Could what you are drinking make your waistline expand?  The answer is absolutely.  We have all heard the term empty calories, but what exactly does this mean?  An empty calorie delivers energy (from sugar or fat) with little or no protein, vitamins and minerals.  In other words; your body does not get any benefits from empty calories.  Not only are most beverages high in calories, they do not fill us up the way food does.  Drink water to stay hydrated – no we do not get nutrients from water – but you should get these from a well-balanced diet.  Here are the top no-no’s in beverage dinking.
Soda – By drinking soft drinks you are drinking empty calories, they deliver glucose (i.e. sugar) and energy with few, if any nutrients.  One 12-ounce can contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.  Not only have sodas been linked to obesity, but kidney damage and elevated blood pressure as well.

Sports Drinks – While they may taste good, water is the way to go when trying to rehydrate during physical activities.  Sports drinks contain glucose which is sugar and like candy, it provides empty calories with no vitamins and minerals.  While sports drinks contain sodium and electrolytes, an ordinary person can eat a regular diet to meet these energy and nutrient needs.  Try adding orange, lime or lemon slices to give your water an extra kick.

Fruit Juice – Fruit Juice contains mostly water, sugar and with a little juice for flavor, this makes it high in calories. Fruit juice also contains little dietary fiber compared to whole fruit.  Opt for whole fruits; they are more satisfying and fill you up.

Alcohol – Alcohol slows down your metabolism and is full of empty calories.  Alcohol is also a diuretic; which impairs your fluid balance making dehydration likely.

Coffee Drinks – An average latte is 300-500 calories, a Frappuccino above 500.  With a combination of cream or whole milk, sugar, sugary syrups and whipping cream, this pushes coffee drinks over the calories edge. If you must have your coffee fix, try ordering a tall (small), sugar free skinny version for around 100 calories.

Smoothies – While they may seem healthy, some are full of sugar, sugary syrups and ice cream sending your calorie count into the 4-digits.  Your best bet is to make them from home or ask for a skinny version at your local smoothie shop.

Diet Soda – While diet sodas are not full of empty calories; studies from the Perdue University and University of Texas Health show by drinking artificial sweeteners you are more likely to crave sugars later on.  Diet sodas also contain sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate.  “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it – they knock it out altogether,” Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., told a British newspaper in 1999.


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