When setting up a weight loss diet, it is usual to think about food, however the part played by the drinks (coffee, tea, juices, alcohol…) is often neglected. Most of the drinks, just like food, are calories providers. Therefore, to achieve your weight loss target, it is crucial to define a full strategy that includes food and drinks. Here are a few tips to help you!
Water is THE most important drink for all living organisms, and is as such, one of the essential nutrients (with carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals). The human body contains approx. 60% of water and in order to maintain its proper function, it is advised to drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day. Therefore, all types of diets (weight loss, muscle growth, wellbeing…) should always include a consequent intake of water throughout the day.
- Coffee and tea
Most people start the day with a cup of coffee or tea. These two beverages are also consumed throughout the day to go with a snack, or just out of habit. Is the consumption of coffee and tea sabotaging a weight loss journey? Not at all, however some adjustments might need to be made.
Coffee is known for its stimulatory effect, due to caffeine. Coffee and green tea are sources of antioxidants, which are beneficial for health. Therefore, coffee and tea as such – in a moderate/ balanced amount (2 to 3 cups daily) – fit into a daily diet. However, extra ingredients like sugar and cream, rich in calories, can eventually turn these healthy water-based drinks into a calorie-rich snack. For instance, coffee-based drinks from shops or restaurants, when sweetened with sugar syrups and topped with whipped cream can quickly cumulate at 300 calories and more.
Consequently, in order to easily fit into a weight loss diet, your everyday coffee and tea have to be consumed in their simplest version: without sugars or toppings. An unsweetened espresso has just a few calories, and an unsweetened tea, which is made out of water has no calorie, and therefore no impact on your daily weight loss diet. The dressed up and fancy coffee-based drinks and teas have to stay occasional.
- Juices and smoothies
Juices and smoothies/milkshakes can also fit a weight loss diet, when meeting a few requirements. A juice made out of freshly pressed/ mixed fruits is a convenient way to increase the daily intake of carbs and fibers. Smoothies or milk based shakes, are also an easy way to increase the daily consumption of fruits/ vegetables and conveniently add (if you need it) an extra dose of protein (1 scoop of protein powder) or fibers (oat for instance). A few conditions have to be respected:
- use fresh or frozen fruits to also get the vitamins that they contain,
- add as less sugar as possible: fruits are naturally sweet, but if needed 1 tea spoon of honey will do the job,
- for milk based drinks, use preferably plant-based and unsweetened “milks” (for instance almond, soya, coconut…) that are usually less rich in calories that traditional semi-skimmed cow milk.
When prepared like that, smoothies can even be part of a balanced breakfast or snack.
This is a no-brainer: alcohol and the 7 kcal per gram that it brings doesn’t go well with a weight loss diet. It actually brings more calories than carbs and protein (almost double) and has no benefit for the body since it is not a nutrient. The impact of alcohol on health is well-known (dehydration, slowed down brain function, stomach irritation…). Therefore, it is of high importance to consume alcohol with moderation. Having occasionally one glass of wine or a cocktail is not forbidden, and shouldn’t be seen as a sabotage act to your weight loss journey but part of a social moment. You just need to stay moderate and balanced. For instance, during a diner or a night out, try to limit your consumption of alcohol to 1 glass and then have water, fruit juices or low calorie sodas.
Consequently, water should always be your go-to drink, whatever your objective is. In a weight loss, diet, in order to manage your daily calorie intake it is of high importance to keep an eye on your consumption of sugar, cream and other toppings that are often the ingredients to incriminate! Therefore, unsweetened coffee and tea can be consumed, while fresh juices and fruits-based smoothies should be used as part of a balanced breakfast/ snack.