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Tips to cut calories when drinking liquids

September 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When some of us keep an eye on calories, what we do is make some trades. For example, we'll have an open-faced sandwich so we can have some chips. But when it comes to liquid calories, we don't seem to recognize them. On average, we sip an extra 130 calories a day. Here are some tips to smart sipping.Sodas remain the largest single source of calories in our diet, which can add weight and increase diabetes and heart disease risk. Learn to love less of it. A 20-ounce cola is 240 calories, so try the 7-ounce can at 90 calories.

Ordering a skim-milk latte is a calorie savor, but always get coffee without whipped cream, as that topping delivers 100 full-fat calories.

Rather than orange juice, how about real fruit? You'll save yourself about 50 calories and less sugar, while getting at least 3 grams of fiber. If you want to drink orange juice, mix with sparkling water to cut calories.

If you drink alcohol, today's light beers can be a calorie bargain. One brand is as low as 55 calories.

Wine is about 100 calories for 5 ounces and is sipped not guzzled. Yet wine glasses today usually serve twice as much with few complaining about the over pour.

Calories in mixed drinks really add up. Margaritas and pina coladas are usually well over 400 calories.

Designed to fuel athletes, sports drinks offer sugar, sodium and potassium, but for most of us, the extra calories aren't always needed. If you are drinking for fitness, note that most exercisers don't need them unless they've exercising for 90 nonstop minutes. Anything less, water is just fine.

If energy drinks are part of your day, watch the caffeine. Some stimulant is good, but too much could mean anxiety, irritable stomach and sleeplessness. A cup of coffee averages 75 to 125 milligrams, yet many energy drinks offer 145 milligrams.

Smoothies can range a couple hundred to 800 calories, so think small. A 12-ounce smoothie without heavy extras is best.

Finally, don't worry about getting eight glasses of water daily. Researchers say many of the foods we consume, like fruits, soup and yogurt, help hydrate as well.

It's important to note that many of us confuse both hunger and fatigue with thirst, so it certainly doesn't hurt to sip a little bit of water throughout the day.


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