We’re sure you remember these words from nutrition classes at the Pritikin Longevity Center: “Steer clear of high calorie drinks especially if you’re trying to lose weight.” That’s because the calories you drink are less satiating than the calories you chew, so after a glass of orange juice, for instance, you’re more likely to consume more food (and more calories) than if you’d eaten a whole orange.
High Calorie Drinks
Many Americans have in fact cut back on sugar-rich, carbohydrate-rich beverages such as soft drinks and juices, but recent research confirms that any calorie-containing beverage, whether high in fat calories, high in carb calories, or high in protein calories, is bad news for your waistline.
Reporting in the online edition of the International Journal of Obesity, Purdue University scientist Richard Mattes and colleagues directed 120 men and women (half were normal weight and half were obese) in a three-day study.* The researchers tracked every calorie the subjects consumed for all three days and asked them, hour by hour, about their feelings of hunger and fullness.
On the first day, all 120 subjects ate a lunch of chicken sandwiches and water (the control lunch).
On days two and three, the 120 men and women were divided into three groups of 40 each, and instead of water, a calorie-containing liquid or solid food accompanied the sandwiches.
The first group drank a high-protein drink (milk) or ate a high-protein food (cheese). In the second group of 40, it was either a high-fat drink (coconut milk) or high-fat food (coconut meat). The third group drank a high-carb beverage (watermelon juice) or ate high-carb watermelon.
The 120 men and women were then told to eat as much as they wanted for the rest of the day.
The results: All three groups consumed the most total calories on days when the lunch meal included calorie-rich liquids. “Total daily energy [calorie] intake was significantly higher by 12.4, 19, and 15% on days the beverage forms of the high-carbohydrate, -fat, and –protein foods were ingested, respectively,” reported Dr. Mattes and colleagues.
Liquids less satisfying
Interestingly, noted the scientists, the milk, watermelon juice, and coconut milk drinkers reported feeling just as full as the solid food eaters right after lunch. But they didn’t stay full. By day’s end, the drinkers had consumed more calories overall.
Bottom Line: To keep the calories you consume from showing up on your bathroom scale, steer clear of all calorie-containing beverages, and fill your day – and your stomach – with big satisfying portions of low-calorie-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. They’ll prevent hunger from taking over your life and resolve. Plus, they’re the healthiest foods on earth.