The 37 Best-Ever Drinks for Weight Loss
Protein powder is pretty easy to make palatable. Blend a scoop with a frozen banana and some spices—boom, dessert in a glass! There's only one problem: some mornings, you don't have time to even peel a banana, much less clean the blender. You have to grab something and go. This story is for you.
A steaming cup of tea is the perfect drink for soothing a sore throat, warming up on a cold winter's night, or binge-watching Downton Abbey.
But certain teas are also perfect for doing something else—helping you lose extra weight. Inspired by the amazing results from our book, The 7-Day Tea Cleanse—on which test panelists lost up to 4 inches from their waist—the team at Eat This, Not That! researched this list of the best fat-blasting drinks of all time. Teas, coffees, energy drinks, weight loss smoothies, even sodas—sip your way to a leaner, healthier you. And to blast even more flab—in record time—don't miss these ways to lose 10 pounds—fast!
Coffee and Teas
DRINK THIS: Lipton, Yogi
BECAUSE IT: Unlocks your fat cells
Before a workout, turbocharge the fat-blasting effects by sipping a cup of green tea. In a recent 12-week study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute sweat session lost an average of two more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. Thank the compounds in green tea called catechins, flat belly crusaders that blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver's capacity for turning that fat into energy. See how tea can help you lose up to 10 pounds in one week on THE 17-DAY GREEN TEA DIET.
DRINK THIS: Bigelow, Stash
BECAUSE IT: Boosts metabolism
Oolong, a Chinese name for "black dragon," is a light, floral tea that, like green tea, is also packed with catechins, which help to promote weight loss by boosting your body's ability to metabolize lipids (fat). A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of the six-week time period. That's a pound a week!
DRINK THIS: Tazo, Teavana
BECAUSE IT: Wards off the munchies
Fill a big teacup with soothing peppermint tea, and sniff yourself skinny! While certain scents can trigger hunger (a trick Cinnabon figured out long ago), others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month. (Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25% of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat.) Consider also adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow or burning a minty candle to fill the room with slimming smells.
DRINK THIS: Twinings, The Republic of Tea, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime
BECAUSE IT: Prevents new fat cells from forming
White tea is dried naturally, often in sunlight, making it the least processed and richest source of antioxidants among teas (as much as three times as many polyphenols as green tea!). A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) due to high levels of ingredients thought to be active on human fat cells. If there's such a thing as diet tea, this is it. And keep your waistline toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Rapid Weight Loss.
DRINK THIS: Celestial Seasonings, Harney & Sons
BECAUSE IT: Regulates fat-storage hormones
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the "red bush" plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. Research shows this compound can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage and are linked to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Yup, sometimes the kettle can be as effective as the kettlebell.
When regular brewed coffee is chilled and stored, two things happen: First, it begins to lose whatever nuance of taste it once possessed; second, it starts losing the polyphenols that give coffee its health benefits. The best iced coffee is cold brewed; it takes more time to make so it will be more expensive, but you'll taste the difference. Most notably it will be less bitter, which means you can get away with adding less sugar. And less sugar = fewer calories. And start your morning 5 pounds lighter with these perfect best breakfast foods for weight loss.
Old-School Black Coffee
Drinking that second cup of coffee may do more than get you through the workday, it may also save your life.
At least that's what new research published in the journal Circulation suggests. To come to this finding, Harvard School of Public Health researchers surveyed more than 250,000 Americans over 28 years and asked them questions them about their diet and coffee consumption. After analyzing their rates of disease and death over the following twenty years, they found that among nonsmokers, those who drank between three and five cups of java daily were up to 15 percent less likely to die of any cause than those who weren't as friendly with their neighborhood barista.
2% Organic, 100% Grass Fed Milk
Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that conventional cows are; no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. Grass fed cows have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (good) and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their corn and grain fed counterparts. CLA contains a group of chemicals which provides a wide variety of health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass. Go for 2%. Skim is mostly sugar.
Drinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle, but it turns out that you don't need a fancy recovery beverage to reap these benefits. After participating in a vigorous cycling session, cyclists who drank chocolate milk were able to ride 51 percent longer in a subsequent workout than those who drank a standard recovery beverage, a 2009 article in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found. Plus, chocolate milk is cheaper (and tastier) than anything you'll find in a sports nutrition store.
