According to new research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, High-calorie drinks are worse for the waistline than high-calorie foods. So if you are thinking of grabbing a refreshing, silky-smooth milkshake think again before you touch that straw.
The brain doesn't register drinks as filling, so we are more inclined to overindulge when we have a thirst for such treats. For example, a milkshake contains 750-1000 calories, which represents half of a person's daily requirement. But the brain tallies those calories-as well as those in sugar-sweetened soda-as thirst quenchers instead of hunger satisfiers.
Doctor Liwei Chen, who is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "It probable has to do with the fact that you're not chewing it and it doesn't produce enough of a signal to the brain." Such a signal would tell the brain to inform the rest of the body that it has consumed enough calories, and it's time to stop eating.
Another problem with high-calorie drinks, particularly sodas, is that they provide "empty calories." "They lack essential nutrients," According to Dr. Benjamin Caballero, with the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. In other words, at the end of the day, you might be short on everything from iron to calcium even though you have consumed much as 2000 calories.
Nutritional Director at WebMD, Kathleen M. Zelman states that we are often called an over fed but undernourished nation, so when you choose your beverages, choose ones that help you meet your nutritional needs."
Sugar-sweetened sodas in particular and fast food in general do not meet those needs. For example, a hamburger and fries-roughly 1,500 calories, depending on the size-provide about 300 milligrams of calcium. The daily requirements is 1,000 milligrams, Caballero says. Milk is harder to categorize. It contains high levels of calcium and vitamin D, both essential nutrients, particularly for a growing body. However, dairy for adults is controversial because of its high fat and cholesterol content, Chen says. She recommends skim milk.
Fruit juice-the 100-percent-fruit kind-also contains nutrients. Even so, Caballero and Chen advise limiting juice intake because of the high calorie and sugar content.
"The best thing to do is drink water and eat whole fruit. That way, you get the essential nutrients, and you get fiber," Chen says
Coffee and tea? Sure. Just don't include sugar. Alcoholic drinks? Not so much. They often contain cram or sugar.
As far as diet sodas go, they are better than sugar-sweetened ones, but they're still problematic because they condition the body to crave more sweets, Chen says.
About 75 percent of the U.S. population will be overweight or obese by 2015, Caballero says, spurring the quest of doctors and other public health officials to find fast-acting solutions that are easy to implement.
Caballero and Chen offer a succinct, blunt solution: Dump the soda and stick with water.
In the end, cutting back on sugary soda can make a big difference-15 pounds in some cases. "It might not sound like a lot. But 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of fat." Zelman says. "So, if you cut 150 calories a day for 23 days, you lose 1 pound." Losing one pound every 23 days would equal 15 pounds in a year.
Resource: NEWSMAX August 2009, Healthy Living