Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What to drink?

Remember the time where you didn't think much about what to drink? Any fruit juice, any soda, any alcohol drink - there wasn't anything that could do you much harm.

As I get older I find this same conversation with others in my circle:

"I've stopped drinking beer"
"I've stopped drinking soda"
"I only drink diet coke now"
"I stopped drinking caffeine"
"I've stopped drinking fruit juices"
"I don't drink alcohol anymore"

And many other variations.

The fact is - there is no lone recommendation that works. 

Healthy people can basically drink anything, in moderation. If you are healthy today, I'd definitely enjoy more natural things than sodas.

If you are looking to lose weight, this is the normal transition I see:

1 Stop drinking normal soda - coke/sprite/etc have a lot of sugar per serving and that sugar will become fat if you don't spend it
2 Sweet tea is a really bad idea. It has a lot of sugar. Find out how it's made if you don't believe me.
3 Milkshakes are not a good idea either... not only do they have sugar, they also have fat. You will be surprised at how easily fat piles on by drinking milk. Start monitoring and if you just love milk (like me) consider switching to a 1% variety.
4 Be mindful of fruit juices as part of your overall carb intake. That delicious morning orange juice has a lot of sugar. There are plenty of choices so you don't give up the health benefits, but you will have to read labels and incorporate them as part of your overall day plan.
5 Stop drinking sugary coffee. Real coffee is good by itself. Teas also fit this description.

Those were the obvious ones - one that people don't give up as quickly is alcoholThe range of alcohol consumption varies a lot, but I find IT admins to be mostly heavy drinkers (until they see the light). I myself haven't been able to get away completely from social drinking, even though i'll only have one, max two beers on special occasions, and i'll try to make it a low carb like Michelob Ultra.

If your drinking is making you gain weight, you have a problem. If you are drinking every day, or drinking alone, you are clinically an alcoholic and should question your life choices :)

6 Alcohol, whether it's beer or vodka, all are sugar; and you don't normally go to the gym a couple hours after drinking do you? It's very easy to pile on calories which you will store as soon as you go sleep.

If you have been able to get up to here you have made a big difference in your life - your carbs are not mainly coming from liquids. Here are my final optional recommendations:

6 Don't drink diet soda. It's obviously better than normal soda, but you should go for things that naturally don't have sugar in them, and also don't taste sugary. Try to make the taste of "sweet" something that is extraordinary and not common.
7 Unsweetened tea is a safe go-to when eating out - twisting a lime helps out too.
8 Water. Filtered, great tasting water is the best thing you can drink. I really like Zerowater filters. I try not to buy bottled plastic water. You can even get sparkling water if you don't feel like asking for plain water in a restaurant.

If you are diabetic then you follow everything above in the "looking to lose weight" section, but the last part doesn't become optional - diet sodas, unsweetened iced tea and water become your staple. Apart from unsweetened coffee and tea, you rarely deviate. It is not terribly difficult to find a 1% milk that tastes as good as the milk you take today (I like Lactaid 1%). And really try to avoid alcohol. 

Alcohol doesn't interact well with diabetes medications. Alcohol can cause a drop in glucose - but at the same time you still have all that sugar in your body. If you will drink, opt for the least harmful. I don't particuarly like this site because it promotes drinking, but it is a very good list of calories per alcoholic drink. Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite or Coors Light are pretty easy to find in any bar.

Hit me up on twitter with any questions and remember - I'm no doctor or expert so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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