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Beverage Calories

Do any of you save your calories for eating rather than drinking? Some times I'll have a beer (mostly in summer) or wine with my meal, but drink mostly unsweetened iced tea while dining out or water at home. An occasional smoothie in the morning for breakfast doesn't count because I don't usually have anything else with it, but adding several hundred calories to my meal or between meals seems like a waste to me. Am I the only weirdo on this?

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  1. There are only 50 calories in 3 teaspoons of sugar for an iced tea, and an 8 oz. glass of orange juice has only 100 calories. I don't find those numbers especially worrisome.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RelishPDX

      that's my excuse for using sugar in my coffee (3 teas. would be 3 cups of coffee for me), but sweet tea is another matter. i don't know if it's a Southern thing or not, but if were drinking sweet tea, I would be drinking 30-40 oz of it. This would run 300-400 calories. McDonalds gives the calorie count for a large (32 oz) as 280. I would probably get a refill. (or 6. restaurants in the south don't let you run out of tea!) it was when I learned these numbers, way back in my 20s, that I gave up sweet tea except for special occasions. I can't go down that road.

    2. I prefer natural tea to sweetened tea as well, so the calories aren't a problem there. If I had a glass of unsweetened fruit juice it also won't bother me. I don't drink any soft drinks and limit my beer consumption because of the calories. I am in Japan now so its most common to have tea with most meals anyways, has made it much easier on me.

      1. I don't drink sodas at home, and often get water with my meals to save on the calories. But I save my liquid calories for wine and cocktails, not for food. I don't count calories anyway, I just generally know when I need to cut back.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ocshooter

          +1. And don't EVEN put any sugar in my tea.
          I only drink fruit juices if it has alcohol added to it. Hey- you have to start somewhere, I prefer mydrinks without sugar, Iced tea, green or black, no sugar, or water. I'm surprised at the number of people who think that anything you drink for refreshment should be sweet.

          1. re: EWSflash

            Drives me crazy that people can't be content with water. Does tens to bite menin te but with unexpected company because we only have water, skim milk, "fancy" beer, wine, coffee, teabags and hard liquor on hand regularly.

        2. Definitely, in terms of non-alcoholic beverages. Fortunately I prefer unsweetened iced tea, and I don't like regular soda. I almost never drink juice, or smoothies, because I'd rather eat whole fruit. And I drink A LOT of water. I'm not a big person, so an extra 500 - 600 calories a day from beverages is significant. My one exception is my daily chai latte, but I do find the milk in that helps keep me full through the morning. Now wine with dinner is a different story . . .

          1. I saw that advice on a loss segment of some cable show and it makes perfect sense. The corollary to don't drink your calories, is don't drink your money, although not applicable to oenophiles. I'm very happy with water (or milk with dessert).

            1. This is something I have to watch, as I live in a hot climate where you need to drink a lot in summer to keep hydrated. A can of coke is about 150 kcal, most juices are a similar amount, even the pure fruit ones. Milk and sweetened iced coffees are in the same range, higher for some iced coffees. Smoothies and other fancy drinks can be even higher.

              So a couple of sweet iced drinks a day is about 300 kcal, or about 15% of my recommended daily caloric intake. That adds up. And in summer, I probably drink somewhere between a litre and a litre and a half of beverages.

              I strongly dislike the taste of artificial sweeteners, and I don't want to drink more than about 3 caffeinated drinks a day, and decaf coffee is not really available where I live. I also have a weird quirk where I like my beverages either unsweetened or very sweet, but don't like slightly sweet.

              So I ration my sweet drinks (my biggest weakness is the green tea passion fruit iced tea at the stand near work), drink as good beer as I can get, and otherwise drink unsweetened iced tea and coffee, cold barley tea, and massive amounts of soda water.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                Why not choose plain water if hydration is the issue?

                1. re: wyogal

                  It gets boring after a while. Besides, I'm already boiling and Brita filtering all my drinking water (the tap water is only marginally safe), I might as well finish up by carbonating it. I love my Soda Stream. :-)

              2. I drink water, seltzer and skim milk almost exclusively. When dining out will occasionally get one cocktail and/or split a bottle of wine, maybe once or twice a month. I'd rather eat my calories.

                1. I don't usually "drink my calories". If plan to have a couple of alcoholic drinks then I adjust my day accordingly.

                  1. I mostly drink water with my meals, both at home and at restaurants. Not really because I'm cheap or trying to save calories, mostly because I legitimately love water, especially ice water. Not sparkling water, not water with lemon, I just love plain water.

                    I will admit to enjoying a cocktail at restaurants fairly often as well though, which pretty much totally torpedoes any benefit that I'm getting from swapping water for soda, juice or sweet tea (which I don't like anyway.)

