Everyone knows that losing weight means making changes in the way we eat and our level of activity. Eating less + moving more = losing weight. But we also need to hydrate. Many times, calories from beverages seem to escape our attention. A glass of wine here, a soda there, and a sweet tea for good measure… we consume calories mindlessly. Before you know it, you’ve drunk way more calories than intended and in turn have blown through your allotment for the day.
So, what kind of beverage choices can you make that taste great and allow you to stay on track? Well, water of course! It’s the obvious choice, right? But let’s be honest – for some, water can be a bit boring. And when you are on a weight loss plan, getting bored with choices can lead you to a rut. Strictly sticking with water may be hard to sustain, making weight loss even more difficult.
The secret to long term success in weight management is the ability to marry a healthy diet with your favorite personal food preferences. Luckily we have products available, like stevia, that can help you find or create beverages that you enjoy while cutting calories.
There has been a lot of controversy about the impact of drinking diet beverages and weight loss. You may have seen news segments and articles on the internet claiming that diet drinks can cause you to crave sweets and worse – gain weight! However, you can’t always believe what you read and headlines can often be misleading. Frequently, these articles with eye-catching titles are more about internet “click bait” and less about the real story.
Click bait aside, the truth is that there is a significant amount of research supporting that diet drinks are in fact a tool in losing weight. One recent study published in the June 2014 issue of the Obesity, looked to assess the impact of diet beverages on weight loss. The 12-week clinical trial directly compared the effects of drinking diet drinks to drinking water alone while on a calorie controlled diet. Low and behold, at the conclusion of the study, not only did both groups lose weight – but the diet drinkers actually lost more! The diet drinkers lost an average of 13 pounds, while the water drinking group lost 9 pounds.
James O. Hill, Ph.D., executive director of the University of Colorado Anchutz Health and Wellness Center, and co-author of the study has commented that not only did the diet beverage drinkers lose more weight, but they also reported being significantly less hungry. So, if you have been struggling to increase your water intake and reduce your liquid calories; replacing caloric beverages with diet drinks can be a safe and effective way to help you bridge the gap and reduce calories to promote weight loss.
Here are some suggestions for using stevia to naturally sweeten your beverages.
- Try adding a few drops of lemon stevia to a glass of sparkling water and drop in a few frozen raspberries to keep it cold. You will have a pretty and refreshing drink for the same amount of calories in a regular glass of water.
- Sweet and Soothing. Do you crave something sweet after dinner? Combine a cup of skim milk with one tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder and add a drop of vanilla stevia to taste. This is an excellent replacement of a high calorie dessert at only 90 calories, and milk provides a great source of calcium and protein.
- Green Tea. Many of us look to soda or sugary coffee drinks to get through the midday slump. When that “3 p.m. feeling” comes on, try tea for a nutritious and healthy alternative. Try brewing a cup of jasmine green tea and adding a packet of stevia. This can give you the boost you need and save you calories!
Carolyn Reynaud, MS, RD, LD is a licensed registered dietitian and a paid contributor to SteviaBenefits.org. She received her BS in nutrition from Michigan State University and her Masters and Certificate in Public Health from Georgia State University. She has experience working in several avenues of health care including corporate wellness, clinical disease management, research, and health promotion. She has been working as a health coach specialist for close to 6 years, where she counsels patients on preventative healthcare and helps them meet their health goals. Follow her on Twitter @ReynaudCari.