You’ve probably heard it all before –
Don’t drink your calories!
What does that mean? Stay away from sugary drinks. They pack on the pounds like you'd never believe. You’re about to believe it though because you’re about to learn exactly how much sugar it takes to gain a pound and how much sugar is in your favorite drinks, which is contributing to weight gain.
Let’s start with this information from Lisa Nelson, RD, LN:
3,500 Calories = 1 lb of fat
1 g of Sugar = 4 calories
875 g of Sugar = 1 lb of fat
If we take this information and look at our favorite sugary drinks it’s astounding how easily it is to consume empty calories.
Consider This . . .
A can of Coca Cola has 39 g of sugar. While each gram of sugar equals 4 calories, the nutrition label on the can says it has 140 calories (they might use low calorie sugar). If you drink one can of Coke per day for a month, you would consume 4,200 empty calories and gain more than a pound of fat.
Now, if you drink two cans of Coke everyday for a month, you’d double that number to 8,400 calories and you would gain almost 2.5 lbs in two months time.
If you kept up the two cans of Coke everyday for a year, you'd consume 50,400 empty calories in a year and gain up to 14.5 lbs.
That’s just drinking a can of Coca Cola, which is 12 fl oz. If you drink a bottle, which is 20 fl oz, you’re looking at 65 g of sugar and 240 calories for each bottle. If you drink one of those bottles each day for a month, you're looking at 7,200 calories in a month and up to an extra 2 lbs of fat.
Then there’s Mountain Dew, which is notorious for having more sugar than other sodas. It has 77 g of sugar and 290 calories in a 20-fl oz bottle. Eleven bottles of Mountain Dew correlates to about 1 lb of pure, sugar-based fat.
Energy Drinks, Teas and Juices
If you think energy drinks are better for you than soda, think again. Rockstar has a whopping 62 grams of sugar in each 16 ounce can with 248 calories to boot. Red Bull has 27 grams of sugar in only 8.3 ounces with 108 calories.
Don’t be fooled with Vitamin Water either. The B-Relaxed Jackfruit and Guava Flavor variety has 13 grams of sugar with 50 calories in 8 ounces. The 20-ounce bottle has 33 grams with 125 calories.
Sobe Mango Melon has 29 grams with 120 calories in 8 ounces and 70 grams of sugar with 280 calories in 20 ounces. Yes, that’s more than soda! So let’s take a minute for this one. With Sobe, many people think they are doing something good for themselves by drinking juice. However, if you were to drink one of these every day for a month, you would consume 8,400 empty calories! Just 13 bottles of Sobe equals one pound of pure fat.
Are you a fan of McDonald’s Sweet Tea? Lots of people opt for it instead of the soda because they think it's the healthier choice. It's not. Mickey D's Sweet Tea has 69 grams of sugar and 280 calories in every large cup. In 13 trips to the Golden Arches you could potentially gain up to a pound of fat just from the drinks alone.
Even when you are drinking juice, remember, moderation is key. It’s still sugary and you don’t need a lot to get the nutritional value from it. Even Minute Maid Orange Juice has 25 grams of sugar with 96 calories coming from the sugar.
Apple juice is a good choice as well with 26 grams of sugar and 104 calories in 8 ounces.
The Value of Moderation and Exercise
As you can see, the calories can add up quickly. Taking the amount of calories from a sugary drink and multiplying it by the number of days you drink it gives you the amount of calories you'll consume. Dividing those calories by 3,500 gives you the number of pounds you can expect to gain from them.
However, that’s if you don’t move at all. Any exercise you do burns calories, which would subtract from that potential weight gain.
What does this mean? If you decrease the amount of sugary drinks you consume and add exercise to your lifestyle. You can prevent weight gain and promote weight loss. It’s all about moderation and exercise when it comes to calorie consumption.