Reducing Calories from Beverages for Weight Loss Success

When you’re working toward weight loss, it’s critical to burn more calories each day than you take in. By sustaining this caloric deficit over time, your body will burn fat and you will steadily reduce your weight.  A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 500 calorie deficit each day.  You can achieve this by eating less and moving more.  This doesn’t necessarily mean sweeping, dramatic lifestyle changes. Big changes made all at once can be difficult to sustain.  Instead, you can make smaller changes.  Eliminating bites, licks and tastes from your day is a good strategy. There are also sources of extra calories that you may not have thought about.  Here Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone bariatric surgeon, talks about calories in beverages that you can easily reduce or eliminate.

Ways to Reduce Extra Calories from Beverages

Leave sugar and cream out of your coffee to reduce daily calories.
  • Use lowfat or skim milk.  A cup of whole milk contains approximately 146 calories per cup. 2% milk has slightly less at 122 calories per cup and skim milk has only 90 per cup. You can also substitute almond milk, which has 60-80 per cup depending on whether it’s sweetened or not.

  • Drink coffee black.  A cup of coffee only has 1 calorie if you drink it black and unsweetened.  If you add two sugar packets and two containers of half-and-half, that’s about 70 more.  Fancier coffees at coffee shops can have up to 600 calories!  

  • Choose unsweetened tea.  Sweetening up your tea adds significant calories, too.  In the south, “sweet tea” sometimes has twice as much sugar as a standard soda.

  • Stick with diet soda or skip it all together.  Diet sodas typically have zero calories, whereas their full sugar counterparts can have 100-200 per serving depending on the brand.  Keep in mind that buying a larger soda means you may be getting several servings, too.

  • Minimize fruit and vegetable juice.  Fruit juice may seem like a healthier choice, but it often contains as many calories as a full-sugar soda.  

  • Skip bottle smoothies. Just as with fruit juices, companies tout bottle smoothies as healthy.  However, they contain upwards of 200-400 calories per bottle and are not very filling.

  • Prepare smoothies mindfully.  While homemade smoothies can be nutritious, they are also loaded with calories.  If you’re making your own, be sure to measure portions carefully.

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol.  Beer calories vary widely depending on the beer, but ultimately these are empty calories with no nutritional value. If you are working toward weight loss, it’s best to limit or completely eliminate alcohol from your diet.

Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Weight Loss with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Ready to begin your weight loss journey?  Contact Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program. Our medical teams provide everything from nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery. For an evaluation with Dr. Fielding, call our offices at 212-263-3166 or email