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Feed Your Face: Drink This/Not That!

By Dr Jessica Wu

High-sugar drinks can really mess up your diet, not to mention your skin. Studies show that more than a third of our daily calories come from drinks (look up the number of calories in a Frappuccino or Vitaminwater!). Now, however, there’s another reason to pay close attention to your liquid calories. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 showed that people who drank 100 fewer calories a day lost more weight over six months than those who reduced their solid food intake by the same number of calories. Those who cut out sugar-sweetened drinks lost the most weight -- one reason could be that a high fructose content, found in many sweetened drinks, may promote fat storage. Here’s what to drink:

Tea. Especially green tea, which has zero calories and contains antioxidants that have been shown to help fight sunburn and sun damage. In particular, green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that have been shown to heighten metabolism and reduce body fat. Try to avoid presweetened green tea drinks that have more sugar than antioxidants. For extra flavor, brew your own, add peach slices or mint leaves, and pour over ice.

Water. I admit, I don’t drink much plain water (I find it so boring). But I always have a pitcher of filtered water with cucumber and lemon slices in the fridge, and at work I keep bottles of Metromint, which is unsweetened and flavored with mint essence (my favorite is Chocolatemint).

Steer clear of these:

Sweetened coffee drinks. Most of these are packed with sugar and dairy (also bad for acne). If you’re a fan of Starbucks drinks, find out exactly what you’re consuming by checking the nutrition content at starbucks.com. For example, a Venti Mocha Frappuccino has 470 calories and 77 grams of sugar. If you must, ask for skim milk or soy, and skip the whipped cream and caramel or chocolate sauce.

Sweet cocktails. Many pretty, fruity cocktails are made with juices, simple syrup (sugar water), or sugary liqueurs (like Triple Sec). If you can’t resist, at least ask the bartender to skip the simple syrup and sugared rim, and drink a club soda in between drinks.

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