Consuming Beverages with Empty Calories
Many of the foods and beverages Americans consume are full of empty calories. Empty calories do not satisfy hunger or add any vitamins, minerals, and fiber of nutritional value. They are found in sugar-sweetened beverages, juices, fast foods, processed foods, and many snack foods. These empty calories are adding to the presence of obesity in America, which is now present in nearly 28% of all adults and children.
Ingesting empty calories can add up quickly and increase the daily calorie count one consumes. These calories add thousands of unnecessary calories daily. It takes 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound, and by adding 1 or 2 products with empty calories each day, excess weight is continually being added. For example, the average 20 ounce soda is 250 calories and contains 15 teaspoons of sugar. It provides no nutritional benefits.
Portion size is very important when selecting what to drink. By reading the labels of what is present in the drink and recognizing the serving size of each beverage, one can easily begin to control their consumption of empty calories. In many fast food and sit-down restaurants, they offer a supersize upgrade on beverages for only a small fee. Although this does not cost much financially, it does cost nutritionally by adding unneeded calories. People believe they are getting more for their money, but instead, these empty calories will just add unnecessary pounds.
People often stop by Dunkin Donuts and they may order a Large Frozen Carmel Coffee Coolatta with cream as a pick-me-up during the day. This drink actually has 990 calories. Also, Starbucks’ Grande White Hot Chocolate with whipped cream is 520 calories. These are absurdly high numbers, and the beverages can be replaced by unsweetened or diet iced teas. Burger King’s 20 ounce Strawberry Banana Smoothie is 410 calories. People may choose this item because the name of it sounds healthy, when in reality, it would be better to eat a whole fruit to eliminate the excess calories and sugar found in smoothies and fruit juices. This sugar content in fruit juices is commonly overlooked. It does not provide any fiber, vitamins, or minerals which are found in whole fruit.
Alternatives can be taken to drastically cut down on the calories and sugar content ingested from beverages. Order sugar-free flavored water, unsweetened beverages, and diet iced teas, instead of sweetened teas, coffees, lattes, and juices. Making a simple switch in which beverages to consume can help Americans decrease the excess weight they are gaining, limit empty caloric intake, and lower the rates of obesity in America.