Best Drinks When You're Trying to Lose Weight
Despite what Instagram influencers claim, you can't drink yourself skinny with weight loss beverages. There is no single beverage that stimulates fat loss, according to Melanie Boehmer, R.D. at Lenox Hill Hospital.
"Straight up, if we are talking about weight loss, we are talking about a caloric deficit," says Boehmer. And watching how many calories you consume from beverages can help you eat fewer calories overall.
"It is very easy to consume excess calories via beverages," says Boehmer.
You'll want to minimize the amount of high-calorie beverages like cocktails or soda if you're looking to lose weight. Ultimately, your main goal should be hydration.
" If you are adequately hydrated you are less likely to experience cravings," she says.
People who were hydrated—determined through urine samples—had lower Body Mass Indexes compared to people who were not, according to a 2016 study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Boehmer says dehydration may lead to sugar cravings in some people—which could also lead to weight gain.
Although Boehmer recommends getting most of your nutrients through food, protein-packed beverages can also help with weight loss, she says.
Not sure what to drink for your goals? Here are the best drinks for hydration and weight loss:
Boehmer says water is always your best bet when it comes to hydration. The specific amount you need each day varies depending on temperature, elevation, and activity level. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that guys “who appear to be adequately hydrated” consume about 125 ounces of liquid a day.
Guys who drink dairy may want to incorporate milk into their snacks. Milk is a good source of carbohydrates, fat, and protein—which can minimize hunger, says Boehmer. An eight-ounce serving of 2 percent milk contains roughly 122 calories and 8 grams of protein. However, Boehmer recommends including actual food with your protein-packed drinks since that increases satiety.
3. FRUIT INFUSED WATER
Fruit infused water is helpful for those who have trouble drinking it plain. Make a batch the night before and place it in the fridge for a stronger flavor.
4. PROTEIN SHAKE
Protein shakes can be a good drinkable snack. However, you'll want to find something that's been tested for quality assurance, says Boehmer. Products that contain NSF International's "Certified for Sport"designation have been tested to ensure they only contain the ingredients listed on the label. Again, pair it with food to increase satiety.
5. SELTZER WATER
Subbing seltzer for tap water is an easy way to add variety. Boehmer likes to add frozen fruit instead of ice for extra flavor. Pro tip: flavored seltzers taste great alone and enhanced with extra fruit. Just don't down a six pack of sparkling water since that could damage enamel.
6. DILUTED VEGETABLE JUICE
Juices can easily tack on the calories—which may not align with your weight loss efforts. However, vegetable juice can be a good way to eat more plants and stay hydrated.
7. ELECTROLYTE TABLETS
You may need to replenish electrolytes after a strenuous outdoor workout, says Boehmer. She recommends Nuum tablets because they taste great and provide sodium and potassium. "If you’re more hydrated you're more likely to make a thoughtful decision about what to eat," she says.
There's a lot of excitement surrounding tea's ability to help you lose weight. Green and black teas contain antioxidants that some studies show may help with weight loss. However, Boehmer says there's not enough evidence that drinking tea significantly aides in weight reduction. But it is low in calories and one way to get more water—just watch how much caffeine you consume, she says.
"As you get later into the day you want to watch the caffeine that you’re having because it can impact your sleep," says Boehmer.
9. DILUTED FRUIT JUICE