Rethink Your Drink

Are you drinking your calories instead of eating them? 

Calories and sugar can sneak up on you when you drink them instead of eat them. Beverages sweetened with sugar do not provide nutritional value. They are made of simple carbohydrates, which breakdown in your body very quickly. This results in you not feeling full. Your body does not realize you have consumed calories. So after consuming a sugar-sweetened beverage, you would tend to eat like you normally do, which can lead to weight gain. For someone who has diabetes, it is very important to watch your carbohydrate intake. Some sugar-sweetened beverages have the equivalent carbohydrate grams of what is recommended for an entire meal. Yikes! Here is a list of popular sugar sweetened beverages:

  • Coke, 12 oz.: 140 calories, 39 g. carbs, 39 g. sugar
  • Sprite, 12 oz.: 140 calories, 38 g. carbs, 38 g. sugar
  • Pepsi, 12 oz.:   150 calories, 41 g. carbs, 41 g. sugar
  • Minute Maid lemonade, 12 oz.: 150 calories, 40 g. carbs, 42 g. sugar
  • Lemon-lime Gatorade, 12 oz.: 80 calories, 21 g. carbs, 2 g. sugar
  • Vitamin Water, 20 oz.: 125 calories, 32.5 g. carbs, 32.5 g. sugar
  • Lipton ice tea with lemon, 20 oz.: 130 calories, 33 g. carbs, 33 g. sugar
  • Tim Hortons coffee with cream & sugar, medium: 115 calories, 13 g. carbs, 13 g. sugar
  • Nesquick chocolate milk, 1 cup: 170 calories, 29 g. carbs, 28 g. sugar
  • McDonald’s Strawberry-Banana Smoothie 12 oz.: 210 calories, 47 g. carbs, 44 g. sugar
  • Starbucks caramel Frappuccino, grande: 410 calories, 66 g. carbs, 64 g. sugar
  • Ocean Spray cranberry juice, 8 oz.: 140 calories, 36 g. carbs, 36 g. sugar

Here are some healthier options from Botsford Hospital’s registered dietitians:

1. Make your own smoothie using milk, fresh fruit and ice. Try to keep your portion to 8 ounces or less.

2. Add some fresh fruit and herbs to your water. Place fresh fruit and herbs in a large pitcher of water, and give the water time to absorb the flavor. Get creative. You can always add a splash of soda water to replace the taste of soda pop. Some tasty combinations are:

  • Lemon + Lavender
  • Ginger + Lime
  • Lemon + Cucumber + Mint
  • Lemon + Blueberry
  • Orange + Pineapple

3. Instead of drinking a glass of juice, add 1-2 ounces of juice to your cup of water for a flavorful taste. This gives the beverage flavor without the full serving of calories and sugar.

4. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, such as 1% or skim.

5. Skip or cut back on cream and sugar in coffee, or drink tea instead.

By: Nicole Kolin, Botsford Hospital dietetic intern and Michigan State University student Information sources:

1. Coca-Cola Company. Updated July 2013. Accessed July 9, 2013.

2. PepsiCo. Updated July 2013. Accessed July 9, 2013

3. Tim Hortons U.S. Nutrition Calculator. Accessed July 9, 2013.

4. Nesquik. Accessed July 9, 2013

5. McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items. Updated July 2013. Accessed July 9, 2013.

6. Starbucks. Accessed July 9, 2013.

7. Ocean Spray. Accessed July 10, 2013.

8. Accessed July 9, 2013.

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