In the summer months, most of us love that glass of long, cold drink. As the degrees add up so does our need to quench that thirst. Most times, just plain water would do. But many of us, somewhat mindless of the calories, opt for a variety of cold drinks ranging from iced teas, lemon sodas, smoothies, milkshakes and colas. What one must remember is that liquid calories in any form whether alcohol, juice or soda are stealth calories. While they may look harmless, their impact on the body can be enormous.

The body does not detect calorie intake from liquids the same way as it would detect solid food. When people eat solids, they tend to control portions and compensate but when they ingest liquid calories, they tend to go overboard. Not only does intake of liquid calories translate into weight gain but it is known to be a big contributing factor for obesity especially in children.

Some people are also known to eat less during summers and instead drink more liquids. This does not help either as you shortchange yourself on the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, proteins and grains that are essential for the body.

Squashes, cordials and colas are packed with calories and sugars and have no nutritive value. A can of cola contains 140 calories and approximately seven teaspoons of sugar but no nutrients whatsoever. If you swap your daily can of cola for a glass of water, you will save 51,000 calories in a year or enough to lose roughly 6.5 kilos.

The key is mindfulness and moderation. Here are a few tips that may help you make better liquid decisions:
• Choose water as your preferred beverage every time
• Carry your water bottle if you are always on the go
• Add slices of lemon or mint or fresh berries, bits of cucumber and watermelon for a touch of flavor to plain water
• Don’t stock the fridge with sweetened beverages and colas
• If you are having a juice, top it up with equal amounts of water
• If you are having a sweetened beverage like a milkshake, lassi or cold coffee, take a half size
• Make your own smoothies to ensure they are healthy
• If you drink alcohol, especially cold beers, limit your intake and drink only on occasion
• In current times, it is advisable to avoid drinking cold water and cold beverages, instead have water at room temperature or mildly warm. Green teas and hot lemon with ginger are great options to support your health.
In summer it’s also essential not to be guided solely by thirst. Sometimes if it’s too hot, you may have already reached the point of dehydration by the time your mind signals the need for water. Instead drink plain water at regular intervals and stay hydrated and refreshed.

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Sandesh Palungwa Limbu

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.

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