                    1. I drink water most of the time. I have a weakness for ice cold milk, but water is my go-to beverage. I like it right out of the tap, cold. We are fortunate to have good tap water here.

                      1. with the exception of alcohol, i save my calories for eating rather than drinking. i would so much rather have an orange, rather than orange juice - plus it's better for you!

                        however, i do realize that alcohol has a lot of calories but i certainly enjoy the indulgence. i typically try to have a lighter dinner if i do plan on drinking, but i don't let myself feel guilty, it's typically only twice a week!

                        1. With the exception of the milk in my coffee (just a couple tablespoons over the course of 2-3 cups of coffee,) and some homemade kefir daily (usually both dairy and water kefir,) I prefer to eat my calories. Sometimes kefir is breakfast if I make a smoothie with it.

                          Like Blush, I adust accordingly (or log extra walking/treadmill time) if I plan on indulging.

                          1. Beverages I drink
                            Crystal Lite
                            Iced Tea w/sweetener
                            Black Coffee
                            Ice Water
                            Diet Coke

                            That's it. I don't drink alcohol, and I don't even think I've ever had a smoothie of any type. I am very aware of calories in liquids. I don't drink fruit juices as they are sugar bombs. Much much better to eat the fruit and get the fiber. I like tomato juice watered down and over ice.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: laliz

                              I live on Crystal Light but some docs and nuitritionists say water is better. Is true? Is CL bad for you? Is there sugar hidden in it?

                              1. re: bohearn

                                There's no sugar in Crystal Light. Some people are concerned that it contains (non-caloric) artificial sweeteners (aspartame).

                              2. re: laliz

                                If you drink fruit juice with a meal, the sugar bomb effect is far less of a problem than drinking it on an empty stomach. Juicing fruit also has the benefit of being able to intake far more nutrients than by just eating the same fruit (you can drink much more of it). 100 calories in an 8 oz. glass also doesn't quite qualify for the sugar bomb category in my book, as other foods and drinks may. YMMV.

                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                  100 calories in 8 oz. not a sugar bomb? Consider that coke has about 90 calories per 8 oz. (I just checked a bottle). Sure you are getting some nutrients, but not as much as you think. You get far more by eating the fruit, including necessary fiber.

                                  1. re: cantkick

                                    So you're saying that when I drink the juice from 5 or 6 tangelos, you're getting more nutrition by eating just one whole? I find that really hard to believe.

                                    1. re: RelishPDX

                                      If you are not including the pulp, then yes, that is what I'm saying.

                                      1. re: cantkick

                                        The pulp has soluble and insoluble fiber, a lot of it indigestible, even so, I include a fair amount of it in the final product that I drink. I'd like to see your numbers on the nutrition value of the juice from a half dozen citrus vs. the nutrition from one single whole fruit. From the numbers I've looked at, you'll be the one up for a surprise.

                                        1. re: RelishPDX

                                          With 6 oranges you get about the same calcium and protein, less than half the fiber, and five times the sugar, carbs and calories of one orange. The only nutrient you improve on is potassium, since squeezed and whole have the same amount.

                                          But it only takes about 3 oranges to make one cup (for the numbers quoted in my source).

                                          Bottom like is if you want to juice a ton of oranges, go ahead. But don't claim it is a nutrient boost. Unless you are severely K-deficient, in which case broccoli or bananas are better, the whole fruit is better.

                                          1. re: cantkick

                                            "The only nutrient you improve on is potassium" What about vitamin C, among others?

                                            I kinda doubt Relish is looking for protein and calcium in orange juice.

                                            1. re: danna

                                              Surprisingly, no. 8 oz of fresh squeezed has about 126 mg. A typical orange has around 70. I don't know why it's that way.

                                              Relish stated there were a lot more nutrients despite the calories, which she mistakenly said was not a sugar bomb. She was wrong.

                                              1. re: cantkick

                                                Surprisingly, no. 8 oz of fresh squeezed has about 126 mg. A typical orange has around 70. I don't know why it's that way.
                                                because you need between 2 and 3 medium-sized oranges to collect 8 oz of juice. you lose some of the nutrients when you remove the pulp, but you obviously get a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals from the juice of multiple fruits than you do from just one.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  a greater concentration or just more in general because it takes more oranges? I don't think juicing "concentrates" the nutrients, just puts in a form that is easier to consume. Also present is the rest of it: sugar.

                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                    more in general because you're getting the contents of more oranges, but technically it's greater concentration by weight - 8 oz juice provide more Vitamin C than 8 oz whole fruit.

