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•Liquid Dieting


About half of the excess calories we consume come from liquids. Trying to cut back?
These are your five best to worst choices.

1) Water -- it hydrates better than anything; 2) unsweetened tea or coffee; 3)
nonfat/low-fat soymilk or cow's milk -- they're fairly low-cal and provide some great
nutrients; 4) no-cal beverages (think Crystal Light), then nutritionally rich juices (like
orange juice -- but stick to one a day); 5) The worst? The usual suspects -- sugary
drinks (sodas, punches) with no nutritional value. What about slushies, smoothies,
and shakes? Consider them a meal.

On average, Americans consume 150 to 300 more calories per day than they did 20
years ago, with half coming from sugary beverages. So if you're trying to count
calories and slim down, be mindful of what you drink.

The big problem with sweet liquids is that they don't fill you up the way solid food
does. You can drink a couple cans of sweetened soda, to the tune of 150 calories a
pop, but they won't curb your appetite. You'll be hungry for your next meal and
probably won't eat less to compensate for the 300 extra cola calories you downed.
And if the sodas were sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) -- the latest
bad boy on nutrition labels -- not only will they fail to fill you up, but also they'll make
you hungrier than you were before.

Drinks made with sugar substitutes aren't a magical elixir, either. According to
research, those beverages also may increase your appetite, particularly for sweet
things, leading you to overeat later.

H20, on the other hand, may actually do the opposite -- a glass before meals can
help keep you from overeating. So grab yourself a tall drink of water.
Originally published on 11/8/2006.
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