You Are What You Drink

 Liquid Calories Can Pile on the Pounds


With the summer heat not too far behind us, it seems like reaching for your favorite ice cold beverage is the best way to cool off. With bright neon colors, promising sport performance enhancing taglines, and hipster-looking logos, make sure you think twice before taking another sip out of decorated sugary drinks.


Sweet-n-Low (R), Equal (R), Splenda (R)
Artificial sweeteners are food additives that are non-caloric or non-nutritive, meaning they have almost no calories and no nutritional value.

Recent studies have shown that when it comes to gaining weight, it may not be “you are what you eat” so much as “you are what you drink.” Sodas, sugary iced teas, and sports drinks may be piling on the pounds.


Beverages can be especially tricky in causing weight gain. When you drink sugary beverages, you do not feel as full as if you had eaten the same calories from food. Additionally, studies show that people consuming sugary beverages don’t compensate for the high calorie content in these beverages by eating less food let alone consider damaging health effects of sugar.


If you were to drink just one can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day (approximately 150 calories/day), and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 5 pounds in a year. Result: extra calories equal eventual weight gain.

you are hwat you drink photo

If you can’t give up your soda or sweet tea, you may wish to switch to the diet version. Although these are not the best choices to drink regularly due to the amount of artificial sweeteners in them they are a start to ease oneself off of the regular version. Here are some simple switches to help keep the pounds from piling on:





  • Regular Gatorade: 80 calories and 21 grams of sugar per 12-ounce serving
  • Switch to G2 by Gatorade: 30 calories and 7 grams of sugar per 12-ounce serving



  • Regular vitaminwater: 120 calories and 29-32 grams of sugar per 20-ounce bottle
  • Switch to vitaminwater Zero: 0 calories and less than 1 ounce of sugar per 20-ounce bottle


Arizona Iced Tea:

  • Regular Kiwi-Strawberry flavored Arizona Iced Tea: 110 calories and 25g of sugar per 8-ounce serving
  • Switch to Diet Lemon flavor: 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving


Starbucks Bottled Iced Coffee Drinks:

  • Starbucks Bottled Caramel Frappuccino Coffee Drink: 200 calories and 32 grams of sugar in a 9.5 ounce serving.
  • Switch to Starbucks Low Calorie Coffee + Milk: 50 calories and 3 grams of sugar in an 11-ounce serving.


By: Bailey Madnick, CHES, Graduate Student Assistant for Health Promotion


To find out more visit:


Harvard School of Public Health- Sugary Beverages


California Department of Public Health- Sugar Sweetened Beverages


Gatorade Nutrition Information:


Vitaminwater Nutrition Information:


Arizona Iced Tea Nutrition Information:


Starbucks Nutrition Information:



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