An 8-ounce glass of orange juice in the morning, a couple of sodas throughout the day, a bottle of Gatorade at the gym, maybe a few bottles of your favorite beer at night – all of these add up to one thing: excess calories.
Could it be that hundreds of extra calories are mindlessly consumed in liquid form? Yes. According to research published in the International Journal of Obesity, calories from liquids, such as soft drinks, sports beverages or sweetened tea, don’t seem to register as food.1 Thus, consuming soft drinks with your meal, instead of water or another calorie-free beverage, could really make a difference for your weight over time.
Participants in a study at Purdue University were asked to consume 450 calories worth of jelly beans every day for four weeks and 450 calories worth of soda every day for another four weeks. On days they ate the jelly beans, the participants compensated by eating roughly 450 fewer calories from other foods. Therefore, they ingested no more calories than usual. But on days they drank the soda, the participants didn’t compensate. They ended up eating roughly 450 more calories than usual.2 Purdue researcher Richard Mattes says, “beverages are a huge contributor to obesity; they’re major players that often get overlooked. Liquid calories don’t trip our satiety mechanisms; they just don’t register.”3
It is best to be aware of how many sweetened drinks you are consuming during the day. If possible, try to make adjustments so you are consuming beverages without calories.
Also be aware of portion sizes, which can be very large. A king-sized soda at Burger King is 35 ounces – or just over one quart. 7-Eleven features a “Slurp and Gulp” combo drink that is a total of 54 ounces of soda and slurpee. That’s almost 7 cups – a huge serving. Furthermore, many restaurants and movie theaters offer unlimited refills, and these can really add up!
Take a look at how daily liquid calories stack up:
8 oz. of orange juice 120
24 oz. of soda 292
2 beers 300
Grand total: 712
1) International Journal of Obesity, June 2000, 24(6):794-800.
2,3) www.purdue.edu; Purdue News. January 1999.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.