calories. However, you must also pack what calories you do consume with nutritious fare instead of processed or refined foods.
You could eat a Twinkie or two and maintain your lower calorie intake but is it really good for you? Obviously not!
Stick to eating whole foods that are healthy for the body, and avoid adding excess sugars, especially in beverages where they hide so easily!