Smoothies and Juices
What if I told you that you could transform your body and radically improve your health with the push of a button—and it's would be easier more delicious than you ever imagined? That's the promise of Clean Green Drinks, the exciting recipe collection of 100+ delicious cleansing recipes from health journalist, chef and TV host Candice Kumai. Here's a peek at Candice's book, and three of the best smoothies and juices for your belly.
Best Smoothie for Waking Up
Clean Green Drinks isn't just about weight loss, but better-fitting jeans is often a happy side effect of juicing. That's because most fruits and vegetables are low calorie, low in fat, and packed with fiber and vital vitamins and antioxidants that will keep you satisfied and full of energy as you lose weight. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that dieters who drank an eight-ounce glass of low- sodium vegetable juice daily over a 12-week period lost, on average, four pounds more than dieters who did not drink the juice. Replace your regular breakfast or lunch with a divine low-calorie, nutrient-packed juice or smoothie and cleanse away the pounds!
Chocolate Morning Wake-Up Smoothie
Serves 2 | Per serving: 150 calories, 2.5 g fat, 10 g protein, 8 g sugar, 7 g fiber
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup baby spinach
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon green superfood
2 tablespoons protein powder
1 cup ice
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Best Juice for a Flat, Happy Belly
Unlike many bottled drinks that are heated during pasteurization and sometimes hide both synthetic and genetically modified ingredients (as well as a ton of added sugar!), fresh juices are totally raw and you control what goes in them. It's believed that consuming raw produce boosts digestion by preserving vital enzymes, which means you can beat the bloat and sip your way to more regular bowel movements for a flat, happy tummy!
The Spicy-Ginger Pineapple Green Juice
Serves 1-2 | Per serving: 90 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g protein, 15 g sugar, 0 g fiber
3 cups baby spinach
1 medium cucumber
¾ cup fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
Directions: Add all ingredients to a juicer and juice. Serve immediately.
Best Smoothie for a Lean, Toned Body
Protein is kryptonite to belly fat, and the building block of a lean, toned bod. I have to admit, when Kumai began writing for men's nutrition-and-wellness publications, she wasn't too keen on their obsession with protein powders. Yet, as she began to research and experience the wonders of vegetarian protein blends, she soon became a fan. Within weeks of testing the post-workout smoothies for my book, Kumai's body leaned up; and she had just as much muscle tone as she did when she was running half marathons. Here's a delicious recipe to try; one sip and you won't believe it's healthy since it takes just like a vanilla shake.
Green Vanilla Almond Smoothie
Serves 2 | Per Serving: 180 calories, 6 g fat, 11 g protein, 8 g sugar, 3 g fiber
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
2 cups baby spinach
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
4 tablespoons protein powder
1 cup ice
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
And…the Best-Ever Smoothie for Weight Loss Is…
It's so delicious, and so simple to make, that you can have it as breakfast, a snack, a meal replacement, or even dessert! For Zero Belly Diet, David Zinczenko, co-author of Eat This, Not That!, designed the ultimate program for making your gut disappear.
On each day, you'll enjoy—and we do mean enjoy—a blended smoothie designed to complement the natural weight loss and lean muscle gain you'll see from the Zero Belly program. Studies show that high-protein, low-fat smoothies are highly effective at rushing nutrients to your muscles—which is why Dave recommends you have your drink immediately after exercise—and that blended fruit drinks, which include all the fiber, will actually keep you fuller longer than fruit juices. Click here to get the recipe for his favorite smoothie, the Strawberry Banana.
Natural Energy Drinks
Most energy drinks are like bad online dates. The profile looks promising (so much to offer!), and at first they're super sweet. But it doesn't take long before the initial rush wears off and reality hits: they're devoid of any goodness whatsoever and you're left feeling jittery and sick, hungry for actually useful weight loss tips.
In fact, because energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements, companies can sneak past regulations required by the Food and Drug Administration. The result? A crash-and-burn cocktail of excess caffeine, bogus "herbal blends" and enough sugar to make a packet of Skittles look like the better option. According to one study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a typical energy drink can have as much as a quarter cup of sugar, and upwards of 200 mg of caffeine—more than you'll find in two very strong cups of coffee (a tall cup has about 71 mg)!
It's not all doom and gloom. Here's a roundup of the best low-sugar energy drinks you can rely on for a natural, no-bs boost.
