We all have our go-to drinks. Some people can't function without coffee, some people are lost without their sodas. Others enjoy unwinding at the end of the day with a nice glass of wine. Harmless habits, right? A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
Researchers took a look at the eating and drinking habits of more than 20,000 Americans and found that alcohol, coffee, tea, sugar-sweetened beverages, and diet beverages are all linked in some way to overeating.
Alcohol lead the way, causing people to consume, on average, 384 extra calories a day! Diet drinks and tea came in on the other end of things with 69 and 64 extra calories respectively.
And before you attribute these findings to beverage add ins, like cocktail mix or cream and sugar, you should know that these calories were linked to food.
(Photo by Julie McMahon)
Although in the middle of the above chart, coffee was associated with the greatest consumption of 'discretionary foods' which is just a fancy way of saying high calorie, low nutrient garbage. The results found that one coffee a day triggered 60 extra calories from food consumption.
Alcohol may do its extra calorie dirty work through something called the 'aperitif effect.' People have a tendency to eat more after they've been drinking. Although the reasons for this are not well understood, one study suggests that alcohol makes us more susceptible to delicious food aromas.
As for the diet drinks, researchers believe that they may not be good at satisfying the drinker, leading them to eat more. "Another possible reason is that they may feel less guilty and more justified to eat additional calories later," says study author Ruopeng An, PhD, of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
When it comes to coffee, tea and sugar sweetened drinks, there may be a chemical reaction taking place that prompts overeating but it is more likely due to habit. "It's likely that people are not consuming these beverages alone," An says. And when you think about it, the types of foods we pair with these drinks are not exactly the 'best' foods. Coffee needs baked goods, tea needs a scone or a biscuit, sodas are perfect with burgers and fries. An believes these deeply ingrained pairings may be what prompts our overeating.
None of this means you have to give up your tea or coffee as both have proven health benefits. Instead, An suggests slowing down and taking a look at your food intake while you're sipping. If you cannot have your afternoon coffee without a cookie, you've got some work to do. It may feel impossible to break your food/beverage pairings but you can do it.
Think about it, do you have an unhealthy food and drink habit? What do you reach for while enjoying your favourite drink?
Featured Image: @hot.girl.russia
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