Are you drinking your calories?

drinking your caloriesThe phrase “drinking your calories” refers to the way drinking sugary drinks, from Mountain Dew to margaritas, can have a huge negative impact on your calorie intake. Ultimately, drinking your calories leads to an excess of calories, which leads straight to weight gain. Most diets will say it plainly: if you drink sugary drinks normally, stop.

Dr. Dirk agrees. “My patients hear me tell them to get rid of sodas, energy drinks and fruit juices and substitute them for something easily available: water!”

The New York City public school system put this age-old advice to the test with their elementary and middle school students. They found that simply offering a healthy alternative, water, can make a difference.

Researchers installed water dispensers in the cafeterias of some NYC schools. Those with the water jets saw a reduction in standardized body mass index, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of being overweight, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Considering that nearly 40 percent of all children in New York City are overweight or obese, these changes signal positive progress. The school system has made other health-conscious changes as well, like expanding fruit and vegetable offerings at lunch.

Improving the health of our children is a first step toward a healthier society and can help head off health problems like obesity or diabetes later in life.

Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk, said, “he hopes to see substitutions like this in the future, and not just with water. He sees opportunity for other things too, like providing alternatives to high-calorie foods in the lunch lines.”

His best advice to parents is to expose their children to as many foods as possible. The pickier a child is, the more likely they will be to gravitate toward high-calorie foods. Dr. Dirk also recommends parents and children make time for physical play or exercise with their children.

Childhood obesity leads to teenager obesity,” Dr. Dirk says. “Once obesity gets its grip on the human body, it is very difficult to eliminate.”