Fitness & Health

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Liquid calories still count

Nadia Helal | Fulcrum Contributor

Chances are, no student can afford to drop precious money on beverages, but it can be tempting—especially in a society that promotes fancy coffees, miraculous energy drinks, and relaxing beers. If outrageous prices alone don’t stop you from guzzling any of the aforementioned drinks, maybe reading up on the calorie counts of these liquids will convince you to stick to what Mother Nature is serving up: good old H2O.

Soft drinks are cheap to produce, tasty, and convenient. The trouble is, a small bottle of Coke will run you 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar. While its diet counterparts may contain less than one calorie, the aspartame and sodium benzoate just aren’t worth it.

Coffee shops are another delightfully addictive trap. While a traditional 10-ounce coffee from Tim Hortons contains only 70 calories, its popular cousin the iced cappuccino has a whopping 250 calories along with 11 grams of fat. Don’t be fooled by Starbucks either—their website has a section for “delicious drinks under 200 calories,” but most of them are unsweetened or non-fat versions, which generally taste no good and aren’t worth the money you’ll shell out for them.

Energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull may promise hours of liveliness, but are loaded with unhealthy doses of caffeine. Although they do contain sugar, they have a relatively low amount of calories (an average can contains 110). Even if you only indulge in the occasional jager bomb, mixing energy drinks with alcohol is a sure way to discover if you have any family heart problems—and the calories in alcohol are no laughing matter either. The average beer contains anywhere between 150 and 250 calories and is loaded with carbohydrates.

Grabbing a soft drink or cappuccino more every once in a while might explain that spare tire developing around your waistline. A 2009 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that “a reduction in liquid calorie intake had a stronger effect than did a reduction in solid calorie intake on weight loss.” Furthermore, the study specified that “Of the individual beverages, only intake of sugar-sweetened beverages was significantly associated with weight change.” This means that if you want to lose weight, cutting daily sodas from your diet could be more effective than cutting unhealthy solid foods like white bread.

We hear about the benefits of water all the time—it’s calorie-free, good for your skin, and keeps you hydrated. Although our campus doesn’t sell bottled water, there are drinking fountains everywhere, and free re-useable water bottles are easy to find if you keep your eye out. If you are picky with your water, you have options—American company Bobble has come up with an easy way to purify your water. By attaching a mini-filter directly into their bottles, they filter as you drink!

Instead of coming up with variation after variation of unhealthy drinks (remember Pepsi Blue, anyone?), our society should be focusing on water—it’s    still the best thirst-quencher out there. So grab a glass, add a dash of lime and mint, save your money, and give health a chance.