What You Drink Is Important

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what-you-drink-is-important
what-you-drink-is-important

Do you reach for food between meals because you feel hungry? Maybe your energy is low, and it feels like you are dragging yourself through the day; you need to eat, just to keep yourself going. Or are you on the coffee rollercoaster, where you lurch from one coffee to the next? What you drink can make a big difference to how you feel.

It can help bring your body into balance, or it can hinder it. It can slow your metabolism or even give it a slight boost. Some drinks reduce your ability to burn fat and make you store fat around your belly. What you drink can also affect your appetite.

Even if you don’t eat more, you may be taking in a lot of calories from your drinks, which isn’t going to help you lose weight. If you are drinking diet drinks to avoid the calories, that may be counterproductive. It may even make you gain weight.

Abigail’s story

Abigail was a bit of a coffee addict. She loved her morning coffee, then drank this stimulant throughout the day. Frequently irritable and out of sorts, she found herself being unreasonably snappy with her colleagues.

It was worse when her PMS kicked in; she felt like screaming at them over the slightest thing. So far, she had kept her snappiness under control, but sometimes wondered if it would bubble over. Already stressed, Abigail was putting an extra strain on her adrenals (which produce stress hormones) by drinking coffee.

Her female hormones and blood sugar levels were out of balance, and the coffee wasn’t helping. Cutting back on coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms. Abigail started by cutting out one mug a day. She wasn’t keen on water.

So, she decided to try having a small glass after each of her coffees. It took some time, but Abigail got down to two coffees a day. And she was gradually increasing her consumption of water. While she wasn’t keen on herbal teas, she found she liked Rooibos and had started to include a couple of cups a day. Swapping her coffee for another hot drink made it easier.

Over a few months, Abigail managed to get off the rollercoaster: drinking coffee, feeling better, then crashing and needing more. She had already made changes to her diet, so was getting the nutrients she needed to support her adrenals and was generally feeling a bit calmer. Abigail’s main concern when it came to her weight was that she was carrying it around her midriff.

This extra weight can be hard to shift, especially as the caffeine was causing her body to release cortisol. And, as we’ve looked at, this stress hormone tells your body to store belly fat. But over time, as Abigail dealt with her stress and reduced her coffee intake, she noticed it was starting to shift. Equally importantly, Abigail felt calmer, more centered, less easily thrown off balance.

Chose drinks that balance your body and make it easier to lose weight; reduce drinks that hinder this

Regardless of other factors, you can easily consume a lot of calories in drinks without realizing it. Do you drink tea or coffee throughout your day? If you add milk and/or sugar, the calories add up. Similarly, with soft drinks, fruit juices or squash. As we’ve discussed, don’t substitute diet drinks.

Water

Water is really important! Your body needs to be hydrated. We require six to eight glasses of fluid a day for our bodies to work properly.

Even slight dehydration can lower your metabolism you burn more calories if you drink eight or more eight-ounce glasses of water a day than if you drink four.

Similarly, you only have to be mildly dehydrated for your energy levels to fall. And when their energy drops, many people reach for food to keep going. Increasing the amount of water, you drink can help you lose weight.

Alcohol

Alcohol is pretty unhelpful when it comes to keeping your body in balance and losing weight. It enhances your appetite and suppresses your ability to burn fat.

The fat that is not burned is likely to be stored around your abdomen. Also, alcohol affects a number of neurochemical systems involved in appetite control.

It inhibits leptin and glucagon-like peptide-1, which suppress your appetite whilst at the same time enhancing messengers that increase your appetite, such as neuropeptide Y.

Ever had the munchies after drinking? If you drink alcohol before a meal, you are likely to eat more. Alcohol also reduces your control over what you eat. Likewise, it increases the amount of insulin you secrete, causing your blood sugar (glucose) levels to drop. (At the same time, it inhibits glucose production.)

When your blood sugar drops, this can increase the need to eat, especially sugar and refined carbs, which release their sugars quickly. Remember that imbalances in your blood sugar levels can lead to imbalances in your female hormones and increase the stress on your body.

Also, alcohol puts an additional load on your liver, which processes old hormones. If you have hormonal imbalances or have been exposed to obesogens (like we all are!), you want your liver to be working as well as possible.

Fruit juice/smoothies

The difference between smoothies (made from fresh fruit) and juices is that smoothies contain the whole fruit and vegetable, so they still have the fiber. This helps you feel fuller for longer. Juicing removes the fiber from the fruit, so the high sugar content causes your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.

If you drink fruit juice, dilute with an equal amount of water and don’t have it every day. Vegetable juices and smoothies are good for detoxifying your body. If you drink a lot of smoothies, it’s best to use organic fruit and vegetables, where possible.

Sodas/Fizzy drinks/sugary drinks

We’ve covered this topic, but it bears repeating that your body is not designed to handle artificial sweeteners, and they can cause you to gain weight. If you want a fizzy drink, try adding sparkling water to fruit juice (made just from the fruit).

Caffeinated drinks—Coffee, teas, cola and chocolate drinks

By now it’s clear that coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks contain caffeine, and that causes your blood sugar to rise. This can lead to a cycle of blood sugar highs and lows, where you need to reach for more caffeine or something sugary to keep yourself going throughout the day.

