Calories in drinks can be just as numerous as calories eaten

Story by Alicia Mikoloyck, NewsNetNebraska

Making the choice between diet soda and regular soda is natural for most people.  But not many people think about the calories taken in in the drinks they have every day.

Karen Kuzma, a registered dietician and wellness coach for Hy-Vee in Lincoln Neb., says often times people don’t realize how many calories are in what they are drinking.

Karen Kuzma, a dietician at Hy-Vee.

Karen Kuzma, a dietician at Hy-Vee.

“People look at the nutritional values that drinks such as orange juice and milk can bring them, not so much the calories in them,” Kuzma said.

Kuzma advises clients who come to her for help on what they can do to improve their diets. One of the first thing she asks is what the client drinks on a daily basis.

“I tell them the two main things to watch out for is sugar and fat,” Kuzma said. “I also tell them other bad things in drinks are artificial flavors and coloring,”

Once Kuzma has an idea of how many calories her client is drinking, she offers them alternatives that have fewer calories yet still offer a sweet and satisfying taste.

If a client loves the fizz of a soda, Kuzma suggests LaCroix or Zevia sparkling waters. Both of these options are naturally sweetened and have fewer calories than a can of soda.

The battle between diet soda and regular soda has been a controversial issue. Critics of diet soda say it makes no difference than if you are drinking a regular soda, while diet soda fans swear it is a healthier choice.

Kuzma says there is some truth to diet soda being better than regular soda; its all about the person drinking it.

“If someone is looking to lose weight and they cut out regular soda and switch to diet soda, they can lose a lot of weight from that simple change,” Kuzma said.

Kuzma said if someone is trying to really eat healthy and make better choices when it comes to what he/she puts in his/her body, it doesn’t make any difference if you drink diet over regular; neither are the best things to put in your body.

Melisa McDonald is an avid drinker of diet sodas; she likes to keep track of her daily calorie intake in order to keep it at a healthy level.

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“You have to drink and you have to eat to survive, food always has calories but drinks don’t have to,” McDonald said.

McDonald finds ways to to cut calories out of what she drinks, even alcohol.

“When I go out, I order vodka with water and put liquid crystal light in it,” McDonald said.

McDonald also gets her coffee made with skim milk and sugar free flavorings in order to cut down on the calories.

Kayla Jorgensen is also a lover of diet soda and low calorie drinks.

“I’m a huge diet coke person,” Jorgensend said. “I don’t usually drink regular soda.”

Jorgensen said the reason for not drinking regular soda is to count the calories she takes in where it is easy to. She feels by drinking diet soda or sugar free things, it can help a little bit. She also tries to substitute soda for V8 energy.

When it comes down to it, calories that you drink can be just as bad as the calories you eat, therefore it’s best to drink as healthy as you can, according to Kuzma.

“Switch to something better, try to substitute the bad for good.”

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