When patients ask me what they can do to lose weight, the first question I ask is, “What do you drink?” It is amazing to realize how much of your daily calories can be “used up” in what you are drinking. For example, if you drink 2 regular cans of coke a day that’s an extra 280 calories to your daily total. If you do that every day for two weeks that adds up to 3920 calories just from cokes!! 3500 calories is about equivalent to 1 pound of weight gain. If you’re not burning that off in your calories expended during the day, you’ve put on an extra pound in two weeks just from a modest 2 cokes a day, not to mention the hamburgers, fries and sweets that you are likely washing down with your cokes, sweet teas or other sugar filled drinks. Extrapolate that over the year and those cokes have added up to 26 pounds of weight gain if not balanced with exercise.
I often recommend the first change you make in your diet is the zero-calorie drink rule. Save your calories for your food and drink water or other zero-calorie drinks like diet cokes or crystal light. I’ve seen people lose a fair amount of weight just by adding in some exercise and adhering to the zero-calorie drink rule. Next time you pick up that coke or sweet tea, ask yourself if that 12 ounces of pure sugar and preservatives is really worth it?
Brooke Uptagrafft, MD
Dr. Brooke is a family medicine doctor.