There are plenty of lower calorie, healthy drinks that can satisfy your taste buds and battle the bulge.
Losing weight doesn’t mean you must sacrifice all beverage-based enjoyment. Even an occasional not-so-healthy favorite is acceptable, as long as it isn’t a frequent occurrence.
Low Calorie Drinks That Are Good for You
Green tea contains valuable antioxidants that supercharge weight loss benefits. Extract from green tea is one of the most common ingredients added to fat burning supplements. Tea leaves contain many antioxidants such as catechins, which may help decrease body weight.4
Matcha is a Japanese green tea with higher concentrations of catechins.6
Caffeine, also in many green teas, may help support weight loss, as well.7 In one study, people who consumed extra caffeine were able to more effectively maintain their weight loss.8
If you’re feeling “hangry,” brew yourself a cup of healthy green tea to keep you on track.
Black tea contains polyphenols, micronutrients from plant-based foods, which may help prevent obesity. The polyphenols in black tea promote weight loss through calorie reduction, increased fat breakdown, and increasing friendly gut bacteria.9
Who would have thought the humble cup of tea could be a health drink?
When we think “coffee” we think “caffeine” – the most widely-used nootropic in the world. There are millions who use coffee to increase energy and productivity.
Perks of Drinking Coffee
It was widely accepted for many years that coffee was a contributor to heart disease and high blood pressure. Today, there is some disagreement with that conclusion. Recent studies suggest that coffee may actually help prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and liver disease.10
Coffee help with weight loss because it can work as an appetite suppressant; plus, caffeine users are more successful at weight maintenance.8
The body is 60% water and 71% of the Earth’s surface is water. Our lives depend on it. And, yet, most people do not drink enough water to ensure a long, healthy life.
Staying well-hydrated is critical to your well-being . . . and it helps with weight loss. While it seems counterintuitive, the body can retain water if not properly hydrated. The water weight can add extra pounds on the scale.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an average adequate daily fluid intake [for daily life (not on a diet)] is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
Specific water requirements for your body depend on many factors – body weight, activity level, health condition, age, climate in which you live, etc.
As a general rule – eight glasses of water daily is the minimum you should be drinking while dieting.
People often mistake thirst for hunger and eat when they should drink water.
A glass of water before each meal can help control the appetite. It was found that overweight adults who drank 17 ounces of water before a meal lost 44% more weight than the control group.13
Drinking water can also increase resting energy expenditure (REE) the amount of calories consumed at rest. A study of children showed an increase of REE up to 25% for 40 minutes after consumption.14 This seems to hold true for adults, as well.
I’ve heard people say, water is boring – although personally, I love it. There is nothing more refreshing. If you don’t enjoy water, maybe you should spice it up a bit. Add a slice of lemon to a glass of ice water. Or, add lemon juice or mint leaves to hot water for your morning wake-up drink.
Drinking water, especially warm water, first thing in the morning can flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body? Try it – it’s good for your health, and your diet.
Vegetable and Fruit Juices
Consuming whole vegetables maximizes nutrient intake; plus, they have a heavy water content. But, preparing vegetables takes time, which is a limited resource for many.
Eating enough greens can be challenging. You would have to be a rabbit to eat several cups of spinach, broccoli, carrots, and kale in one sitting. An easier option is to make green smoothies –or fruit and/or vegetable smoothies with added greens. All you need is a good blender or juicer.
Packaged fruit juice is not a good option. It is almost like flavored sugar-water – high in calories (because of the sugar content) and low in nutrients. Freshly-made fruit juice is the only option – or eat the whole fruit, which may be easier. The water content still counts.
People tend to overcomplicate juicing recipes by requiring unusual ingredients. Use simple combinations like the following:
- 2 cups of spinach
- 4 stalks of celery
- Handful of kale
- 1 cup of blueberries
- Lemon juice to taste
To make it easy on yourself, get my book, JUICING for LIFE on Amazon. It will make healthy juicing a breeze.
You may also want to check out this excellent article 25 Green Smoothie Benefits You Can Never Ignore.
Out of the Box Options
There are a few less common healthy drinks you can try that may help with weight loss. Water should be first on your list, but we wanted to be sure you were well-informed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people have apple cider vinegar in their pantry, but should you drink it? Recently there has been hype about it being helpful in weight loss.
It contains acetic acid, a compound linked to decreased belly fat and reduced accumulation of fat in the liver.
In a study performed on rats, apple cider vinegar helped prevent obesity in those with type 2 diabetes.15 In another animal study, it also reduced body weight in obese mice.16
The research on apple cider vinegar performed in humans is limited, but some research suggests it may improve metabolic health in humans.17,18 Consuming two tablespoons of ACV per day resulted in decreased body weight, waist circumference, and body fat compared to a control group.19
Some articles suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach may help improve digestion; consuming it after meals may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.20 Does it work? There is no solid evidence that it does.
Electrolytes are often referenced in connection with athletes, but everyone needs them to function properly. They are important for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body.
Electrolytes are lost in sweat during workouts. Sports drinks have added electrolytes to counteract the loss. The drinks may also have a high calorie count because of the sugar content.
Remember – every calorie counts on a diet. Be sure to read labels. Low-calorie electrolyte drinks can help maintain a proper electrolyte balance without the extra sugar.
Liquid Meal Replacements
These have been popular in America for decades. People like the convenience.
Meal replacements remove the hassle of meal preparation. You simply drink your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These products usually have a well-rounded macronutrient profile and fewer calories than a normal meal.They may also be fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.
Word of caution – read the label. They may contain additives.
Meal replacements can keep the calorie-count low; but, they may not satisfy your hunger like solid food would. The average “shake” has ~200 calories and 20 grams of protein. A small chicken breast with a side of veggies would have a similar calorie count and be more filling.
We don’t recommend using meal replacements as substitutes for solid meals. Use them for emergencies.
Liquid Cleanses or Detox Diets
These are popular because of the promises of fast weight loss.
They deliver on the promise for two reasons.
- During the cleanse, your calorie intake is minimal – far below the daily recommended allowance, even for dieting. It is an extreme form of crash dieting and should never be used more than a few days. Follow the instructions carefully and let your physician know you are doing it.
- A cleanse diet has laxative powers, as the name implies. They are designed to make people lose water weight and gut fiber weight as opposed to true fat loss. The weight loss is short-term. The only time a cleanse diet should be used is to “kick-start” a healthier weight-loss diet.
Check out my book titled, DETOX, on Amazon. It will help you make an informed decision regarding a cleanse diet. Be sure to check with your physician, as well.
What kinds of beverages are you consuming each day? Are they helping you lose weight? Or, are they causing you to plateau, or even gain weight?
Answer the questions honestly and make the necessary adjustments. Choosing low-calorie, healthy drinks can make a significant difference in your diet results.
See you next time for Segment #3 – “Drinks You Should Avoid for a Successful Diet.”
Adapted with permission from the original article published on HVMN by Ryan Rodal.
Note: This was a long article originally that I am posting in segments for easier reading. If you want more information on the research, click on the numbered links in the posting. They will take you to the references in the original article.