Sugary drink, alcoholic drink, light drink, coffee, tea… drinks have their own caloric content, but are also associated differently with calories from the rest of the diet. Some drinks “trick you into eating high-calorie foods that you otherwise wouldn’t eat.
This study gives an overview of the direct contribution of different drinks to calorie intake. Some drinks actually cause you to eat things you wouldn’t otherwise eat and therefore increase calorie intake. The data collected focus on the associations between beverages and the consumption of foods that have no nutritional need and are of high energy density. It covers no less than 22,513 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 2003 to 2012.
Alcoholic beverages make people consume richer foods
The results show that alcoholic beverages lead the increase in energy intake associated with beverages, with 385 kcal/day, followed by sugary drinks (226 kcal/d), coffee (108 kcal/d) light drinks (69 kcal/d) and tea (64 kcal/d). For light drinks and coffee, this energy increase is greater than the intrinsic energy intake of the drinks, respectively 15 and 19 kcal/d. Consumers of light drinks and coffee have a higher caloric intake from food than those who consume sugary drinks.
Choosing the right drink when you want to control your weight
This association between diet drinks and consuming more calories from high-calorie foods than sugar-sweetened drinkers should be interpreted with caution. It does not mean that it is better to consume sugary drinks, because even if the latter are less associated with the intake of rich foods, the sugar they provide is far from negligible. The consumption of light drinks, although harmful to health, compared to that of sugary drinks, is associated with a lower total caloric intake.
Ruopeng An: Beverage Consumption in Relation to Discretionary Food Intake and Diet Quality among US Adults, 2003 to 2012. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics