If you’re calorie counting, do you remember to record that smoothie, soda, cocktail, or sweet coffee fix in addition to your food? If not, you may be making a huge error.
When we think about the calories we consume and our eating habits, we typically think of the food we’re eating and forget to evaluate the total amount of calories that we drink.
Some people guzzle their calories which can quickly start to add up.
Unfortunately, drinks do still contain “hidden” calories – to the point where they can sometimes take up a huge percentage of our daily calorie intake.
Not only are they quicker and easier to consume but they’ll satisfy thirst rather than hunger.
Let’s dive in to see whether drinks really do count as calories!
What Are Calories?
Put simply, the term “calorie” is a unit of energy. The energy content that can be found in a drink or a food item is measured in calories.
The physical “calorie” unit is defined as the amount of energy that is required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
Calories that are consumed via food or beverages are used as energy to carry out essential functions including thinking and breathing, and also encapsulate daily activities such as eating, walking, and talking.
Excess calories that you consume will be stored as fat which could cause significant weight gain over time.
How Many Calories Should You Consume?
The number of calories that you need to eat every day depends on multiple factors including weight, age, gender, and activity level.
For instance, a young athlete will require more daily calories than an 80-year-old individual who doesn’t get much exercise.
If you are trying to lose some weight, you must create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories via food and drinks than your body takes to burn off.
So, Do Drinks Count As Calories?
In short, yes, they do!
The liquid calories found in juices, alcohol, soda, specialty coffees, or sports drinks can have a huge impact on your overall calorie intake. Juices and soda tend to be the primary sources of these additional calories.
You can see exactly how many calories a serving of a particular drink offers by checking the labels. For instance, a glass of your favorite orange juice may be around 16 ounces but the serving size may only be eight ounces.
The smaller serving might also only be 112 calories whereas the larger one is double that, which already takes up a considerable portion of your calories for the day.
If you’re buying a high-calorie drink from a store or a specialized coffee shop, the calories should be clearly displayed on a menu or board so you know exactly what you are drinking.
Are Food And Drink Calories The Same?
No, calories from food and those from beverages are not the same thing!
Drinking calories tend to be a little easier to summarize than food calories because they don’t usually contribute a significant number of calories to your diet. That doesn’t mean you should drink away all of your calories, though!
In layman’s terms, your brain and body don’t seem to register calories from drinks the same way it does calories in food, meaning you’ll never truly feel full by drinking a calorific beverage.
For example, your favorite iced coffee with whipped cream and flavorings could easily be hundreds of calories but will not satisfy any of the hunger you’re feeling.
If you’re consuming only 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, save these for food rather than empty-calorie drinks.
That can of soda that you drink every morning may end up being the calorie equivalent of a slice of toast and a banana, around 150 to 200 calories.
If you choose to make a smoothie with milk and other high-calorie ingredients, it could end up running at around 500-1,000 calories extra even if there’s lots of fruit in there.
Let’s say you’re celebrating a major achievement and want to indulge in your favorite alcoholic drink.
In this situation, you probably don’t want to be thinking too much about the calories you’re drinking, yet you must know what you’re getting into.
For example, a 750 ml bottle of red wine could top the scale at 625 calories, and an oversized margarita cocktail could be anywhere from 300 to 500 calories per glass.
Whatever you decide to consume, make sure you are mindful of the frequency of the drinks so that you do not end up drinking away a whole lot of your daily calories.
What About Protein-Based Drinks?
There are a couple of beverages that blur the line between food and drinks which can make the entire concept of counting calories a little trickier. High-protein milk-based drinks are a great example of this.
For instance, if you purchase protein shakes ready-made from the grocery store or choose to make them at home yourself, you must be cautious.
These drinks are designed to be meal replacements rather than an addition to the chewable food that you eat.
How Drinking Your Calories Can Impact Weight Gain
Even if you do not completely understand much about calories themselves, or how many your body needs to function correctly, you will easily be able to tell when one beverage has a much higher amount of calories than others.
In this case, it’s always best to stick to the lower-calorie option if you can! Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk of being in a calorie surplus for the day which could eventually lead to weight gain if the behavior is repeated often.
In short, drinks do count as calories, and you should be mindful of the drinks that you consume. In fact, liquid calories can quickly add up, so it’s probably best to stick with water and other low-calorie beverages as frequently as you can.
Try to save your liquid calories for more special occasions instead of drinking them every day.