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Want a Lean Body for Good? Drink These 5 Beverages Every Day

When it comes to weight loss, some drinks really are better choices than others.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

The weight loss market is a thriving industry; it was even valued at $192.2 billion in 2019. In fact, 90% of all Americans try to lose weight at some point in their lives. It appears nearly all of us are interested in or are striving for a thinner body and leaner physique. But achieving "leanness" includes maintaining an appropriate amount of body fat—essential and nonessential—along with staying inside a healthy body weight range, and that includes a number of lifestyle factors. Genetics, physical activity behaviors, age, gender, and food and drink choices all play roles in how easily (or not) we can "get lean."

Below are the top beverage choices that can support sustaining a lean body for the long haul—and for more information about food choices that may help obtain a lean body, read Want a Lean Body for Good? Eat These 8 Foods Every Day.


woman drinking water

Yes, water maintains its status as the shining star among ideal beverages to drink, and supporting our efforts toward a lean body is no exception. The water you drink doesn't need to be of the filtered, purified, alkaline, artesian, or mountain variety, but can be tap water from a trusted municipal source. (Also, it comes at a fraction of the cost!) Water is an integral part of major functions in our body and that includes maintaining a healthy body weight. Find ways to jazz up your glass with fruit infusions, such as muddled strawberry and kiwi, blueberry and mint, or even a "lemonade" that relies on only lemons themselves to impart flavor and subtle sweetness.

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We aren't talking alcoholic seltzers, but instead that growing aisle of the grocery store stocked with various carbonated waters combined with fun flavors like orange vanilla, blueberry acai, and beach plum. These drinks are over 99% water and will keep you on track to hit adequate intakes (AI) for total water, which are 11.5 cups a day for women and 15.5 cups a day for men, including the water content found in food. These drinks are zero calorie and do not contain added sweeteners nor sugar substitutes, further promoting weight control.

Herbal tea

herbal tea

Herbal teas are made from various parts—like roots, flowers, and barks—of diverse plant species outside of the traditional Camellia sinensis tea plant. Common ingredients include chamomile, hibiscus, orange peel, and peppermint. Some ingredients in herbal tea could interact with medications or be inappropriate for certain people, such as women who are pregnant or lactating, so be sure to confirm with your doctor about usage before consuming. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine and can be a terrific adjunct in supporting lean body mass.

Black coffee

pour black coffee

Coffee sometimes comes with a bad rap for being filled with unwanted calories, excessive sugar, and unwelcome saturated fat, and it is generally a poor idea if looking to reduce body weight. However, coffee itself isn't to blame. Coffee beans contain no calories, sugar, nor fat per serving. Instead, it's the specialty drinks and abundant additions (sugar, cream, syrup, etc.) that pack in these unwanted nutrients. Try to transition to black or unsweetened coffee by measuring the amount of added ingredients you mix into your brew, or assess what you order from the coffee shop menu to gradually reduce those additives over the course of several weeks until standalone coffee is better enjoyed.

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smoothie recipe fat loss

A small well-constructed smoothie can be a terrific snack idea to help with keeping weight in check. Smoothies usually include a water, low-fat dairy, or nondairy milk base with fruit, sometimes vegetables, and perhaps added protein to increase satiety. Replace your current snack routine with one of these ideas:

  • 1 medium banana + 1 cup unsweetened soy milk + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder + ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup mango + ½ cup pineapple + 1 cup skim milk + 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup blueberries + 1 cup light oat milk + ½ cup silken tofu + ½ cup cauliflower

Final thoughts

Achieving a lean body combines factors outside of our control, such as genetics, age, and gender. However, it also includes components that we can manipulate, like diet and exercise. Changing up what we regularly drink can influence how effectively we may be able to lose weight and increase total lean body mass.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD
Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian. Read more about Molly
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