We all know that there are certain healthy low-calorie foods that promote weight loss and others that do the exact opposite. Weight loss-friendly foods include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, chili peppers, nuts, fruit, legumes, beans, boiled potatoes, whole grains, chia seeds, eggs, cottage cheese, full-fat yogurt, salmon, tuna, chicken, lean beef, and coconut oil.
When it comes to gaining weight, on the other hand, some foods, such as protein smoothies, rice, nuts, starchy vegetables, berries, whole grain bread, healthy cereals, dark chocolate, milk, cheese, fatty fish, and red meat, will help you gain weight in a healthy manner, while others, including ice creams, takeaway pizzas, cookies, donuts, french fries, potato chips, milk chocolate, and processed foods are highly fattening and not in a healthy way.
While we tend to keep an eye on weight loss (and gain) foods, we tend to forget about beverages. Doing so is a mistake, as we tend to drink just as much as we eat per day – and most beverages also come with a certain amount of calories.
In this article, we will explore the most weight loss-friendly beverages. However, before we do so, let’s take a look at the beverages you absolutely need to avoid in order to lose weight.
Highly fattening beverages include:
Sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas are full of empty calories, but they don’t add any essential nutrients to your diet. In comparison to fattening foods, sugary drinks don’t make you feel as full and allow you to consume much larger amounts of calories without even realizing it. As such, sugary sodas are probably the most fattening thing you can consume. Several studies have shown that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas are much more likely to gain weight than those that don’t. Another study has found that people who eat their regular diet and add soda consume approximately 17% more calories. In addition to being highly fattening, drinking soda is also linked to many other health issues, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Drinking plain coffee is fine and healthy. Adding sugar or syrup, however, can turn it into a drink with huge amounts of calories. In fact, store-bought sugar-sweetened coffee can contain as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola. According to several studies, drinking it may result in weight gain and other health issues.
Fruit juices are often considered a healthy drink – after all, they are made of fruit, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Most commercial fruit juices contain just as much sugar and empty calories as soda and in comparison to whole fruits, they have little nutritional value. Studies have shown that drinking fruit juice can result in obesity, especially in children. Opting for whole fruits is a much healthier and weight loss-friendly choice. If you wish to stick to fruit juices, opt for unsweetened 100% fruit juices and make sure not to drink more than 5 ounces (150 ml) a day.
Alcoholic beverages are also full of empty calories and thus incredibly fattening. The world’s most fattening alcoholic beverages include beer, mulled wine, and most of all, cocktails, which not only contain alcoholic beverages but also sodas and sweetened juices. In addition to increasing your risk of obesity, drinking large amounts of alcoholic drinks is also linked to several other health issues.
As there are some calorie-packed drinks that promote weight gain, luckily, there are also some healthy low-calorie weight loss-friendly drinks. In order to lose weight, make sure to minimize the amount of fattening beverages listed above and maximize the amount of the 12 best science-backed weight-loss drinks listed below.
First, there is water. Plain water is the obvious weight-loss choice. Not only does it have zero calories, but drinking lots of water will also make you feel full and thus help you eat less and increase the number of calories you burn. In addition, drinking lots of water is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.
One of the simplest things to do if you wish to lose weight is to have a glass of water before every meal which will help you feel full. A 2011 study has shown that those who drank 500 ml or 17 ounces of water before every meal while following a low-calorie diet lost 44% more weight over 12 weeks than the individuals following the same diet that didn’t drink water before meals.
Drinking cold water has been found to increase your resting energy expenditure – the number of calories you burn while resting. A study with overweight children has shown that the number of calories they burn while resting increased by up to 25% for 40 minutes after drinking 10 ml of cold water per kilogram of body weight.
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages in the world. It is full of healthy antioxidants and other amazing nutrients, plus, it is one of those weight loss drinks that work fast.
Several studies have shown that drinking green tea can help you decrease body weight and fat. A review of numerous studies has confirmed that people who drank high-concentration green tea for 12 weeks lost 02. To 3.5kg or 0.44 to 7.7 pounds more weight than those who didn’t drink green tea at all.
While experts aren’t certain of what makes green tea a great homemade weight loss drink, they suspect it has something to do with the high amounts of catechins found in the beverage, which may increase both body metabolism and fat burning.
As Matcha green tea contains even more catechins than other types of green tea, according to studies, it is even more beneficial when it comes to weight loss. In fact, a 2018 study has shown that women who consumed 3 grams of matcha a day boosted their fat burning during exercise in comparison to those who didn’t drink matcha tea.
Green tea also contains caffeine, a compound that can promote weight loss by boosting energy levels and increasing workout performance.
Like green tea, black tea also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can increase calorie expenditure, improve performance during exercise, and speed up metabolism.
Unlike green tea, black tea is also rich in polyphenols, including flavonoids – compounds that can reduce calorie intake, boost the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, and support fat breakdown.
