Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Orange Juice Fattening?

I'm dieting and exercising on a daily basis, but I was wondering, besides water, what other liquids can I drink that are healthy? I love orange juice, but which juices are healthy?  April K.

Hi April,

That's a good question. People are aware of the fact that sodas and sweetened teas contain lots of sugar that just adds needless calories. And many people are also wary of drinking several diet beverages a day. After all, these artificial sweeteners were initially intended to supply just one or two servings a day, and if you're drinking 8 cans you're venturing into some other territory.

So, what can you drink that adds very few, if any, calories and also has a flavor in case the water gets boring? The answer is flavored water. Not the kind you buy for $2 a bottle that adds vitamins and sugar and more artificial sweeteners! The kind you make yourself.

What flavors do you like? If you like orange juice, it's a great source of vitamin C. But the serving size used to be 4 ounces and provided about 40 calories. Now there are tremendously large-sized glasses and people easily pour a 12-ounce glass of juice to the tune of 120 calories.

The solution? Pour 2 ounces of orange juice into 6 ounces of water! Now you have the light flavor of orange juice, the hydration of an 8-ounce glass of water, and some vitamin C--all for only 20 calories. And you can do this twice and still contribute only 40 calories to your energy intake for the day. This works well with all juices. Another great idea is slicing up some fresh fruit (apples, kiwi, oranges, etc) and putting them into a pitcher of water. Keep the pitcher in the refrigerator and reach for some yummy fruit essence water whenever your thirsty. This probably doesn't contribute any calories until you eat the fruit!

One more way to flavor your water is with a teabag. I steep the tea in a small amount of hot water, then add ice and more cool water for a refreshing glass of iced tea (be sure to place a metal knife or spoon in the glass so it doesn't break from the fast temperature change). If you haven't browsed through the tea aisle lately, you'll be amazed to see all the flavors: mints, flowers like jasmine and rose, fruits like blueberry and strawberry, spiced apple and even sugar cookie. I add just a touch of honey to sweeten a bit. If you like to sweeten it keep in mind that a teaspoon of sugar contributes about 16 calories. Many teas are a healthful source of antioxidants too!

Now you can drink all the tasty water you like, and still keep from overdoing your calorie intake.

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