5 quick ways to cut calories from your diet

Drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to weight gain and the risks that come with it. Here are five easy ways to cut liquid calories from your diet.

By Dr. Ali Zentner

5 quick ways to cut calories
©istockphoto.com/tzara
The following tips will help you redecorate your calorie drinking. Remember that each of the steps can be done over a few weeks to a month. I suggest that you make one change once a month and build upon each one.

1. Cut out all juice.
Manufacturers make you think it's healthy for you, all full of pulp, vitamins and natural ingredients, but when you juice a fruit you take away all of the fibre, leaving only sugar and some vitamins. In fact, the juice contained in fruits is nature's way of getting you to eat the fibre in the first place! Remember, juice is just pop with a multivitamin.

2. If you must drink pop, switch to diet pop.
Make no mistake – diet pop has its own controversies, and water is always best, but to tell someone who drinks three cans of pop a day to switch to water is unrealistic. Perhaps a better "weaning process" is to move from regular pop to diet pop, and then after a while move to water.

3. Say no to fancy coffees.

Choose lower-calorie alternatives. Get rid of the whipped cream, switch to low-fat milk and use sugar-free sweeteners. Find a way to lower the calories in the drinks you like by cutting the quantity and trimming the fat and sugar.

4. Downsize your sugary drinks.
Size does matter, so if you are drinking a large, switch to a medium for a few weeks, and then ultimately to a small. You'll eliminate anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories just by downsizing, depending on the drink.

5. What about alcohol?
Alcohol is full of empty calories. If you have to have a drink before dinner, try and stick with a lower-calorie alternative. Mixed drinks are the worst offenders; a piña colada has 645 calories per serving, a margarita has up to 450 calories, and vodka and cranberry juice can have up to 200 calories.

Alternatively, you can use a sugar-free or lower-calorie mixer. For example, vodka with club soda and lemon juice would contain far fewer calories than vodka and orange juice. Finally, as a rule, try to restrict your alcohol consumption to no more than one to two drinks per week.

Click here for more tips on how to cut back on your liquid calories.

Hate exercising? We have a dozen ways that make working out fun.

From The Weight-Loss Prescription: A Doctor's Plan for Permanent Weight Reduction and Better Health for Life by Ali Zentner, MD. Copyright © Ali Zentner, 2013. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Group (Canada), a Division of Pearson Canada Inc.



All rights reserved. Transcontinental Media G.P. © 2014