Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drink This, Not That by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding

If you are on a diet and wonder why you don't seem to be able to drop the pounds as quickly as you want to, the answer might be what you are drinking, not eating, that is the culprit. The hidden costs of the nutritional choices we make in drinking, as well as eating, can be the difference between a flat belly or the gaining of 10, 20, or even 30 pounds in a year.

Drink This, Not That points out the very worst offenders in nutritional choices that most of us never even think about when it comes to what we drink. Starting off with the twenty worst offenders in areas as diverse as soda to shakes, it shows how what you don't know, and aren't used to thinking about, can often be the worst offenders in our diet. Even things that were once somewhat healthy, like flavored waters, are being made sweeter and sweeter to satisfy our hunger for sweet foods. The best flavored waters have a very low calorie count, but some of them are so sweet that they are even worse for you than a soda would be! And that is just not right.

Drink This, Not That covers not only choices you will find in the grocery store, but also the drinks you will find being served at your local fast food chain, restaurant and coffee shop. If you find that what you are drinking is simply too calorie-laden for your diet, this book can show you better choices with far better bang for your nutritional buck, one that won't put too much of a cost on your pocketbook or your body.

Of course, part of the fun, and horror, of reading this book is the horror stories being perpetrated on you by the drink companies you patronize every day. One 20oz bottle of Sunkist soda has as much sugar as six Oreo Cookie Icecream Sandwiches- without the same filling effects of the ice cream and cookies. The one that made the #1 worst spot is the Coldstone Creamery PB&C Gotta Have it size Shake, with an unbelievable 2010 calories packed into it- more than the average person is supposed to eat in a single day, and the equivalent of 30 Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies in sugar content alone. That one made me sick to my stomach- that's a lot of empty calories packed into just one 24oz Cup.

Even things you would think are more good for you, like coffee and tea, aren't immune to sugar inflation- and calorie inflation as well. A bottle of Sobe Green Tea has the equivalent in sugar to half a Sara Lee Cherry Pie. Yes, 4 slices every time you drink one down. Think about the effects of that on your waistline! Even a small Starbucks Vanilla Frappucino (13.7 Ounce Bottles) is the sugar Equivalent of 32 Nilla Wafers. Rockstar Energy drink? 6 Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts.

But, thankfully, Drink This, Not That gives you the tools to make better choices. Really want to lose weight? Go for the plain water when you go out to eat. Or squeeze some lemon in it (or orange. Or lime.) But if none of that appeals to you, you can make much better choices thanks to this book.

This book was a revelation for me. I don't like the taste of coffee or tea, and I don't drink anything carbonated, which pretty much leaves me water, milk, or fruit juice, and I stick with water pretty much all of the time, seeing as how it's free from the tap, can be chilled in the refrigerator, which kills any nasty metallic or mineral taste, and as long as I have a bottle and maybe some ice, I can take it with me anywhere.

Yes, I am overweight, but after reading this, I was very glad that water is my tipple of choice, because I'd probably be two or three times my own weight if I was into soda. It's also good because it lays to rest the "High-Fructose Corn syrup is just as fine as sugar for you" that the soda companies have been selling us. This may be so, but sugar has a shorter shelf life, and is harder to blend, so HFCS was a godsend for the bottled drinks industry. What's insidious about this is that it's not just sneaking into soft drinks, but everything else as well, even foods that weren't traditionally sweetened, like whole wheat bread, so we are consuming more of it than ever before, in foods in which we might not know it's there. So when they say it's fine in moderation, how are you going to know what "moderation" is when it might be sneakily hiding in foods you weren't even aware contained it?

The book also goes over new sweeteners on the market, everything from the same old Aspartame to the new Stevia and things you may not have known existed as sweeteners, like Agave Syrup. Then they move on to wine, beer, and cocktails, giving you choices to avoid and better things to choose, both in the liquor store and at the bar.

This book was another real eye-opener for me, and again, made me very glad that I drink straight tap water with a chill on it. You may not be able to do the same, but this book can save you from making disastrous diet choices when it comes to the things that many people never think of cutting from their diets- bottled drinks, beer and sodas. Serving as both a horror show and a guide to what to do better, this book is invaluable when it comes to losing weight and revealing just how many calories are in those drinks you may be thoughtlessly gulping on a daily basis. Highly recommended.

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