Sunday, July 26, 2009


Liquid Calories

By now, most ChrisFit Blog readers should know the importance of eating the right foods at the right times and in the right amounts, but, have you stopped to consider the effects of what you drink? For many people, the consumption of the wrong liquids can be a major hindrance to their fitness and weight goals. We have discussed before the importance of proper hydration in the human body, but let's face it, most of us cannot or will not drink only water for our hydration needs - we crave flavor sometimes! The problem is, many beverages on the market can really do a lot of damage to your nutrition plan. Let's take a look at some common problematic drinks:
-Gatorade - though marketed as a fitness product, Gatorade and other sports drinks are loaded with simple sugars, and a ton of sodium. A 12 oz. sports drink can contain up to or above 87g. of carbohydrates, including 42 g. of sugar! While these simple carbs and electrolytes are beneficial to an athlete competing in a grueling game, match, race, etc..., for the average exerciser looking to lose some bodyfat, those calories are just going to add up to more time on a treadmill, or less progress, or both.
-Wine - One of the biggest culprits in holding people back from achieving their goals is wine and other alcoholic beverages. A single glass of red wine (6 oz.) contains about 150 calories from alcohol and simple carbs. An average 12 oz. can of beer is around 145 calories. Another detriment to alcohol consumption is that it dehydrates muscle tissue - depriving your hard-earned muscles the nutrients needed to recover from a tough workout.
-Concentrated Fruit Juices - the juice cocktails such as Orange Juice, various Grape, Cranberry, and Pomegranate blends and Fruit Punch found in many soft-drink aisles are also full of added sugar. While the natural juices themselves are usually high in natural fructose, this is made up for to some extent by their naturally-occurring vitamin contents. However, many bottled drinks are actually a very low percentage of actual fruit juice, and are instead flavored with all sorts of flavor-enhancers and artificial sweeteners that are not readily digested by the human body, and have little to no nutritional value.
-Sugar-free drink mixes - Products such as Crystal Light and the various off-brands of sugar-free drink mix powders are a great alternative to high-calorie soft drinks such as the juice cocktails listed above. However, the artificial sweeteners found in them (aspartame to name one), are not easily digested in our stomachs and so can trigger the body to think that it is hungry, when in fact, it is just working harder to digest these chemical sweeteners. So, although these drinks can provide a splash of low-calorie flavor to your water intake, be mindful of the fact that some people will feel more hungry after drinking them, possibly leading to overeating.
-Soda - one of the worst products for your nutrition plan is soda. To be blunt, soda has no nutritional value of any kind, is full of high-fructose corn syrup, causes bloating, and should basically be avoided altogether. An occasional treat at most, Soda should be cut out of any serious plan to alter your physique for the better. This includes diet pop, which brings with it the same hunger-inducing effects of the afore-mentioned sugar-free mixes, and the bloat of regular pop.

So, what can you drink? While water is obviously your best bet, Skim Milk can provide a good supply of vitamins and some protein, V8 juice packs a lot of healthy vitamins from actual vegetables, and brewed tea (no sugar, please!) provides not only a healthy supply of antioxidants and a bit of caffeine to boost you through a long day.

In conclusion, be mindful not only of what you are eating, but think about the impact of your beverage choices as well! Read labels, use flavored drinks sparingly, and don't forget to include the nutritional value of your beverages into your calorie count for the day.

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