When you are trying to lose weight, your food choices are vital to your success. The difference between eating a skinless grilled chicken breast and a deep-fried version at Kentucky Fried Chicken, for instance, is about 200 calories. But your beverage choices are also important in helping -- or hurting -- your dietary goals. While the drawbacks of sugary soft drinks and alcohol as diet drinks are obvious, other choices require examination.
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Water, which contains zero calories, is a good choice. It hydrates your body, creates a feeling of fullness and may boost metabolism.The National Institutes of Health recommend you drink six glasses of water a day regardless of your weight goals. Club soda, because of its carbonation, can increase this sense of fullness and is also calorie-free. A study published in the September 2006 issue of the "Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism" links drinking water with a 30-percent boost in metabolism.
Cofee and Tea
Tea and coffee contain virtually no calories unless you add ingredients to them. A cup of coffee with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cream contains about 45 calories. And a Starbucks white chocolate mocha packs 400 calories in a 16-ounce cup. Most teas and coffees contain caffeine, which can stimulate your metabolism and suppress your appetite. Caffeine may be problematic for pregnant women and people with anxiety disorders.
In addition to caffeine, green tea boasts two other fat-fighting properties: catechins and antioxidants. In three recent studies, green tea -- including decaffeinated versions -- was linked to weight loss. A Rutgers University study found that mice fed green tea did not become obese when their diet included green tea. Researchers from the Center for Clinical studies found that obese men who drank green tea burned fat more quickly than those who did not. A study reported by "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" also found that people who drank a bottle of green tea for 3 months lost more body fat than people who drank the same amount of black tea.
Milk can also be part of a weight-loss program. Skim milk contains 83 calories per 8-ounce glass, but also provides 8 grams of protein and nearly 300 milligrams of calcium. Whole cow’s milk contains almost twice as many calories as does milk from sheep and goats. Soy milk contains 100 calories per cup. Many sources of protein, including meat and cheese, are high in fat, but skim milk is virtually fat-free.
Fruit juice and Alcohol
Fruit juices provide vitamins and antioxidants, but they contain nearly as many calories as soda -- about 150 in an 8-oz. glass. Alcoholic beverages, including those that contain fruit juice, provide mostly empty calories. Other drinks to avoid if you’re counting calories include beer, wine and mixed drinks. They are high in mostly empty calories and also cause dehydration.