Are You Drinking Too Many Calories? Here are some tips to ensure you aren't getting too many liquid calories. A good rule of thumb is to avoid getting more than 10 percent of your calories from beverages.
- At least half of your daily fluid intake should be water
- About one third can come from coffee or unsweetened tea
- Low-fat or fat-free milk can make up an additional 20 percent or less
It's just as important to make healthy choices when it comes to what you drink as it is to make good food choices. And just like food, some beverages contain excess calories that can lead to weight gain. Here's what you need to know to make smart choices!
Most people need at least 8-10 cups of fluid per day to support normal body functions, however other factors can affect how much you need. If you exercise or engage in activity that causes you to sweat, you will need extra fluid. For shorter periods of exercise, an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups should be adequate. Periods of exercise longer than one hour will require more. Also, very hot and humid temperatures that cause excessive sweating will increase your fluid needs.
While water provides optimal hydration for your body, there are plenty of other beverage options available, including:
Coffee and tea are usually free of calories as long as you don't add anything extra! Additives like cream, sugar, milk and other flavorings can increase the calorie (and fat) count significantly.
Soft drinks (regular and artificially sweetened) - Regular soft drinks are high in sugar, contributing to excess calories. For example, one 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, which is equal to 13 teaspoons! Diet drinks and sodas often have no calories, but you should still limit these as much as possible and stick with water.
100% Fruit Juice is an excellent source of nutrients, however it can be high in calories from natural sugars. Read the labels to be aware of calorie and sugar content. Also, you can dilute juice with water to enjoy the taste and health benefits without adding too many calories.
Milk is an excellent source of bone building calcium and vitamin D. Be sure to choose fat-free (skim) milk or low-fat 1% milk to keep calories and fat to a minimum.
Sports Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are designed specifically for athletes who perform long, strenuous bouts of exercise. These drinks contain extra carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during exercise and are often high in calories and sugar. Therefore, they should be limited to occasions when you need to replenish lost nutrients following extended and/or strenuous exercise.
Staying hydrated is extremely important, especially during the summer months. Make water your beverage of choice to help you stay healthy. If you have trouble drinking enough water during the day, here are some tips to help you stay hydrated. We've also included a tip sheet that shows how many calories are in some popular beverages, as well as some healthy and refreshing drinks you can make at home.