Episode #8 of the course Basics of low-carb eating by Emily Stone
I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s lesson on low-carb snack and dessert options and maybe even had a chance to try a new recipe. Today, we’ll look at low-carb options for what to drink throughout the day. Beverages can actually play a big part in keeping sugar intake minimal.
You already know about the cascade of health effects that come from repeatedly shocking the body with blood sugar spikes. Sweetened beverages are possibly the worst offender for quickly delivering huge amounts of sugar to the blood. Simply replacing quick-digesting, sugar-filled drinks with low or no sugar alternatives is a step in the right direction for anyone—regardless of other diet changes.
What to Avoid
It’s well-known that regular soda contains a lot of sugar: 35-40 g per 12 oz. (355 ml). Yikes! Many other popular drinks—even some that seem like they should be “healthy”—also contain large amounts of sugar.
• 12 oz. (355 ml) bottled iced tea: 37g carb / 35g sugar
• 8 oz. (240 ml) 100% apple juice: 28g carbs / 0.5g fiber/ 24g sugar
• 20 oz. (590 ml) sports drink: 35g carbs/34g sugar
• 24 oz. (710 ml) berry smoothie (from restaurant): 114g carbs / 5g fiber / 102g sugar
For the average adult, the World Health Organization recommends limiting daily sugar intake to 25g or less. That means you’ll need to share your smoothie with four other people!
So, is diet soda the answer? It stands to reason that maybe diet pop and other zero-calorie, artificially sweetened drinks are the answer to low-carb drinks. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners come with their own set of problems. A recent meta-analysis found that increased consumption of artificial sweeteners is more likely to lead to weight gain than weight loss, and researchers are still looking into several theories about why this is. One explanation is that because sweet food generally comes with a large number of calories, the sweetness of diet drinks without the calories confuses the body’s hormonal response and may lead to increased hunger.
What Should I Drink Instead?
Similar to the low-carb reconnaissance you might do before going to a restaurant, you can check out nutrition information for your favorite drink spot as well. For cafes, we’ll find that a coffee drink with flavored syrups and milk could contain up to 60g sugar. Alternatively, a black coffee would provide 0g sugar, and there are many options that fall in between. Planning ahead could save your entire daily sugar intake from being overspent by 9 am.
Another strategy is to make your own coffee-based drinks at home. My favorite recipe is a Mexican Mocha.
• 8 oz. (355 ml) fresh brewed coffee
• 1 date, pit removed and roughly chopped
• 4 oz. (120 ml) coconut or almond milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. coconut oil
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 tbsp. cacao powder
• dash of sea salt
• dash of cayenne pepper
Blend all ingredients on high for 30-60 seconds, top with real whipped cream (optional), and enjoy.
When it comes to alcohol, some people choose to include an occasional drink in their Paleo or Keto diet, while others abstain altogether. If you’d like to have a drink, here are low-carb options:
• 5 oz. (150 ml) Sauvignon Blanc: 2.7 net carbs
• 5 oz. (150 ml) Pinot Noir: 3.4 net carbs
• vodka Soda with Lime: 0 carbs (try using a flavored sparkling water with zero or very little sugar in place of plain soda water for added flavor)
• whiskey on the rocks: 0 carbs
And of course, don’t forget about water. Getting enough water is important for many reasons, including promoting weight loss. Most of your beverages throughout the day should be water—or even better, add fresh lemon juice for its health benefits. Hot or iced tea is another good option, as long as it’s unsweetened or lightly sweetened with Stevia or honey.
So many popular drinks contain more sugar than one person should consume during the entire day. It pays to know your low-sugar options and stick to them.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at different places you can purchase low-carb foods and drinks at a good value.
From my kitchen to yours,
Low-Carb Drinks: low-carb creative Pinterest board
World Health Organization Lowers Sugar Intake Recommendations
Drinking Water May Speed Weight Loss
Seven Ways Your Body Benefits from Lemon Water
The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
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