However, caffeine does not have the same impact on everyone. Caffeine may increase blood sugar and insulin levels in some people, but not in others. If you regularly drink coffee, it may have less effect on your blood sugar levels. In fact, if you drink coffee regularly, it may decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes; though this may be to do with other components of coffee rather than the caffeine.

Caffeine also increases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol you release. Cortisol increases your appetite and encourages belly fat. If you consume caffeine daily, you may release less cortisol in response to caffeine than someone who consumes it less often. But you still release cortisol.

So, what should you do about caffeine? Well, this partly depends on how it affects you. On the downside, caffeine can affect your blood sugar balance and it is not good for female hormone balance or stress.

If you want to lose weight, these are important. But on the plus side, coffee and some types of tea can boost your metabolism. Taking this all into account, if you drink coffee, it may be best to limit it to a cup or two a day. The teas that may help boost your metabolism are green, oolong and white teas. (White tea refers to the type of tea.)

White, green and oolong teas contain catechins and caffeine. It seems these components are required together to have an effect on your metabolic rate.

Green tea may increase fat-burning and metabolism. However, if you habitually consume caffeine and are Caucasian, this is likely to have less effect. If you want to use green, oolong or white tea to boost your metabolism, try cutting out the coffee and colas first.

But remember, if you really want to boost your metabolism, the best way is to increase your exercise. Coca is a sirtfood and may increase the amount of fat you burn. However, chocolate drinks are generally high in sugar and calories.

Tailor to the imbalances in YOUR body

Let’s look at how you can tailor what you drink to the imbalances in your body.

·         Stress

You may find it helps to drink valerian and chamomile teas. These are calming herbal teas.

·         Female hormone imbalances

Dandelion tea and coffee support your liver, which processes old hormones.

·         Appetite regulation disruption

If you feel hungry between meals, try drinking a glass of water, then waiting fifteen minutes before eating anything. You may mistake thirst for hunger signals. Remember that caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep, and lack of sleep increases your appetite.

·         Slow metabolism

Try replacing a cup of tea with a cup of green tea.

·         Exposure to obesogens

Add spirulina to juices and smoothies, as it contains chlorophyll, which may reduce absorption of some obesogens. (Choose a source that has been tested and found free of contaminants. If you have a health condition or are on medication, check with your medical practitioner first.)

Your next step

Your next step is to make sure to drink enough water and to decide whether it would be helpful for you to reduce your alcohol, caffeine, fruit juice or soft drink consumption.

How to increase the water you drink

To get your six to eight glasses (approximately 1.2 liters) of water a day, you may find it helps to keep a bottle of water on your desk or in your kitchen and sip from it throughout the day. (It’s best not to use a plastic bottle.)

Or make sure you take regular breaks and have a glass of water then. If you don’t like plain water, jazz it up by adding lemon, lime, cucumber, mint or other fruit or herbs. You could also put sliced or grated root ginger in a cup and pour on boiling water.

If you struggle to drink enough water, try also having herbal (non-caffeinated) teas.

How to reduce your caffeine and alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol can be hard to reduce or give up, especially if you are using them to keep yourself going or because you are stressed. But ultimately, they don’t help keep you going; nor do they help you cope with stress.

Are you feeling resistant to the idea of reducing caffeine or alcohol? If so, just acknowledge that. It is important to be honest with yourself. I am not suggesting that you cut caffeine and alcohol out completely if you don’t want to.

But I want you to be aware of how caffeine and alcohol can affect your biochemistry, so you can make informed choices. If you want to cut back on caffeine or alcohol, would it be easier to start with a small change?

Maybe you could swap one coffee a day for a caffeine-free alternative. Or limit alcohol to a glass of wine with dinner at the weekend. If that feels a step too far, could you halve your alcohol intake or reduce it by a couple of units a week? If you fancy a glass of wine, buy a mini bottle; it may help you cut back.

What about replacing some of your caffeinated drinks with naturally caffeine-free alternatives such as herbal teas, dandelion coffee or cereal drinks such as barley? (Decaffeinated coffee contains a lot less caffeine than regular coffee and doesn’t affect your blood sugar significantly.

Read Also about if coffee good for you?

However, it’s not a great idea to drink a lot of decaf coffee, either.) Green tea contains caffeine, but less than black tea. If you plan to reduce your caffeine intake, you may want to reduce it slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

You could also try reducing the amount of milk and sugar you add to tea and coffee or gradually replace with herbal teas. Be specific about what you are going to do and how you are going to achieve it. Write this down.

Key things you have learned in this article

  1. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can help you lose weight.
  • Being slightly dehydrated can lower your metabolism and energy levels. And many people reach for food when their energy drops. 
  • You may mistake thirst for hunger signals. If you feel hungry between meals, drink a glass of water, then wait fifteen minutes before eating anything.
  • Alcohol enhances your appetite and suppresses your body’s ability to burn fat. The fat that is not burned is likely to be stored around your belly.
  • Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may cause weight gain, even if you do not eat more than normal.
  • Caffeine has different effects on different. people. It can cause blood sugar imbalances and isn’t good for stress or your female hormones. However, coffee and green, oolong and white teas may slightly boost your metabolism. If you drink caffeine-containing drinks, it is best to have them in moderation only.
  • Smoothies are a better option than fruit juice, as they use the whole fruit and vegetable, retaining the fiber. This helps you feel fuller for longer and doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels.

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What You Drink Is Important

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