                                                    BTW, to be clear, i'm NOT a proponent of juicing. i was just trying to explain that one point to cantkick.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      But, 8 oz juice is not the same as 8 oz whole fruit. I wouldn't say it concentrates the nutrients, it just gets the peel and other fiber out of the way. The juice from the fruit is the same. Just doesn't have the fiber (or as much), it doesn't "concentrate" the nutrients in the juice.
                                                      Yes, more nutrients in the resulting weight, but not "concentrated" because the other stuff is removed.
                                                      I look at is a a delivery concept, not as a volume comparison. Easier to drink, and easier to consume more calories, too. Yep, sugar bomb.

                                                      1. re: wyogal

                                                        @wyogal, for the purposes of chemistry, the definition of "concentrated" is 'the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture.' so indeed, the juice is a more "concentrated" source of Vitamin C than the whole fruit is.

                                                        think of it this way - you need to consume less of it to obtain an equivalent dose of the *specific* nutrient in question.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I guess I am thinking that the "mixture" is the juice to begin with. The juice doesn't change its concentration, it is just rendered more easily available by the removal of the peel and fiber. I am not counting the peel, pith, or fiber as part of the nutrients.
                                                          The juice of one orange will be equal to the juice of one orange. To think that the juice of 6 oranges equals one orange is silly. Of course, 8oz of just the juice compared to an 8 oz whole orange is, well, oranges and apples. Juicing doesn't "concentrate" the nutrients in the juice. It just removes the other stuff, thereby making it easier to drink more of the juice. That's all.

                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                            i figured. it's just that if you're comparing eating an orange to drinking juice, you have to ingest more whole fruit by volume to get the same amount Vitamin C (for example) into your system. that's precisely WHY most people who juice are doing it - remove the pulp, peel/pith and fiber, get more "nutrients" per calorie/mL/oz. i actually happen not to agree with or support the practice, but that's the standard justification for it.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              yes, support the cost of the juicer!

                                                    2. re: wyogal

                                                      Yes, it would concentrate it. A given volume of juice will have more vitamines that the same volume of whole fruit, because you're removing a lot of the fibre. So for a similar serving size (measured by weight, for example), juice will have both more sugar and more vitamines than whole fruit.

                                                      Even well squeezed, fresh squeezed, unstrained orange juice leaves some of the pulp behind, although it's a totally different food than the stuff you buy in the store (we've got an orange guy at the corner, making and selling fresh squeezed juice out of a truck).

                                                      Juices in general have a very similar calorie content to sodas and other sweetened beverages. So per serving, 100% fruit juice is just as much as sugar bomb as coke is.

                                                  2. re: cantkick

                                                    cantikick, I was refering to the post above in which Relish asks: "So you're saying that when I drink the juice from 5 or 6 tangelos, you're getting more nutrition by eating just one whole?" and you agree that it's true. It's NOT true. you are getting more FIBER in a whole one that 5-6 juiced (probably) , but obviously you are getting fewer vitamins.

                                                    Everyone is not the same. Personally, I think my diet would benefit more from the whole fruit than the juice. However, consider a person who already gets plenty of fiber in their diet, and has no weight control issues, and no problems metabolizing sugar. That person should be able to drink fresh juice to their heart's content.

                                                    1. re: danna

                                                      Rather than just spouting phrases, try doing some research. There are plenty of legitimate sites that give actual facts. There are a lot of measurements that are surprising if you don't truly understand what happens. I have not written anything that I cannot back up with actual research results and published laboratory measurements, and not pseudo-science.

                                                      1. re: cantkick

                                                        I'm curious what "phrases" you object to. But to put it to you simply, based a a quick review of the USDA nutrient database, i'm willing to give you a reduction in vitamins & minerals of as much as 40% when all pulp is removed. (which I would not expect to happen w/ fresh juicing, but anyway) So 5 oranges * 60% of their nutritional value when juiced = 3 oranges, which > 1 orange.

                                                        I'm not interested in general anti-juice orthodoxy, but if you can show me where my math is wrong, I'd be happy to take heed.

                                  2. I drink black decaf coffee in the a.m. and unsweetened mix of decaf green tea and African Nectar (a rooibus) during the day, but I definitely have wine with dinner. I drink water during the day as well - have a 24 oz. bottle in front of me now.

                                    1. I try to go calorie-less in my drinks about 95% of the time. I drink tons of water, tons of Vitamin Water Zero (nothing with artificial sweeteners), black coffee, and unsweetened tea. That way, I don't feel guilty when I indulge in an alcoholic drink or a smoothie every now and then.

                                      Anyway, that was the long answer. Short answer to your question: no, you're not the only weirdo.

                                      1. I do this.

                                        I very rarely drink any non-alcoholic beverages that have calories. I save my calories for food and alcohol.

                                        Excluding alcoholic beverages, I drink water, diet coke, black coffee and unsweetened tea, or some combination thereof, everyday. I can't remember the last non-alcoholic beverage I consumed that contained calories.