Popular Fluids And Calories
Patricia Zifferblatt | November 1, 2007

Fluids are important for our bodies to function properly, but if you’re not careful, you can add lots of calories as you hydrate. Here’s a list of common beverages and their calories:

Diet Sodas (Calories: 0)
The sodas are sweetened with sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. Experts recommend a maximum of four bottles or cans per day.

Regular Sodas (Calories: 60-100 per 8-ounce serving)
Remember, there are 12 ounces in most cans and 68 ounces in 2-liter bottles--that’s more than one serving. These drinks are sweetened with sugars, and experts say we should limit these drinks to 12 ounces per day.

Energy Drinks (Calories: 0-120 per 8-ounce serving)
These drinks are fairly new to the market. Most have high amounts of sugar to give a quick energy boost and typically contain various amounts of pick-me-up herbs, primarily ginseng and B vitamins, especially vitamin B12. Most of these drinks also contain a substantial amount of caffeine, so anyone with a sensitivity to caffeine, on medication for high blood pressure, and so on, should consult with a doctor before using these drinks. Pregnant women should also talk with their doctors before drinking these.

Sports Drinks (Calories: 0-50 per 8-ounce serving)
These drinks are use to replenish water, electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, and carbohydrates used during exercise. Some of these drinks also include additional vitamins, minerals, and most recently, amino acids. Reduced and no-calorie versions are now being produced that replenish fluids and electrolytes without additional sugar.

Fruit Juices (Calories: 90-160 per 8-ounce serving depending on the type of fruit)
Orange juice is about 90 calories per 8-ounce serving while grape juice is about 160. Fruit juice is exactly what it says: the juice from the fruit without the fiber and pulp from the whole fruit. It may be wiser to eat the entire fruit instead. Be cautious of drinks labeled as fruit drinks, not fruit juice. Those are simply 10% juice with high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. A word of warning about drinking fruit juice as a beverage at most meals as is done in many cultures: even though fruit juices contain vitamins and minerals, they also contain a lot of sugar, so be cautious about consumption, especially with children.

Milk (Calories: 85 calories in fat-free milk to 150 calories in whole milk per 8-ounce serving)
Whole milk contains 8 grams of fat and is considered too high in fat for adults and older children. Cooking with whole milk can add a creamy texture to recipes, but try low-fat evaporated milk instead. All dairy products are high in calcium for strong bones as well as other nutrients.

Coffee (Black coffee is calorie free)
The all-American drink! But it’s what one adds to it that can make the calories climb. So be careful of those frosted lattes and other coffee drinks that are so popular these days. Check out the calories before ordering, and you may decide to treat these coffee drinks as dessert instead of just a fluid.

Tea (Plain tea is calorie free)
But the situation is much the same as coffee. Many of the fruit-flavored teas include sugar and other sweeteners, so check the label before drinking. And now, a word of warning about the delicious drink called sweet tea available in the southern U.S. Sweet tea can contain from 6-10 teaspoonfuls of sugar per glass, depending on who’s making the tea. Drink it sparingly, as you would any high-calorie treat. If you love sweet tea, experiment with using artificial sweeteners such as Splenda for at least part of the sugar.

Wine (Calories: 110-120 per 5-ounce serving)
Since wine gained widespread use in North America, it has become the cocktail party beverage of choice. Many doctors suggest red wine for their patients who drink wine since it contains special antioxidants that are beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Whether it comes in red, white, or pink, from Italy, France, the U.S., Canada, Australia, or anywhere else, wine has a significant number of calories. It’s up to you to balance the calories, alcohol, and health benefits in a way that fits your life.

Beer (Calories: 90 in light beers to nearly 200 for dark beer per 12-ounce serving)
Beers are made by various manufacturers with secret and coveted recipes and with large advertising campaigns to tout their specialty. The phytonutrients in beer can be beneficial--just remember that light or not, beer contains alcohol and should be consumed in moderation if at all. And as with wine, remember that drinking and driving don’t mix.

Water (No calories)
Of all your choices, this one is probably the best choice for the majority of your daily fluid intake. Drink at least four glasses a day.

So that’s the list--whatever you choose, remember to stay hydrated, especially if it’s hot or you’re strenuously active. Dehydration has many ill effects; you can even die from it. Fatigue and mental confusion are the first symptoms, so if you’re feeling that way, sit down and have a big glass of water--you may feel better in a matter of minutes!
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