Beverages and Calories

What’s in Your Cup? Beverages and Calories

If you are not paying attention to what is in your cup, your beverages could actually be sabotaging your dieting efforts. According to UC Berkeley in 1998 on average Americans consumed 6% of their total daily calories from beverages; as of 2015; 25% of total calories came from drinks. Unlike the calories in food – that fill you up and satisfy you; liquid calories are nowhere near as satisfying or as filling. For example; a serving of apple juice (8oz) and 2 small apples are both approximately 150 calories. It is easy to see that the 2 apples will fill you up and satisfy your hunger much more than just the apple juice.

The Healthy Beverage Guidelines* created by the Beverage Guidance Panel from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is similar to the Food Pyramid. For the average adult, the panel recommends 12 cups or 96 ounces of fluids per day containing 300 calories. Their recommendations, based on a 1 cup serving size, are as follows:

  • Level 1: Water (at least four servings of water for women, at least six servings for men)
  • Level 2: Unsweetened coffee and tea (up to eight servings a day of tea, up to four servings of coffee)
  • Level 3: Nonfat or low-fat milk and fortified soy beverages (up to two servings)
  • Level 4: Diet beverages with sugar substitutes (up to four servings)
  • Level 5: 100% fruit and vegetable juices, whole milk, sports drinks (up to one serving)
  • Level 6: Calorie-rich beverages without nutrients, such as carbonated soft drinks (up to one serving, less if trying to lose weight)

Beware of hidden calories in your coffee, fruit juices, smoothies and cocktails. Always read the nutritional label and be sure to check the serving size; often times a single bottle or container is actually 2 or 2 ½ serving sizes. Obviously water is the best, no calorie drink available but let’s face it – it does get boring. Spice up your water by added fresh squeezed fruit; like lemons, limes or oranges. Cucumbers also give water a great fresh taste, simply cut a few slices, float in a jug of water and chill for a couple of hours.

Finally, sugar and sweeteners are called by many different names; here are just a few of the most common:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Monosaccharides
  • Glucose syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Disaccarides
  • Syrup
  • Ribose