Rethink Your Drink


Beverages contain calories too!

Drinking all of your daily calories away? You aren’t the only one. Most people don’t think their beverages are the reason behind their weight gain – but most of the time, they are a huge contributor.

When you food journal, are you paying attention and writing down the liquids you drink just as you are the solids? A coffee at breakfast, iced tea at lunch and milk at dinner adds up, fast. Wine for happy hour, diet coke for a pick-me-up, it all counts. Plus, most people are missing out on the calorie-free fluid – water!

So let’s figure out what we should drink for fluids and then ways to change our pound producing drinks to something that will work in our favor.

Step One: Fluid Recommendations

So how many fluids should you be drinking? The easiest way to calculate estimated fluid requirements is by taking your weight (in Kilograms – divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kg) and then multiply it by the 25-30 ml range.

Example: 140#/2.2 = 63.6 kg x 25-30 mL/day  = 1590-1,908 mL of fluids per day, which equals out to about 7-8 8-ounce cups a day.

Note: This is a standard range. If you have CHF or Renal issues, your provider may have you on a fluid restriction and this range will not work for you. Other issues like wound healing or fever will require higher fluid intake amount.

Step 2: Figure out what you are drinking and what kind of calories they have

Go through your daily routine and write down what you are drinking.

6:30 AM2 8 ounce cups of coffee + 2 Tbsp non-fat vanilla creamer2 + 50
8:00 - 11:00 AM12 ounces of water0
12:00 PM16 ounce jar of Lemon Tea Snapple
1:00 - 4:00 PM16 ounces of water0
6:00 PM8 ounces of low fat milk102
8:00 PM5 ounces of red wine125

Look how many calories we are drinking away with this example!!

429! That’s a lot to come just from drinks. This doesn’t even include sugars (which can lead to a sugar addiction, and fat)

It’s time to get educated on what you are drinking so you can rethink your drink.


Best fluid on earth? WATER.

Like you didn’t already know I was going to say that.

Just a few of the amazing benefits of drinking water:

  • hydration
  • promotes weight management
  • zero calories
  • GI regulation
  • increases energy
  • improves complexion
  • prevents injury

Step 3: Make the Change

  • Get a water bottle that measures your intake so you know exactly how much you are drinking (The one I have)
  • Don’t like pure water? Check out these fruit infuser water bottles. You stick fruit (think lemons, berries) to add natural flavor to your water (the one I have)
  • Check your food labels for the serving size. Sometimes a 20-ounce bottle is really 2.5 servings and the food label will not equate to you drinking then entire thing.
  • Do as my 4-year-old says and drink water until your urine is clear. I have to admit, my cross country coach drilled this into our heads in high school. She was very close to actually printing shirts that said “urine clear?” on them. I wish I was joking.
  • Go all natural with your coffee and teas.They are essentially calorie free and they are rich in antioxidants. But the minute cream, sugar, whipped cream, and flavorings are added, your healthy tea or coffee can turn into a high fat/calorie beverage. Also, opt for a small latte instead of the huge one.
  • If you feel that caffeine is something you need to “wake you up” or “energize you”, try this: A cup of hot water with lemon in it. Don’t hate, just try it.
  • Say no to juice. As an RDN, I do not recommend juice to anyone. Did you know the actual recommendation is 4 ounces? That’s not a lot, and there is a reason for that. Juice comes from fruit (or vegetables), so most people think it’s a great choice. But when you juice a fruit, you are totally missing out on the great things that fruit has to offer. You are much better off eating the actual apple or orange than drinking the juice – at least then you are getting some fiber! Yes, this even goes for 100% fruit juice.
  • Sports drinks – they are not needed by anyone except endurance athletes who are exercising for more than 1 hour straight and need to replace electrolytes. Most are high in calories or contain sugar substitutes that no one needs.

What about Milk?

Good question. For kids, milk is a must for growth and development. But what about adults? For adults, it is recommended to drink 1-2 glasses of nonfat or low-fat milk and even less if you consume your calcium from other sources.

Fortified soy milk is a great non-dairy alternative to cows milk in terms of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Learn more about the different types of milk here.


Here is more information about caloric intakes when it comes to alcohol. This is also a slippery slope for some – we don’t tend to think about those after work beers and their role in weight gain.

Non-Calorie Sweetened Beverages

They are non-calorie, so they are healthy, right? Wrong. It’s time to stop drinking these daily and start thinking of them as a treat. Who here has struggled with a diet coke addiction? I’m totally guilty. These drinks are “healthier” due to the fact that you aren’t drinking pure sugar and are calorie free, however sugar substitutes are not ideal for weight loss as they leave you craving for more. and more. and more.

Know you added sugars and sweeteners. Check out the food label on your beverage and check the ingredients. Look for works like:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

There is a natural, non-calorie sweetener out there that I would recommend if you need it. It is called stevia and has something like 150x the sweetening ability as sugar so a little bit goes a long way.

Start Rethinking your Drink – NOW!

No time like the present 🙂 Your goals should read as this:

Drink at least 48 ounces of pure water prior to drinking any kind of juice, sweetened drink, etc.

Aim for at least 64 ounces of water a day – more if you are exercising and sweating a lot (see this post for sweat rate calculations)

You can do it!