diet sodas are “calorie-free”, they do not replace water in terms of
nutrition. Diet sodas contain phosphorus, and a high phosphorus
intake, if not balanced by a good intake of calcium, can promote
loss of bone. (Regular sodas have phosphorus, too, neither is a
great choice). Since many adults do not get enough calcium in their
diet, drinking beverages that contain phosphorus adds to the problem
of good calcium balance, and this can be a problem for those prone
to osteoporosis. Good calcium/phosphorus balance is just one good
reason that children and young people, who are still growing, should
avoid drinking large amounts of either diet or regular sodas.
In addition, diet sodas often contain
caffeine, which is de-hydrating and adds to the challenge of
replacing lost fluids.
Last, diet sodas contain artificial
sweeteners, and although they are considered “safe” in moderate
amounts, they are unnecessary chemical that adds to the other
chemicals the body is exposed to on a daily basis. Moderation is the
key when drinking diet drinks.
Soda Pop and
Clearly, sweetened beverages lose out when it comes to
non-nutritious calories. If a 12-ounce can of soda contains about
150 Calories, it’s all coming from sugar in the form of high
fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. That’s about 40 grams of
carbohydrate, or 8 teaspoons of sugar in each can of soda. While you
probably wouldn’t think of sitting down to eat 8 teaspoons of sugar
in a bowl, that is essentially what you are doing when you drink a
can of soda.
Beyond traditional soda pop, there are
soda “crossovers” - fruit juice-based beverages that have an equal
amount of sugar in the form of various sweeteners. While some of
these beverages contain supplements (herbal, vitamin, amino acids,
etc. that make them appear more nutritious) they are essentially
soft drinks that contain a lot of empty calories. Read the nutrition
label for calorie content and you will see that these drinks contain
Read the nutrition labels of all
beverages. In some cases, when you drink a beverage from a large
bottle, you may be consuming two servings instead of one – so check
for the number of servings in each bottle or can.
Much has been said about coffee drinks as a source of fat and empty
calories. Many of these coffee specialty drinks become more like
desserts and should be treated as such. If you drink coffee and like
to add to it, use skim milk or non-fat, non-dairy creamers, and
avoid pre-sweetened coffee drinks. The syrups, whipped cream,
chocolate, and caramel add up quickly, so making these drinks a
daily ritual can make the difference between losing weight or not.
There is also a tendency to skip breakfast and instead to opt for a
special coffee drink. Clearly these dessert beverages are not a good
substitute for a decent breakfast and can be compared to eating an
ice cream sundae for breakfast!
Fruit Smoothies and Shakes
Yogurt shakes and fruit smoothies are really nice, refreshing
drinks, and are a pretty good replacement for ice cream, but be
aware that they can be very high in calories. Made from large
quantities of fruit juices, whole fruit, added sugar, and yogurt,
the biggest problem with these beverages is that they are simply too
large, making them very high in carbohydrate and calories. Split
these drinks between one or two friends, and try to keep the serving
size to 8 ounces or less, and they can be a fun treat instead of a
In the summertime, enjoy a variety of your favorite beverages, and
include plenty of water. Know that drinks that contain a lot of
sugar or caffeine are dehydrating and are not the best choice for
replacing lost fluids. Sodas, because of their phosphorus (and
caffeine) content can be a detriment to bone health, even the diet
sodas, so use moderation when drinking non-caloric beverages.
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