No need to spend money on expensive juices or supplements.
Most people are aware that cutting out sugary soda can help you make significant progress toward your weight loss goals. (This explains why soda sales are declining year after year—we’re getting pretty good at it!) However, it is not only soft drinks that can cause the scale to rise. Other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) such as fruit juices and sports drinks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can account for hundreds of unnecessary calories in your diet and lead to weight gain. According to the CDC, SSBs are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet.
While weight gain is one of the side effects, this statistic carries even more dire implications for conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay, and cavities. In other words, whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, cleaning up your daily drink menu is a good idea.
If you are, certain low-calorie drinks can help by increasing your metabolism, stabilizing your blood sugars, and controlling cravings, among other health benefits. That’s not to say these drinks are magical concoctions that will speed up your progress overnight. However, if you plan to lose weight through other lifestyle changes, these 15 healthy drinks may become a staple in your journey.
Water may appear to be a no-brainer because, well, it has no calories! However, H2O has additional properties that make it extremely beneficial for weight loss. Researchers discovered that drinking water can increase your resting energy expenditure (or the number of calories burned while sitting) by up to 24-30% within 10 minutes.
Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.C.E.S., author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, back up those assertions. “Drinking enough water daily can help to promote improved energy levels and mood,” she says. “Drinking water before meals can also help you feel more satisfied, promoting portion control and possible weight loss.”
Many people confuse hunger with thirst. Next time you feel the urge to snack, try drinking a glass of water first and see how you feel.
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Green tea contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that are thought to help boost metabolism and burn fat. The most well-known of these catechins is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been studied as a particularly effective metabolic booster when combined with caffeine, a stimulant that may increase calorie expenditure.
However, registered nutritionist James Collier, R.Nutr., warns that while catechins may be beneficial, “the amount you’d have to consume for even a minor effect would be significant and sustained.”
Nonetheless, Palinski-Wade claims that hot beverages, in general, produce more intense feelings of satiety, “which can help promote weight management.”
Apple cider vinegar
Acetic acid is the main weight-loss ingredient in apple cider vinegar. It has the potential to improve metabolism and lower insulin levels, which is enormous. According to Palinski-Wade, “one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day has been shown to improve blood glucose levels after meals and may help to increase the feeling of satiety, which can lead to fewer calories consumed and potential weight loss.”
According to one study on people with type 1 diabetes, apple cider vinegar slows the rate at which food empties from your stomach, so Palinski suggested Wade’s single spoonful may be worth a shot. However, be aware that drinking acidic beverages can erode your teeth and aggravate heartburn.
The role of this potent root in weight loss is more concerned with reversing symptoms that frequently prevent people from losing weight. In other words, it isn’t directly related to weight loss, but it can alleviate some bodily stressors that may stymie your weight loss efforts.
Ginger, for example, contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and other stressors. Ginger has the potential to lower “bad” cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels due to a compound called gingerol. According to some studies, drinking ginger water before meals can help your stomach feel full.
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Water with fennel
Fennel water is beneficial because it relieves indigestion, which can contribute to weight gain in some cases. Fennel seeds’ antibacterial properties will help you maintain a healthy gut and process food more easily. Despite what some health experts claim, scientists are still investigating whether fennel is an effective appetite suppressant. Regardless, if you enjoy the flavor of licorice, fennel tea could be a nice, sweet, low-calorie sip.
Water with lemon
It has not been proven that lemon water boosts metabolism or detoxification. However, adding some lemon juice to your water is a great low-calorie way to flavor what many people consider to be a boring beverage. So, if you’re having trouble drinking enough water throughout the day, try squeezing this fruit into your beverage. Lemon juice is also high in vitamin C, which can boost your immune system, increase iron absorption, and lower your risk of certain cancers.
Water with ajwain
Ajwain or carom seeds have been used in Ayurvedic practices to treat ulcers and indigestion, which can contribute to weight gain and bloating. Carom seeds are said to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can kill any bugs in your digestive tract. More research is needed to determine its direct effect on weight loss, but ajwain tea may have some overall positive effects on digestive health.
Try dumping some protein powder into your morning shakes if you want to feel full. Protein is a macronutrient that keeps your stomach full. It stimulates hormones such as GLP-1, which reduces hunger and decreases ghrelin, a hormone that regulates your appetite.
Palinski-Wade adds that because protein requires more calories to digest than other macronutrients, including enough of it in your diet may result in a slight increase in the total calories your body burns each day. “Adequate protein also helps the body maintain lean muscle mass, which accounts for a significant portion of overall metabolism,” she says.
So, whether it’s whey, pea, hemp, or rice protein, go with whatever works best for your digestive system. However, read the labels to ensure that you are not consuming a product that contains too much sugar or any harmful ingredients.
Black tea, like green tea, contains caffeine (about 47 mg), a stimulant thought to increase calorie expenditure. However, black tea is distinct in that it contains a high concentration of polyphenols. These compounds have the potential to lower calorie intake, boost healthy bacteria in the gut, and promote fat breakdown.
Although fruit juice is high in sugar, fresh vegetable juice is a great low-carb drink. Many people are aware that vegetable juice is high in vitamins and nutrients that are essential for good health. However, researchers have discovered that people who consume a lot of vegetable juice increase their vegetable consumption. This could help a person lose weight, especially since vegetables contain a lot of fiber, which can help stave off hunger pangs.
Cumin, the spice that gives curry its flavor, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to an active ingredient known as thymoquinone. If you’re feeling heavy and bloated, cumin tea may help. Cumin can also lower blood sugar and LDL cholesterol levels, which may impair an individual’s ability to exercise safely. While some studies have suggested that cumin is a good weight loss supplement, more research is needed to confirm its direct effectiveness.
Coffee contains the most caffeine (about 95 mg per cup) when compared to black and green teas. Caffeine, as previously stated, is a stimulant that can increase the number of calories you burn. Coffee also contains theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid, which are all known to affect metabolism.
“The antioxidants found in coffee may also help to curb inflammation, which can cause weight gain in some people,” explains Palinski-Wade. But if you add cream and sugar, you won’t get those benefits. “That may have a greater impact on weight gain rather than weight loss,” she adds.
Unfortunately, coffee’s calorie-burning properties do not last forever—coffee drinkers become tolerant to these effects over time. As a result, it should not be relied on.
Almost nothing tastes better after a hard workout than a tall bottle of something cold and refreshing. Many sports drinks are designed to refuel athletes who engage in high-intensity exercise for an hour or more. This frequently means they contain an excessive amount of sugar, which is not required for the average exercising adult attempting to lose weight. So, if you’re not training for the New York City Marathon or anything else that requires strenuous exercise, try coconut water. Pure coconut water has less sugar and five important electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Cherry juice with a tartness
“Tart cherry juice has been linked to improved quality and quantity of sleep due to its high melatonin content,” explains Palinski-Wade. “Because sleep deprivation can cause changes in hunger and satiety hormones and lead to excess calorie consumption, tart cherry juice may help fight this and thus promote a healthy body weight.”
Just keep in mind that the drink contains 25 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving, so use it sparingly.
Psyllium husk soaked in water
When you mix this soluble fiber with water, it turns into a liquid-y gel that you can add to smoothies or slurp on its own. Fiber, in general, is extremely beneficial when it comes to staying full and reducing how much you eat.
According to Palinski-Wade, multiple studies (including this one from 2016) have found psyllium husk to be particularly effective at keeping people satisfied between meals. Collier cautions, however, that “it has been shown that getting fiber from whole foods, such as oats and beans, has more beneficial health effects.”
Consult your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of psyllium husk gel for you.
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