Why Sugary Drinks Lead to Weight Gain
It is now widely accepted that sugary beverages are the most fattening of all forms of calories and have subsequently played a leading role in the obesity epidemic. In fact, of all the things you could do to lose weight, dumping sugary beverages appears to provide the single greatest return for your efforts! The unique propensity of sweet liquids like soda, fruit drinks, and dessert coffees to tip the scale in the wrong direction is due to at least four separate and distinct, particularly fattening features. This quadruple threat to your waistline occurs through the following means:
- Liquid calories do not suppress the human appetite like solid food calories. Despite the fact that they can be loaded with calories, we do not seem to be less hungry or to eat less after consuming them. Somehow liquid calories pass under the radar of the body’s satiety (full feeling) mechanisms, and do not elicit the hunger-quieting signals that real foods do.
- Sugary beverages launch blood sugar (glucose) levels up high and fast, followed by a steep and sudden drop that can trigger hunger.
- Sugary beverages also quickly drive up blood fructose levels, which incite a number of adverse consequences that can promote weight gain. (This is emerging as the primary culprit in the adverse health effects observed with regular consumption of sugary beverages.)
- Sipping relative to chewing provides minimal “orosensory satiety” and makes it considerably easier to take in excess calories quickly and effortlessly.
The result? A perfect storm of distinctly obesogenic calories that go down fast!
Keep in mind that standard beverage servings in sit down, casual dining chains are typically 14-22 ounces. If you ask for a sugary selection, like soda, you will be getting 175-275 calories and 11-17 tsp of sugar even before your free refill. Those drinks on the house are a menace!
To stay on track and avoid a bellyful of calories that will not fill you up, but will fill you out choose:
- Unsweetened hot or cold tea
- Unsweetened coffee (I recommend that everyone avoid caffeine after 2:00 PM)
- Sparkling water/seltzer (really refreshing with a twist of lemon or lime)
- Skim or reduced-fat milk
- If plain water is just too plain for you, order my version of a “healthy soft drink” – three parts seltzer/sparking water to one part 100% fruit juice. In other words, 9 oz. seltzer to 3 oz. fruit juice.
- If you desire an alcoholic beverage – a light or low carb beer, a glass of wine, or liquor with a non-caloric mixer is the best choice.
As an additional, positive incentive, recognize that reducing the intake of liquid calories does not seem to make us hungrier, as is the case with reducing the intake of solid-food calories.