By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N
Choosing healthy beverages can help prevent weight gain and higher blood glucose levels, so it’s important to know that some drinks are better for you than others. Read on to learn more about some common drinks to help you make better choices.
WATER AND SELTZER
Your body needs water to stay healthy. Water helps flush toxins out, transports food to your cells and keeps your nasal tissues and other areas of your body moist. If you don’t have enough water in your system, you can become dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Water and seltzer are great drink choices because they don’t contain calories, carbs or fat and won’t affect your blood glucose levels. Water is an important part of all of our lives, but don’t believe the myth that drinking large amounts of water speeds up metabolism, flushes out extra calories or helps to increase weight loss.
If you aren’t a veggies fan or don’t have time to prepare them each day, enjoy some vegetable or tomato juice. Each is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help your body grow and stay strong. Vegetable and tomato juices are very low in calories and don’t contain many carbs.
Milk contains calcium, vitamin D and protein—nutrients your body and bones need to stay strong. When it comes to milk, go for fat-free because it has fewer calories. If you don’t like the taste of fat-free, then opt for the next best choice: 1%. You can also try low-fat chocolate milk, but limit your intake because it has more carbs than regular milk. If you can’t drink milk, try enriched soy, rice, seven-grain, almond or oat milk. Check the label for the serving size and carbohydrate amounts.
- Fruit smoothies
- Chocolate milk
- More than 1 cup of juice, fruit punch or sports drinks
- Light juice
- Diet fruit juice drinks
- Vegetable juice
- Skim/low-fat milk
- Nonfat/low-fat soy milk
- Sugar-free hot cocoa
- Flavored water
- Diet iced tea
- Diet soda
- Other diet soft drinks
Pure fruit juice gets its sweetness from natural fruit sugars. It provides a variety of vitamins and minerals but can raise your blood glucose level, so be sure to include the juice amount in your meal plan. An 8-ounce glass of orange juice has as many carbs as two small oranges. You also can buy light juice, which has fewer carbs and calories.
SODA AND OTHER SOFT DRINKS
Regular soda, fruit punch, fruit juice blends and other fruit drinks often contain large amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup that can make you gain weight. They also offer little nutrition. Most sports drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, so if you drink them, be sure to count the carbs.
DIET SOFT DRINKS
These drinks have few or no calories, so they can be a good choice once in a while. But they may not be the best option for weight loss. A recent study showed that older people who drank two or more diet soft drinks each day gained more weight in their waist area than those who didn’t drink them.