Trap #7: A Big Gulp Habit
In the U.S., we sip an average of 19 ounces of soda a day per person. Unless it's diet soda, that adds up to about 240 empty calories daily -- or 25 pounds a year. It's easy to guzzle more than you think. With today's supersize cups, even a small is large, says Ann Coulston, RD, a nutrition consultant with Stanford University Medical Center. Even more popular than soda are fancy bottled juices with flavors such as kiwi-mango, but like soda they're mostly sugar. The liquid sugar slides down effortlessly, loading us up but not filling us. In fact, a study at Purdue University found that people who added 450 calories to their diet each day either in soda or in jelly beans gained weight only on the soda. The soda drinkers didn't register the liquid calories and eat less at later meals, as those who ate the solid sweets did. A serious frappuccino habit -- even the small sizes average 300 calories (sans whipped cream!) -- could also be your diet downfall.
Food fix: The best thing you can do is drink fat-free milk. A skim latte is fine, too. Studies show that milk can help keep your weight in check, besides reducing your risk of osteoporosis. "But make sure everything else you drink is low-calorie or noncaloric," says Byron C. Richard, a registered dietitian with the Tulane Center for Diabetes in New Orleans. Richard's suggestions: water, seltzer, coffee, tea, diet soda, Diet V-8 Splash, or Crystal Light. If you're dying for a specialty coffee, says Cochran, "make your own mocha latte by adding a squirt of reduced-sugar chocolate syrup to a skim-milk latte."
Sandra Gordon is a writer in Weston, Connecticut, and the mother of two.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, March 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.