I wrote a couple years ago about how drinking sugar water can lead to weight gain, because your body does not feel as full when you consume the calories in a liquid form. The Kansas City infoZine News has an article this week that covers some research into why we do not feel as full when we drink an equivalent number of calories compared to when we eat those calories.
Scientists offer several explanations as to why we may not notice calories from some beverages. A drink’s rapid passage through the mouth provides less time for signals to trigger the brain you are eating. Compared to beverages, solid food seems to provide more of a feeling of fullness, which signals the brain to stop eating. Thick liquids (like smoothies and shakes) provide considerably more fullness signals than thin liquids, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, and sweetened tea and coffee. As portion sizes of calorie-dense beverages increase, it is easier to gulp down larger amounts than to eat larger portions of solid foods. Finally, some researchers suggest that there may be a psychological component, too. Many of us consider beverages a separate category that does not “count” in the same way as solid food.
This all makes sense to me. If you are concerned with weight loss, then you should be replacing almost all of your soda intake with water, and the majority of your fruit drinks with water as well. If you are not going to feel any more satiated after drinking beverages with more calories, then you need to consider what you are consuming and what your goals are.
Even when you are not trying to lose weight, it makes sense to try to drink more water than other types of beverages. I rely on my body to tell me how hungry that I am and how much I should be consuming, and now I have yet one more reason to stick to water throughout my day. Drinking a gallon+ of water every day is probably one of the reasons that I have managed to maintain such a steady weight over the past 6 or 7 years. Specifically, my weight was within a 5 pound span for almost the entire year.
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight should be something that anybody who hopes to compete in any sport should strive to maintain, and being able to rely upon your body to tell you when it has had enough to eat certainly makes that easier. What are your drinking habits like? Do you carry a water bottle everywhere? Or do you drink soda or sports drinks all day?