Runa Clean Energy (Original Zero)
Energy booster: guayusa
What makes Runa Clean Energy special is guayusa, a plant native to the Amazon rainforest with double the antioxidant capacity as green tea, according to a report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Legend has it, indigenous hunters nicknamed the leaf "night watchman" for its ability to heighten awareness and prevent sleep. With as much caffeine as coffee, guayusa is also a rich source of theanine, an amino acid that researchers say can work in synergy with caffeine to calm and focus the brain.The result? A jolt of energy without the jitters. In other words: clean energy.
Ito En Oi Ocha Green Tea
Energy booster: green tea
Oi Ocha means "Tea, please!" in Japanese. And to that we say, "Yes! Thank you!"A bottle of this calorie-free, sugar-free green tea provides slightly less caffeine than a tall cup of coffee and some impressive detox benefits, especially when consumed pre-workout. In a recent study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute sweat session lost two more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. What makes green tea so waist friendly are compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver's fat burning capacity.
Petey's Bing Beverage
Energy booster: taurine
Petey's Bing Beverage serves up an extra boost of energy from taurine (1000mg), an amino acid you'll find in many of the sporty energy drinks due to its ability to improve athletic performance. A recent study in the Journal of Cardiology found participants who supplemented with 500 mg of taurine three times daily for two weeks, were able to significantly increase exercise distance. In addition to the 1000mg taurine, you'll get a healthy dose of polyphenols from the bing cherries, which research suggests can reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. A month-long clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition saw a 21 percent reduction in inflammation markers among men and women who supplemented their diets with bing cherries. (By the way, taurine is probably fine in small doses, but chug too much and the picture becomes less clear.)
FRS One Peach Mango
Energy booster: quercetin
The unique energy boost in FRS One comes from Quercetin, an antioxidant that mimics the effects of exercise by enhancing the production of mitochondria, the energy-producing units in our cells. An animal study in the American Journal of Physiology that looked at the effect of quercetin supplementation on mitochondrial production and athletic performance, found that a daily dose of 25 mg/kg could double mitochondrial DNA and increase run-til-exhaustion time by 36 percent! The daily recommendation for humans is 500-1000 mg, and a bottle of FRS One serves up 325 mg.
Energy booster: wheatgrass
Caffeine-free and devoid of any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, Alo Awaken is like a bottle of fresh air—literally! The boost you get comes from a one-ounce shot of wheatgrass—a plant rich in chlorophyll that oxygenates your body by amping up red blood-cell production. A study in The Journal of Surgery found supplementing with chlorophyll may also serve as a powerful immunity boost, able to increase wound healing time by up to 25 percent.
Energy booster: white tea
A great pick-me-up for dieters, Bai5 serves up a gentle 35 mg caffeine plus 200 g of antioxidant-rich white tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea may be especially powerful at targeting fat cells, with the ability to simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) due to high levels of fat-fighting compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells. The folks at Bai tell us their most popular flavors are coconut, blueberry and mango & pomegranate.
Sambazon Amazon Energy
Energy booster: guaraná
The caffeine content in Sambazon's drink line comes from green tea and guaraná, a a native plant from Brazil with roughly twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds, and—bonus!—the ability to fight fat and lower cholesterol. A recent study found daily supplementation with guaraná could reduce LDL cholesterol levels in healthy adults by as much as 27 percent! And a second animal study published in Clinical Nutrition found guaraná extract supplementation could increase fat metabolism.
It's no secret that chugging plain H2O can be less than stimulating, but there are fun ways to make this healthy habit less of a chore. Certain fruits have detoxifying properties in their flesh and peels; slice them whole into your water to reap the benefits and hit your water intake quota with an infusion of flavor. For the definitive ways to drink up and de-puff, check out our list of 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat-Burning and Weight Loss!
Try Eat This, Not That!'s best-ever smoothie for weight loss—and snag one of these grab-and-go bottles for those hectic days. The protein will keep you fueled and focused for the long to-do list ahead. They all clock in under 200 calories, are packed with at least 10 grams of protein and have no more than 18 grams of sugar.
