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Holiday Drinks Matter

Perhaps the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said it best.  “Many people don’t realize just how much sugar and calories we drink in a day.”  When the holidays roll around, the calories skyrocket and the portions get more generous.

The reason holiday drinks matter is threefold:

  • One, drinks often contain a surprising number of calories.  Studies indicate that beverage calories do not help people feel full.
  • Two, weight gain goes up around the holidays.  Every calorie counts when people want to maintain their weight.
  • Three, holiday beverages tend to be very high in sugar, fat and calories.  And if they are high in alcohol, then people often lose track of what they are eating too.

Carbonated, sugar-sweetened soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet … and noncarbonated, sugar-sweetened soft drinks (fruit drinks, aides, ice teas) add even more calories.  Too many calories equal weight gain.  Just 100 extra calories a day can add up to about a 10-pound weight gain in one year.

How do you know if a food or drink has added sugar?  Check the ingredient list on food labels and look for these words:  high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, honey, sugar, syrup, corn syrup, sucrose and dextrose.

Healthful Alternatives:  Instead of reaching for that big glass of eggnog, try these festive holiday alternatives…

  • Flavored waters.  Pep up your water with slices of fresh fruit, some berries, or a few springs of mint or basil.  This works well with sparkling water too!
  • Tea.  Warm up with tasty hot tea – just skip the sugar.  You can add fruits or herbs to teas as well.  Try black, herbal, and green teas to find a flavor profile that works for you.
  • Cocoa.  Make your cocoa with skim milk and nonfat cream.  Garnish with cocoa powder, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg.
  • Fresh fruit smoothies.  Combine ice and fresh fruit, then blend it up!

By following these simple guidelines this may be the first year you don’t gain those extra holiday pounds!  Wouldn’t that be great?

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