The Hidden Calories in Liquids

I definitely am not a calorie-counting fan.

However, having a fair bit of the overall mechanisms behind burning calories and taking in calories. How one calorie diverts its end product differently in our bodies is part of what captivates me.

Too many diets and diet plans have encapsulated their weight loss solutions around solids. And with this, I mean food. Plate division left and right, closely tied to other habitual aspects. Eat this, avoid that, and we apparently have the dieting world captured for 50%.

To alleviate and flush out those unwanted bulks of fat, food is the primary mover and shaker. Liquids take a second spot, although too many tend to lean towards protein and fruit shakes as another source when they simply cannot commit to eating low-carb.

Baffled how too many ‘professionals’ do not pay enough attention to beverages is what leaves me astounded. Instagram-savvy as I may be – just to see and read what’s trending these days -, spreading the word of how we can see results by not looking at what we drink is based on simple bodily algorithms. 

Drinking only water is too “boring”, and I totally can connect to this. Little wiggle room in our diet and even less to drink with it, and we tend to sneak in a glass of whatever lies chilled in the fridge.

Let’s take alcohol as an example. The social beverage of choice before coffee enters the field. As one of the 4 defined macronutrients, alcohol provides us with energy in the form of calories.

We all know what too much alcohol on a larger scale does. The infamous ‘beer belly” is associated with what we do when we do not control our liquid intake.

However you look at it, alcohol is seen as toxic by our body. It is so toxic that it has to run through our liver twice (!) to get rid of all bad stuff. Distilling ethanol is what gets the booze flowing into the right fermented compound when talking about one line of the alcohol equation.

And we all know what ethanol can do…no scientific report is needed.

Fermentation leaves sugar traces in one form or another, particularly the sweeter range. These strains of sugar are fervent purveyors of spiking the insulin response of the human body into the almighty glucose. In turn, the body orders the converted carbohydrates (glucose) into fats when it has no immediate use to it. With this, fat cannot be used to use fat as fuel instead of the carbohydrate shot it gets from alcohol. 

If you think about it, this is merely the ‘pure’ version of alcohol. Think cocktails with a flush of sweetened add-ons and you have a caloric bomb that easily hits the 200-calorie mark.

A small salad is 100 calories. One banana contains around 90 calories. One can of over-the-counter lager also hits the 150-calorie level without breaking a sweat.

I can go on.

To make things even worse, alcohol contains a load of “empty calories”. It’s cool it gives you energy in one way or the other, but it severely lacks other bodily nutrients benefitting our health. 

I am not done just yet. No socially drinking get-together is complete with adding some saltiness. Crisps, snacks and peanuts enrich the palate as we continue to devour that deliciousness in a well-crafted glass matching the experience of the drink. More salt rises the sodium levels in our blood, balancing off the scale. The brain receives a signal that we need to have more fluids to bring back the balance. Thus, we drink more.

In 85% of the cases, it is connected to alcohol.

Having a night out with ‘only’ 5 cans of beer is always more than the average 750 calories we share and cheer with friends and family. Whatever we drink, we pump up the caloric volume through less-than-conscious food choices. Opting for a quality brew from a local monastery with 7.5% or higher printed on the label, 

Short bouts of fluidic happiness move more in a vicious circle than in an upward trend. We love the reward it gives us in the beginning (dopamine) but this fades away as alcohol molecules pass the so-called blood brain barrier and start to disrupt neural pathways.

Think about it, even when you’re slurring and cannot commit to walking in a straight line.

Sleep is beyond crap.

Dehydrated like there’s no tomorrow.

Thinking clearly will be as hard as running a marathon on 6-inch heels.

Similar cases of not knowing the truth about the sugar content in beverages are recorded in packaged fruit juices and sports and energy drinks. The rise in fatty liver diseases in children under the age of 16 years in the past decade is showing irrefutable similarities with those adults with an ‘outstanding’ history of regularly downing another drink. 

It is the rise of an ever-expanding selection of beverages. These companies smartly market their products as being healthy and performance-based but does nothing else than often mimicking the results of what alcohol does. Yeah, it looks cool when having a Monster or another caffeine-infused beverage. It is fruit, so it must be healthy and one of the best ways to start the day. Yeah, right.

Nothing is as deceitful in caloric intake as when you pay little attention to what you drink and how you immediately make the connection with the appropriate food choices.

A decent dinner can give you 500 calories, yet those 2 glasses of wine are hardly added. 

A post-dinner aperitif? Sure! Another glass in front of the telly and you drink almost double in calories compared to that dinner you, hopefully, painstakingly cooked.

Awareness is gone in a spiffy and a jiff. 

There are too many pitfalls in the whole beverage industry, humanity forgets to include in their weight loss regime. The beverage market is as smart as the food industry, when looking at it from a broader perspective, the food industry has a large stake in the beverage industry too. Unfortunately, they pay little attention to what one needs to consume to keep those kilos off.

Don’t be fooled by when you are only going for food and totally cast aside the beverage side of consciously planning your caloric intake for the day.

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch | James Beard

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