The mistakes you might be making with beverages

Last Modified: 2/03/2022

There are numerous approaches to weight loss and maintenance, many of which involve tracking your food in order to observe and address trends, and eliminate unwanted calories and macronutrients. One category often overlooked in this process, is liquids. From water to soda and everything in between, it’s common to forget to count the fluids, which can lead to setbacks toward your goals. We asked Amanda Sytsma, RDN, CD, Parkview Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, to share some thoughts on the popular pitfalls and where to make positive changes.

What are some of the common mistakes people make with drinks?

A lot of times, people forget to consider calories from beverages when they are trying to lose weight. Depending on the drinks you choose, they could be one of the main culprits contributing to weight gain. Fancy, high sugar coffee beverages and regular soda could contribute a meal’s worth of calories. If you’re including these items in your diet, you should always choose the smallest size possible.  

What are some of the biggest offenders?
  • Fancy coffee beverages – A medium caramel frappuccino runs about 420 calories and contains 66g of sugar verses a black coffee which has less than 5 calories total.
  • Soda – A regular cola beverage (12oz) contains about 140 calories and 39g of sugar verses a diet soda which is 0 calories. An important note: If you are focusing strictly on calories, diet soda is a better option, however, all soda can increase cravings for sweet treats and should be consumed in moderation.
  • Sweet tea – A 30oz sweet tea has about 160 calories and 38g of sugar verses regular iced tea or iced tea with stevia, which has less than 5 calories. 

Per the American Heart Association, a woman should limit added sugar to 25g daily (equivalent of less than 6 teaspoons daily) and a man should limit added sugar to 36g daily (equivalent of less than 9 teaspoons daily). 

How does alcohol affect weight?

Alcohol is a calorie-dense (7 calories per gram) beverage which does not provide any essential nutrients, and often displaces more nutritious foods. 

Alcohol intake guidelines are one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men. If you are going to consume alcohol, dry wine offers fewer calories than dessert or regular wine. Here are the calorie counts for more popular alcohol beverages:




Beer, regular



Beer, light



Liquor, 80 proof



Wine, dry



Bloody Mary




What is the role of water and how much should we be consuming to maintain a healthy weight?

Water is an essential nutrient. It helps regulate body temperature and carry important nutrients throughout the body. Plain water is always the best option, and should be consumed until your urine is colorless or about 64oz/day.

It’s important to remember that caffeine acts as a diuretic and can lead to dehydration. Whatever volume you drink in caffeinated beverage should be replaced in water or a water-like beverage. 


Need assistance?

Contact us