So Delicious Almond Plus Unsweetened Almond Milk, 16 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
Halfway between regular almond milk and a protein shake, this vegan-friendly hybrid is one of our new faves. Despite its protein-packed namesake ingredient, normal almond milk is relatively void of the muscle-building nutrient (it generally has around one gram), which can be a problem for dairy-avoiding vegetarians and vegans. This kind, however, gets blended with pea protein to help you meet your daily requirements. Just be sure to shake the container before you pour; the protein powder separates.
Svelte Banana Creme, 15.9 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||1.5 g|
Soy milk is both the source of protein in this fruity shake and the first ingredient, followed closely by banana puree. The complex carbs from the fruit give you sustained energy, plenty of potassium and a deliciously creamy bottled shake. The dessert-like flavor gets high praises from fans of this brand, but it's in a dead heat with other drool-worthy flavors like Spiced Chai and Cappuccino.
Stonyfield OP Organic Protein, Strawberry, 10 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||1.5 g|
Although we tend to favor plant-based proteins, Stonyfield produces a quality option for the milk-loving crowd. Low-fat milk and milk protein concentrate drive both the sugar and protein content, and we can't scoff at the 1:1 protein to sugar ratio when most companies struggle to get close to 1:2. You won't find any fancy flavors here, but the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry they do offer should be enough to satisfy most cravings.
Coco Libre Protein, Almond Protein, 11 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
Sweetened with a touch of stevia, this is a new breed of protein shake, made primarily of hydrating coconut water. Grass-fed milk protein supplies more protein than three eggs–for a fraction of the morning prep time. If you need your fuel with caffeine-derived focus, they offer a coffee flavor that uses plenty of joe–in fact, it's the second ingredient.
MusclePharm CoCo Protein, Chocolate, 12 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g|
Rather than raising hell in the locker room with your load shaker bottle, throw one of these in your gym bag for post-pump recovery. Electrolyte-rich coconut water rehydrates you while the nutrients in milk proteins replenish glycogen stores and help muscles recover. After a particular strenuous workout, pair it with a piece of fruit to boost health carbs available for your body's recovery.
Special K Protein Shake, Chocolate Malt, 10 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g|
This shake is a surprisingly good option–especially considering the low quality of some of Special K's cereals. Whereas some of their cereal boxes are loaded with plain sugar, the sugar counts on these bottles include natural lactose from the nonfat milk base. Grab the malted chocolate flavor for a classic dessert-inspired treat that will fill you up instead of leaving you with a sugar crash.
Atkins Advantage, Dark Chocolate Royale, 11 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||3 g|
This shake attacks hunger, not your blood sugar, so it's a great option in a pinch. Don't rely on this one regularly, though. The combination of whey protein and use of carrageenan can cause bloating in those with sensitive stomachs.
SlimFast High Protein Vanilla Cream, 10 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||1.5 g|
The classic weight-loss shake got an additional injection of protein, doubling the old amount while slashing sugar content. The newest version of the long-lived shake comes in creamy vanilla and milk chocolate, so you'll have to go with lower protein if you want something more creative like cappuccino. The key to the best tasting shake possible: always chill it thoroughly.
EAS AdvantEDGE Carb Control Cafe Caramel, 11 fl oz
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g|
Though we're not huge fans of some of the filler ingredients, like carrageenan, we love that this shake packs 17 grams of vegan plant-based protein into a container that can be thrown in your work or gym bag. The heft of essential minerals is a bonus when you're on the go and don't have time to sit down to a balanced meal.
Zevia Ginger Root Beer
12 fl oz, 0 calories, 0 g sugar
Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Erythritol, Reb A (Stevia Extract), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Monk Fruit Extract
This small company, founded by soda-loving parents who wanted something healthier for their children, distributes a variety of classic flavors, from cola to ginger ale to grape, without using artificial sweeteners or artificial colors. Instead, they're sweetened with the sugar alcohol Erythritol. "The upside is that sugar alcohols are not as artificial as some of their counterparts in the low/zero calorie sugar industry," says Smith, "but they can cause gastrointestinal upset like gas a diarrhea when consumed in excess—although some say that erythritol may be better tolerated than other sugar alcohols. The other plus," she continues, "is that unlike other sweeteners—specifically artificial sweeteners—they are not thousands of times sweeter than sugar, so they may cause less metabolic confusion in terms of sweetness as compared to caloric delivery, although more research still needed." Brilliantly, this root beer tastes like the real thing—and is clear, because there's no caramel color. And what about Diet Coke, or your favorite? See where it ranks on this list of 38 Diet Sodas—Ranked!