A study with 111 individuals found that people who drank 3 cups of black tea a day for 3 months lost more weight than people who didn’t. Another study with 2734 women demonstrated that women with higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods and drinks had much less body and belly fat than those who consume fewer flavonoids.
Coffee contains even more caffeine than green and black teas – approximately 95 mg per cup. As caffeine is a stimulant that can increase metabolism, decrease calorie intake, promote fat burning, and boost calorie burning, coffee is a great weight loss drink.
Coffee is also packed with theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid – compounds that have a powerful effect on metabolism. However, these effects are short-lived, as coffee drinkers become tolerant to them in time.
Still, once you lose weight, it seems to be easier to keep it down for coffee drinkers. A large study with 2600 participants has shown that coffee drinkers are considerably more successful in maintaining weight loss over time than people that don’t drink coffee.
Ginger is a powerful root with countless health benefits. When it comes to weight loss, ginger seems to reverse symptoms that tend to hinder people from losing weight. It contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties known for preventing cardiovascular issues and stressors.
Ginger is also rich in gingerol, which can improve blood sugar levels and reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol.
In addition, drinking ginger water or tea before meals can help you feel full and eat less. It helps reduce appetite and increase calorie expenditure.
A study with 10 overweight men has shown that when they drank 2 grams of dissolved ginger powder with breakfast, they felt less hungry. Ginger tea has also been shown to increase the thermic effect of food or in other words the number of calories needed to digest the food and absorb the nutrients by 43 calories.
Some claim that lemon water can help increase metabolism and detoxification, however, these claims are not proven.
What is certain is that adding a few drops of lemon juice to a glass of water will make the water taste better and add healthy nutrients (lemon is packed with vitamin C) while keeping the calories down to a minimum.
As a bonus, vitamin C is known to improve immunity, increase iron absorption, and help reduce the risk of many age-related diseases, including some types of cancer.
Indigestion can contribute to weight gain and fennel water has been shown to reduce indigestion and thus prevent weight gain.
Fennel seeds are rich in antibacterial properties, which have been proven to support gut health and digestion.
Some people even claim that fennel is very effective in suppressing appetite. However, those claims require additional research.
What is certain is that homemade fennel water is a healthy yet rather tasty drink with low calories.
Coconut water is a great weight loss drink option, especially for those who also engage in regular moderate physical activity.
Most sports drinks are designed to refuel people who participate in long high-intensity exercise and thus contain lots of sugar. In case you didn’t just run a marathon, you should opt for coconut water instead, as it contains less sugar and five vital electrolytes – calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Fruit juice is associated with weight gain. Drinking vegetable juice, on the other hand, seems to be a great low-calorie weight loss drink.
A study has shown that adult that drank 16 ounces of low-sodium vegetable juice while also following a low-calorie diet lost a lot more weight who those who did not. Drinking vegetable juice also increased their vegetable consumption and decreased their intake of carbohydrates, which resulted in weight loss.
As lots of fiber is lost in the juicing process, it is even better to consume whole vegetables. Still, vegetable juice is a healthy low-calorie drink that contains lots of vitamins and other nutrients that support your overall health.
Cumin is a tasty and very healthy spice. It contains an active ingredient called thymoquinone, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, cumin tea is a great home remedy for bloating and constipation.
Cumin is also known for lowering blood sugar and LDL cholesterol levels, thus it supports a person’s ability to exercise safely.
Some studies have shown that cumin may also be a great weight loss supplement, however, the findings are not yet fully confirmed and more research is required.
Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks
Apple cider vinegar is a miraculous drink when it comes to weight loss. It is rich in acetic acid – a compound that has been shown to promote weight loss by improving metabolism, lowering insulin levels, decreasing appetite, and burning fat.
Studies have shown that acetic acid can prevent weight gain in animals and there is also some evidence that it is effective in supporting human weight loss.
A 2009 study with 144 obese adults has shown that drinking a beverage with 2 tablespoons of vinegar per day caused significant body weight and belly fat loss.
Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to help us feel fuller for a longer period of time, as it slows the rate at which the food empties from the stomach, and curb cravings.
Nevertheless, as drinking beverages with apple cider vinegar may aggravate heartburn and erode teeth, it should be consumed sparingly and followed by rinsing with water.
Drinks and shakes high in protein have multiple promising effects when it comes to losing weight. They can help you decrease hunger and appetite and promote fullness.
A study has shown that protein increases the levels of GLP-1 and other hunger-reducing hormones and decreases the levels of ghrelin – an appetite-boosting hormone.
A study with 90 overweight adults discovered that people who consumed 56 grams of whey protein a day for 23 weeks lost approximately 5 pounds or 2.3 kilograms more fat than the people who consumed no protein drinks but the same amount of calories. Instead of whey, you can also opt for pea or hemp protein powders, which seem to have the same effect.