The frustrating reality of dieting is that you can do nearly everything right and still not get the results you're after. You can measure out your portions, count your calories and not touch a single tempting food but if you aren't doing this one little thing, you may not be dropping as much weight as you could be!
All you have to do is swap your diet soda for water! A study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
found that obese or overweight women who drank a glass of water after lunch while on a diet for 6 months, lost 14% more weight (about 3 pounds more) than women who drank a diet soda after lunch.
This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise given all the information that has been made available about diet sodas over the course of the last year. One study that included 460 adults found that drinking even just one can of diet soda significantly increased body fat.
In a different study, diet soda was linked to a 41% greater risk of obesity.
The science is unclear as to why diet soda has this impact on the body but the researchers believe it could be that its extreme sweetness makes us crave more sugar. It is also possible that diet drinks stimulate appetite. The sweet taste tricks the body by delivering a dose of sweetness without the calories to back it up, leaving us looking for those calories elsewhere. The way we like to reward ourselves could as be part of this equation. Diet drinks are marketed as being calorie-free which means that some people may end up consuming even more calories during the day because they believe they have saved on their drink and can afford a treat.
[bctt tweet="Lose 14% More Weight With This Simple Swap"]
Even if you don't drink diet soda, your beverage choices may be leading to an increase in your calorie consumption. Alcohol, coffee, tea, and sugar sweetened drinks were also named in a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
as being contributing factors in over eating.
looked at the eating and drinking habits of more than 20,000 Americans and found some startling numbers. Alcohol lead people to consume, on average, 384 calories extra calories a day! Sugary drinks like juices and sodas can bump your daily total by 226 calories while coffee adds 108 calories and tea 64 calories.
These added calories do not just come from the things you are putting in your beverages, like cream, cocktail mixes, and sweeteners, these calories come from food!
There may be something that happens in our bodies, chemically, when we consume these beverages but more likely than not, our habits are to blame. When you are grabbing your morning cup of Joe, do you also grab a muffin or pastry to go with it? Do you grab a scone or biscuit for your tea breaks? A plate of fries always seems more tempting after having a few drinks at happy hour. These tendencies can really stand in the way of your weight loss progress and need to be addressed.
If giving up diet soda is your goal, start by taking small steps. "I recommend water over diet drinks whenever possible. Water is pure hydration, and when you drink water, your body doesn't need to filter out any additional chemicals," Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, owner of Nutrition Starring You, tells Prevention
. "If you are really trying to kick the diet soda habit, try diluting it with plain seltzer at a 1:1 ratio, then work your way down to seltzer only. You can also try seltzer with a splash of juice—you get to keep the bubbles and a bit of flavor, too."
In the case of coffee and tea, it isn't necessary to give them up entirely but you do need to pay close attention to the way you behave when you consume them. You will be able to break yourself of your snacking habits by putting thought into it. Stop doing things out of a ritualized habit and do only things that will nourish and benefit your body. Stop and think before you eat.
Sneak water into your day whenever you can. Try adding fruits and vegetables that have a high water content, like watermelon, cucumber, or grapes (for more ideas, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan
). Being dehydrated is a nightmare
for your metabolism and your body's basic functioning. When you don't drink enough water, you will not only feel sluggish and cranky, you will feel hungry. Dehydration often masks itself as hunger. So, when you need that midday snack to go with your coffee or tea, you may actually just be thirsty!
If the thought of drinking plain water bores you to tears, try infusing your water. Adding some pieces of fruit or herbs like mint will really boost your satisfaction factor. Raspberries and lemon make one of the most delicious combinations imaginable. Experiment! Find a mix that you find both tasty and refreshing.
Trust us, water doesn't have to be boring!
Have you increased your water intake and noticed a positive impact on your weight loss goals? Leave a comment. We always love hearing your stories!