We all know soda isn’t ‘good’ for us, but a lot of people aren’t aware of how many empty calories they end up consuming drinking sugary sodas. The average can of Coke has 140 calories in, which means drinking two or three cans a day can really add up the calories.
Shop bought protein shakes
Protein shakes are great for those who are active and working out regularly, but if you have a sit down job or don’t move much in the day you could just be adding more calories and sugar to your diet. Protein shakes often have 150-300 calories per bottle, which alongside your meals can up your daily calories by a lot.
The average milkshake is made up of ice cream and milk, two things that aren’t really going to help with weight loss. The lack of fiber from most milkshakes too makes it likely that you will be hungry very soon after drinking, so don’t try to replace meals with these sweet desserts!
These fruity drinks actually contain very little real fruit. Typically ranging from 5-10% and the rest is sugar and water. Or even worse in a lot of brands, fructose corn syrup, which is even sweeter than sugar and causes blood sugar levels to spike quicker than traditional sugar.
Some bottled store bought smoothies contain the same or even more sugar than regular soda. The sugar may be mostly natural but those sugars don’t contain the other benefits from eating fruit whole like fiber. A lot of store smoothies have even more added sugar or syrups to keep them lasting longer on shelves.
The average glass of wine has 120-200 calories, and who ever sticks to just one glass. If you find yourself constantly drinking a bottle of wine a week, just know you’re consuming more calories than you realise and that can add up over the week.
Think Starbucks Frappuccinos, flavored lattes and milky coffee from your favorite takeout spot. Often these drinks are full of sugar, fat and calories. Seasonal specials from the big chains can have over 300 calories per drink, which isn’t a great choice if you’re trying to cut those calories.
Whilst they may have some healthy benefits like vitamins, the fiber has completely been removed in the juicing process – leaving only the sugar content. People drink way too much juice at once, assuming that it’s extremely healthy as it contains fruit, but the sugar and calories are higher than you think in a small glass.
Those trendy IPAs you may have started drinking usually contain higher alcohol levels and around 100 more calories than the average lager. In addition, alcohol can actually change the way you burn fat! When it’s metabolized, it can make the body start to burn acetate (the substance alcohol is converted to) rather than carbs or fat.
If you’re buying your tea premade from restaurants or stores, be prepared for a huge amount of sugar. Single serve bottles can have 150-180 calories per bottle so, if you have one every day for a week, think about how many calories you consumed just on iced tea.
The most common energy drinks have 20-40 grams of sugar in them, which is a huge amount. Along with all that sugar you get a huge surge of caffeine, which can effect your appetite once the crash begins. The crash from caffeine can have you reaching for more food or sugar than you would normally eat.
Surprised? Food studies have shown that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks can actually increase appetite signals in the body. This means that, even if you’re avoiding the calories in your drinks, you may start to find them elsewhere in your diet or even end up eating more than before.
The average big gulp from the gas station may have around 200 calories. This may not seem like a huge amount, but they also have over 60 grams of sugar, which can easily spike your blood sugar levels and prevent optimal fat loss in the long run through cravings and crashes.
For kids, it can be a great way of boosting calcium. For the rest of us, though, it’s worth noting that whole milk has more calories than your average 2%. A cup of whole milk has around 150 calories, whereas 2% has 120. This may not seem like a big difference but, over the week, those little numbers add up.
A shot of vodka has around 60 calories in it. It may not seem like a lot, and is often recommended as an alcoholic option on weight-loss plans, but how many drinks do you go through on a heavy night of drinking or at a party? Plus, unless you’re mixing it with diet soda, usually the mixer or cocktail base has a ton of hidden sugar and calories too.
These warming chocolatey drinks can quickly add up in calories. If you’re buying a hot chocolate from a drink shop, you’re probably going to consume somewhere between 200-300 calories. This is usually because they’re made with chocolate syrup, whole milk and topped with a mountain of whipped cream and marshmallows.
Bottles of yogurt drinks are often full of sugar and additives to keep them shelf stable and they can be pretty high in calories too, especially if they’re flavored. They may seem healthy because they’re marketed differently to a milkshake, but be sure to read those nutrition labels.
Ovaltine and Horlicks can be really comforting on a winter evening… but they can also be higher in calories. There are ‘lighter’ options out there, so it’s best if you look for the sugar free and low calorie versions where you can, rather than the 100+ calories sachets. Try making them with water instead of milk too for a lighter swap.
The frozen element usually means that there’s added sugar to make the coffee taste extra sweet, rather than bitter and watery. A Dunkin’ Donuts frozen coffee can have 600+ calories in it, which is a lot for a single beverage and has similar calories to a whole meal.
You might think this is lighter than traditional sodas because of the fresh tasting cirtrus and soda water combo, but lemonade is mostly made up of sugar. A restaurant sized glass of lemonade can have 20+ grams of added sugar per serving which will only spike your blood sugar levels and lead to further cravings.
