The Verdict on the Worst Drinks for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians
Just because you're trying to lose weight doesn't mean you can't enjoy your favorite delicious treats. Yet experts warn that sometimes, satisfying your sweet cravings with drinks is a lot trickier than you might realize.
"Most sweetened or unhealthier beverages are simply unnecessary because they are just providing tons of added sugar and little to no nutrients at all," says Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies and a member of our medical expert board. "So you should try to save your calories for quality food that actually provides nutrients for your body and satisfy your appetite."
If you are trying to lose weight but are still wanting to splurge on your favorite beverages, it's important to at least be aware of some of the more harmful choices out there.
Here are some of the worst drinks to choose for weight loss, and for more healthy tips for losing weight, make sure to read Drinking Habits Experts Say Help With Quicker Weight Loss.
"If you consume these on a regular basis, the calories can really add up," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and a member of our medical expert board. "Plus, these beverages can contribute to a spike in blood sugar, which usually leads to a blood sugar crash and you craving even more sugar throughout the day."
Burak warns of the store-bought smoothies that are advertised as "healthy" but are in fact loaded with ingredients that can lead to weight gain.
"Smoothies like Naked juices can contain almost 500 calories and 40 to 50 grams of sugar, and although the sugars are coming from fruit and there are some helpful nutrients in these drinks, I would advise someone who is watching their weight to avoid them," says Burak.
In fact, she even says these would be the types of drinks she'd recommend to clients who need healthy ways of gaining weight.
Need healthier options? Try one of these The 25 Best-Ever Weight Loss Smoothies.
Sugary alcoholic beverages
Alcohol alone can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess because of the extra calories and the fact that it may inhibit your food decisions later on in the evening. But on top of that, the alcoholic beverages that are loaded with sugar and added ingredients are some of the worst drinks for weight loss.
"Take a piña colada, for example," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. "Between the empty calories that come from the booze, the fat calories from the coconut, and loads of added sugars, this is certainly not a drink that will support weight loss when it is enjoyed frequently."
When it comes to those holiday parties and family gatherings this season, you may want to be mindful of the types of alcoholic beverages you're drinking when you attend.
"Clear liquor in a calorie-free beverage or a glass of wine is probably your best bet when it comes to alcohol, because calorie-loaded holiday favorites like egg nog can add up quickly and derail a weight loss goal fast," says Goodson.
Frozen coffee drinks
Sadly, your favorite frozen coffee drink may be interfering with your weight loss goals.
"The worst offenders are typically at coffee chains where frozen creamy coffee drinks and even lattes can run upwards of 500 to 1,200 calories and provide more sugar than you should have in an entire day," says Burak.
And Manaker agrees, saying that "if you aren't opting for the 'skinny' latte, sipping on frozen coffee drinks can set you back some major calories without giving your body what it needs to actually support weight loss."
So, if you're wanting that favorite holiday coffee drink, try subbing for lower-fat milk and pass on the whipped cream.
For more healthy tips, these next:
- 51 Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss
- Popular Drinks to Avoid to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk, Says Dietitian
- 73+ Best Healthy Lunch Recipes for Weight Loss