NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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Think Your Drink

Think Your Drink

When we think about how many calories we are consuming, we sometimes forget about the calories that we consume as beverages.  There is some evidence that the body does not respond to calories in beverages the same way it does to calorie in food.

Several research studies point to decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages as a good strategy to decrease calories and help manage body weight. Making some simple changes in the beverages you choose can make a big difference.

Compare these two different days of beverage choices. By making a few changes, the calories drop from over 1,300 to only 370.

Day One – Orange Juice –  110 calories

Mocha coffee – 440

Regular soda –  280

Fruit drink –     230

Sweet tea –       220

Beer –               150

Total – 1,370


Day Two  – Orange Juice – 110 calories

Non-fat Latte   160

Water (2x)            0

Tea with artificial 0


Light Beer        110

Total – 380


Drinking water is the No. 1 strategy when rethinking your drink.  A cool glass of water is the perfect beverage – it is calorie-free, sugar-free, fat-free, and almost free in price. (if you drink tap water).
Try these strategies to make water number one:

  • Keep water and other calorie-free beverages on hand at work, at home, and in the car. Make it easy for everyone to choose water.
  • Don’t keep sugar-sweetened beverages at home or work. We tend to drink what is available, so make your home and office sugar-free.
  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Add a slice of lemon, lime, or orange to jazz up your water. Make a pitcher of water with fruit slices and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Add a splash of fruit juice to still or sparkling water.
  • Sometimes people switch from drinking soda or soft drinks to drinking fruit juice in an effort to control their weight. Surprisingly, ounce for ounce, 100% fruit juice may contain more calories than soda or soft drinks. This means that drinking the same amount of juice instead of soda or soft drinks could actually contribute to weight gain.

    Another issue is that fruit juices are often confused with sweetened beverages that contain little or no real juice. Watch out for beverages that are labeled as “fruit punches," "juice drinks," or "juice cocktails.” Always look for the word “juice” all by itself or “100% juice.” Fruit juice should be the first ingredient listed on the ingredients list.

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