Coconut milk has some health benefits if you really enjoy drinking it, but it’s also full of fat and calories. One cup contains over 500 calories, so it’s great for those needing to gain weight but not so good for those on a weight loss journey.
Because they’re frozen we feel more refreshed and it may seem like they’re a lighter option than your average alcoholic beverage. But often frozen cocktails have a ton of sugar or syrups in them to either change their appearance or mask the taste of the spirits.
Milk tea with boba
A popular drink amongst the younger generations, this trendy beverage is full of sugar and high in calories. Milk tea is essentially made from brewed tea, milk and powdered base mixtures that have high sugar content. Add on top of that, syrups and tapioca pearls, you have a high calorie beverage.
Traditionally made with cream, sugar milk and eggs, this is a recipe that screams out high calorie festive treat. If you’re looking to watch your weight, especially around the festive season, maybe skip the egg nog or consider making your own with a lower calorie or sugar recipe.
Sweetened non-dairy milks
The calories may not be super high in sweetened dairy free milks but you could be adding 10-15 grams of sugar extra per serving. All that sugar isn’t good for those who are diabetic or if you’re looking for a low sugar diet. The sweetness can also increase your appetite.
A gin and tonic on a summer evening can be tasty and refreshing, but because of gin’s high alcohol content, its calories are also high. A general shot serving of gin has 110 calories, and that’s just for a single. Think back to that night at the bar when you ordered multiple double measures.
Flavored sparkling water
Sparkling water can be a good substitute for sodas if you’re craving that fizzy carbonated taste, but don’t opt for the sugar filled, flavored versions. You’ll find flavored sparkling waters are essentially just sodas but marketed to appear healthy. They often still contain the same amount of sugar!
These types of drinks have obviously high amounts of calories in them – you’re combining spirits with sugar and dairy. Bailey’s for example has around 164 calories, for a tiny portion of 50ml. So, unless you’re diligently measuring out your tipple, avoid having the bottle in the house.
Matcha is a green tea powder that has recently increased in popularity in the form of a latte. The green color makes it appear super healthy and low calorie, but the sweet additions to the powder take away the benefits. A Starbucks matcha latte has 32 grams of sugar for a 16 ounce serving.
Ice cream floats
Root beer or Coca Cola, these creamy drinks are still pretty high in calories! You might think this makes a good alternative to a heavy dessert like chocolate cake, but the scoop of ice cream in restaurants is often way bigger than a single serving size.
Take milk and add loads of sugary additives to it – and there you have chocolate milk. It tastes great, but also basically doubles the calories of regular milk per serving or even more depending on the brand. It can be a pain measuring out teeny portions every time you want a glass, so just don’t buy it.
Drinking pints of this stuff can set you back 100s of calories. A typical pint of cider can range from 200-250 calories depending on the brand, which adds up if you have multiple in the night. Cider also has a high sugar content too giving it that recognisably sweet taste.
The calories can range from 100-150 calories per bottle but the sugar levels are extreme. The leading sports drinks brands can add up to 34 grams of sugar in their bottles, which means about 90% of the total calories are coming from pure added sugar.
It seems like the festive or seasonal drinks just get higher in calories. Mulled wine can average out at 200 calories per glass, and because of the sweeter taste and no bitterness from the alcohol, it makes it easy to keep going back for another glass.
Diet energy drinks
Yes, even the sugar free options can prevent optimum weight loss. Because you’re still having a huge amount of caffeine in one sitting, the body will eventually crash, and this is the time when your appetite could grow even larger. In particular you may start to crave sugar or carbs, in order to get that second energy high.
Typically, this sweet drink can clock around 200-250 calories if bought from your local coffee shop, due to the whole milk, sweeteners or any syrups or additives they use. You can make your own lower calorie option at home using unsweetened almond milk and brewing your own chai blend rather than syrup.
You don’t drink these alone (hopefully!) but they may get added to your coffees daily. The serving size for coffee creamer is a tiny splash. Just that amount can have 10-30 calories, if you measure it out properly. It may not seem like a lot but, if you have many coffees in a day, those extras add up.
Lemonade in itself has enough sugar to give you the jitters but add a flavored syrup to the mix and you’ve doubled it. Restaurant lemonade very rarely has much lemon juice in it so, if you’re ordering a strawberry/lime/cherry lemonade, expect lots of sugar and no real fruit.
Soft drink mix
Kool-Aid is a childhood favorite, but even the predetermined serving packs a lot of calories and sugar. A single serving of powdered drink mix like Kool-Aid can have 100+ calories in and 25 grams of sugar, just per one serving. It’s unlikely you make up a Kool-Aid packet and only have one glass!
Unless you’re buying slim tonic or no added sugar, tonic water can surprisingly add up the calorie content in your drinks. People often think sparkling water, seltzers and tonic water are the same thing, but tonic actually contains sweeteners, unlike plain sparkling water. Your gin and tonic can quickly push you over your daily calories.