In my last article I discussed calories in vs calories out being the main metric you should be concerned with if you are strictly trying to lose weight. I said that overall it’s terrible advice and that you won’t necessarily lose only fat. The intention of these articles is for them to be building blocks for you to build upon. Having said that, let’s dive into today’s topic… Hidden calories.
When it comes to weight loss I hear all of the time “I watch what I eat! I don’t eat junk and I still can’t lose weight!” My typical questions in response to this are “how big are your portions?” and “what do you drink?” Portion size is important. I have seen people lose weight by doing nothing other than cutting down their portions. The other question “what do you drink?” is what I want to address in this article today.
Drinks are the single most overlooked source of calories. People for whatever reason just don’t associate drinks with calories. This is unfortunate because drinks oftentimes have a ton of calories. A venti, matcha green tea latte from Starbucks, with nonfat milk has 230 calories. I used this as an example because this is often something that people will order when they are looking for a “healthier” option. That is a ton of calories to be consuming in a beverage. 12 ounce cans of soda typically clock in around 100-150. That’s where it gets tricky though, soda is typically sold in 20 ounce bottles which will have nearly double that amount of calories. These are just two common examples. Sweet tea, sweetened coffee, fruit juice, lemonade, also fall into the category of having a lot of calories.
Alcohol is another big one. Health implications aside, consuming alcohol is consuming calories. All alcohol contains calories. Typical shots of liquor have between 70 and 100 calories. The average beer or glass of wine may have as few as 100 calories but will likely contain significantly more. When drinking mixed drinks people often forget to count the calories in the mixer. The mixer oftentimes has a ton of calories. Whether it’s Coca Cola or some kind of juice, mixed drinks contain a ton of calories. The bottom line with alcohol is that it does contain calories, sometimes a lot of calories and if you’re going to drink while trying to lose weight you need to be conscious of this and make sure you count them.
My general recommendation for people is to stick to the basics, unsweet tea, plain black coffee and water. A topic for a different day is “calorie free” drinks, sweeteners and flavor additives. I advise against these 100% of the time but the reasoning behind it is out of the scope of this article. The main thing I want you to take away here is that if you’re counting your calories don’t forget to take into account the amount of calories you are drinking. When it comes to weight loss the best thing to do is make it as easy as you possibly can on yourself. It doesn’t get much simpler than sticking to unsweet tea, water and black coffee.
If you need assistance determining how many calories you burn on a daily basis you can use my free calculator found here.