0 calories, 0 g sugar
Ingredients in the Black Raspberry flavor, for example: Purified Water, Black Raspberry, Other Natural Flavors from non-GMO Plants and Natural Caffeine from Coffee Beans
OK, we're totally cheating here. Hint Water isn't carbonated, cola-flavored or sold in 64-ounce Big Gulps. But these new flavored bottled waters do have 60 milligrams of caffeine, derived from coffee beans. That's more than you'll find in Diet Dr. Pepper (41 mg), Diet Coke (47 mg) or even Mountain Dew (54 mg). So you get all of the pop, with none of the calories—and each flavor is sweetened not with aspartame, but with fruit juice or spice. Try the Lemon Cayenne Hint Kick (and don't overdo it, since caffeine can dehydrate you), and you'll never go back to Diet Coke again.
11.5 fl. oz. of the Bolivia Black Cherry flavor: 5 calories, 1 g sugar
Ingredients: Filtered Carbonated Water, Bai® Proprietary Sweetener Blend™ (Erythritol, Stevia Extract), Natural Flavors, Cherry Juice Concentrate, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Fruit and Vegetable Juice (for color), Coffeefruit Extract, White Tea Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate.
Founded by coffee guru Ben Weiss in his Princeton basement, Bai5, a new line of all-natural fruity drinks with exotic flavors, is forecast to rack up $125 million in sales this year. We can see why: Their Bubbles line—with flavors like Guatemala Guava, Jamaica Blood Orange and Bolivia Black Cherry—are the definitive Drink This on this list of Not That!s. Sweetened with fruit juice, erythritol and stevia (not aspartame) and powered by 45 mg of caffeine, thanks to the tea and coffeefruit, they're delicious enjoyed straight-up or as a mixer. Interestingly, rather that beat Bai5, one soda titan joined them: the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, who once only distributed the product, bought a stake in the company this past April. Meet the Best Diet Soda in America! And to blast even more fat, don't miss these 30 Skinny Secrets from the World's Sexiest Women!
Having trouble finding an affordable pinot noir? Blame Hollywood! According to economists, the 2004 movie Sideways completely reversed the wine's falling price, with the most dramatic increase in $20 to $40 wines. Also contributing to the hype: Multiple studies have demonstrated that pinot noir consistently contain the highest levels of resveratrol among wines— and resveratrol has been shown to blast fat. One study found that pinot had more than five times the amount found in California cabernet sauvignon.
While it has the lightest body and tannins of the classic red grapes, pinot can possess a haunting variety of flavors: berries, cola, tea, mushroom, even hints of barnyard. As the lead character Miles eloquently observed, there is something magical about pinot noir.
Sam Adams Light
In a recent Eat This, Not That! taste test, we rounded up all of the light beers we could find that ranked among the top 20 most purchased beers in America. we managed to track down all but Busch Light and Michelob Ultra and filled in the rest of the list with light beers we felt would be missed if they weren't included. You know, the household names that don't have the really big advertising bucks behind them. We ended up with a solid list of 13 brews. Of the 13, Sam Adams Light ranked numero uno. It was lauded for its discernable nutty flavor and relatively full body. One tester even noted that it "tasted like something I might find in a nice beer garden!" To find out which other tasty beers topped our list, check out the full report on the Best Light Beers in America.
While booze shouldn't be part of your daily weight loss diet, downing a drink every now and again won't throw you far off track — so long as you order smart. Every Mad Men fan knows that Don Draper favors the Old Fashioned. And just so long as you don't sip them to his level of excess, the 119-calorie low-sugar drink can keep you on the track toward your better body goal. Not a fan of whiskey? Check out these other delicious, low-calorie cocktails.
And the Best Drink in America Is…Water
You may feel trendy with a bottle of vitamin-enhanced water in your hand, but that brightly-hued liquid probably isn't improving your health. Most vitamin-infused H20 is just colored sugar water with some vitamins tossed in—bad news when you consider that Americans take in about 355 calories of added sugar every day. If you want vitamins, get them from vitamin supplements or, better yet, from whole foods (wild salmon, for example, is loaded with energy-boosting vitamin B-12). And if you want water, get it from, well, water. Nature's beverage is calorie-free, cost-free and will take care of all your hydration needs.