Liquid Calories

liquid calories,

How Liquid Calories Might Be Making You Fat!

By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

At least seven scientific studies provide compelling evidence that energy containing beverages (i.e. "liquid calories") do not properly activate the satiety mechanisms in the body and brain meaning that they don't satisfy your appetite as well as solid food.

Research also indicates a positive association between liquid food forms and increased body weight or body mass index (BMI).

New research suggests that carbonated soda drinks may not be the only culprits.

The main liquid calorie source in the North American diet is soda. Running a close second are specialty coffees. Do you know that a 16 ounce Frappucino has about 500 calories!? That’s one-third of a typical female’s total daily calorie intake (if she's on a fat loss program).

A recent study from Purdue University published in the International Journal of Obesity set out to learn more about the bodyfat - liquid calories relationship.

liquid calories,

Researchers compared solid and beverage forms of foods made up of carbohydrates, fat or protein in order to document the effects of the food form in foods with different macronutrient sources.

Based on previous research, experts have suggested that specific beverages are "worse" than others. Soda has been singled out the most.

There’s no question that soda has been on the "hit list" for quite a while now, because it's consumed most frequently and widely.

However, this recent study states that we should be cautious about ALL types of energy-containing drinks, not just soda and not just carbohydrates!

Fruit juice for example, is an obvious improvement over soda, so many people have substituted their soda with a fruit juice. However, when fruit juice is compared to an equal amount of calories from a whole fruit source, the whole fruit satisfies appetite much better (due to its bulk and fiber content).

If you were to track your calories from beverages and you made sure that your calories remained the same throughout the day, whether liquid or solid, there would probably be little or no change in your body composition.

However, that’s not what happens in free-living humans. Most people are likely to inaccurately track their caloric intake. Our most common mistake is that we usually drink liquid calories IN ADDITION TO our food intake, not instead of it.

This applies to men, especially when they drink alcohol - men tend to drink AND eat, while women tend to usually drink INSTEAD OF eating.

This new research found that with all three macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - daily calorie intake was significantly higher when liquid calories were consumed compared to solid forms.

Yes! Even whey protein drinks didn't satisfy the appetite the way that solid protein foods did!

While its easy to assume that protein drinks are good, because protein foods reduce appetite and increase satiety, if you transform a solid protein food into a protein drink, it will lose it’s appetite-suppressing properties. The same happens when you turn fruit into fruit juice. However, I must note that after weight training workouts, liquid calorie nutrition has benefits that outweigh any downside, especially if you're on a muscle-gaining program.

Why do liquid calories fail to get the same response as solid foods? Here are the reasons:

  • high calorie density
  • lower satiety
  • more calories ingested faster (shorter time span)
  • very little demand for oral processing
  • short gastrointestinal transit time
  • energy in beverages has greater bioaccessibility and bioavailability
  • mechanisms may include cognitive, digestive, metabolic, endocrine and neural influences (human appetite is complex!)
  • nowhere in our history have our ancestors consumed large amounts of liquid calories. Alcohol has been around several thousand years, but even that is a simply a tiny blip on the humanity's evolutionary calendar.
In result, our genetic code never developed the physiological mechanisms to properly register caloric content from liquids the way it does when we eat, chew and swallow whole foods.

Thus, the Purdue University study suggests that we shouldn’t just single out liquid calories such as soda. If you’re trying to get rid of body fat, it’s a good idea to limit all types of liquid calories and try to eat whole foods.

Start by getting rid of the soda. Then ditch high-calorie coffees. Then cut-down on alcohol consumption. From there, be cautious about milk, juice and protein drinks also. Drink more water or tea.

If you do opt for a beverage that contains calories, such as whey protein shakes, make sure to account for those calories and don’t drink them in addition to your usual food intake, - drink them instead of a regular food meal. Protein shakes are "meal replacements" not "free calories!"

For many years I've suggested focusing on whole foods rather than liquid calories. Unlike many other fat reduction programs, my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle system doesn't require any kind of liquid meal replacement drinks and our company does not exist to sell supplements. We are here to educate people about the realities of body fat loss.


liquid calories,

About the Author

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer.

Tom is the author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle", which teaches people how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models.

Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting

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