Plain Water Versus Flavored Water on a Diet

Trying to lose weight means cutting cut back on the amount of calories consumed through beverages as well as foods. Coffees, sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks can all be high in either calories, fat and/or sugar. Substituting high-calorie beverages with water can aid weight loss efforts and add variety. Flavored water can be used, but it is important to read the nutrition label of any product before adding it to your diet.

Plain water is best when it comes to weight loss. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Weight Loss

For successful weight loss, you need to consume less calories than you burn. When planning daily calorie intake, all foods and beverages must be counted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that a lot of extra calories can come from drinks, and making better beverage choices alone can significantly reduce caloric consumption. When choosing a beverage, read the nutrition label to see how many calories are in a serving and how many serving sizes the can, cup or bottle contains.

Benefits

Your body needs at least six to eight glasses of water each day to function properly. When cutting calories, water is a healthier choice because it is calorie, fat, caffeine and sugar free. Drinking plain water can also help the body feel full and stay properly hydrated. This is important because dehydration can be mistaken for hunger, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Considerations

Water that is flavored with sweeteners such as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or honey will contain calories, so it is best to look for waters flavored with calorie-free artificial sweeteners. However, even artificially-flavored drinks may eventually contribute to weight gain. They can make the body crave more sugar, which may lead to unhealthy eating, reports the Harvard Medical School. Artificially sweetened drinks do not quench thirst or fill the body up like water does, so they should only be consumed as an occasional treat.

Solution

If it is hard to drink just plain water, flavor it naturally with fruits and vegetables. Add a splash of lemon or cranberry juice to plain water or toss in a few slices of cucumber for a refreshing drink. Zero calorie sparkling waters can also add variety to your diet. If you need something sweet, opt instead for a fresh piece of fruit, which can be a nutritious and low calorie substitute for a sweetened drink.

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