Apr 3: Breaking Diet-Busting Beverage Habits

Which has more calories, a six-inch Steak & Cheese sandwich from a Subway restaurant or a 16-ounce Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino?  If you guessed the beverage, you're right.  The Frappuccino weighs in at 420 calories, 150 calories of which are from fat. The cheesy lunch, while not exactly slimming, has 400 calories, 110 of which are fat. Even if you consider those sweet coffee drinks more of an occasional treat than a habit, it's easy to forget to include liquid calories in your daily tally.  But they can add up. According to a recent study by the Unilever Health Institute in the Netherlands (Unilever owns Lipton Tea), Americans consume an average of 21 percent of their daily calories from beverages. And you can't always count on diet products to come to the rescue.  While most sugar-free sodas don't have any calories, some products advertised as low-cal or light don't offer as big a savings as you might think. For instance, an 8-ounce Bud Lite has 110 calories, while regular Budweiser has 145.  The best option is, of course, water, which has no calories and immeasurable health benefits. But if you're looking for something more flavorful, make an informed choice.  Check out the labels of the bottled beverages you buy for calorie, fat and sugar content, or look at the Web sites of popular chains like Starbucks, which often have detailed nutritional information about their products. Take that rich Grande Mocha Frappuccino as an example. If you choose a Grande Cappuccino with nonfat milk instead, you can save 320 calories. (For more information on the caloric content of common drinks like milk and fruit juice, go to the Mayo Clinic Web site.

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