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Drinking Calories

February 14, 2021 | Healthy Diet Weight Loss

I want to discuss something that should be on your ‘never to do’ list. If you have had bariatric surgery, and frankly even if you haven’t, you should never ‘drink’ calories. I mean that in the very literal sense, btw. You should never consume calories in liquid form.

So, first off, like all rules there are exceptions. The one exception to this rule, if you have recently had bariatric surgery you have been advised to consume your protein drink. This is obviously a liquid with calories (it has protein after all)… but other than that exception I would strongly suggest you adopt a rule for life called ‘I no longer drink calories’.

Speaking personally for a moment, the only two liquids I drink are coffee and water. You can think of coffee and tea as essentially flavored water… the only calories are what you add.

Why do I suggest this? Consuming calories in liquid form is one of the best ways to gain weight. In fact, patients who actually need to gain weight (think of cancer patients for example) are often given high calorie liquids in order to help them gain weight. So, if you have had bariatric surgery or if you are trying to lose weight you definitely want to avoid calories in liquid form.

I would also say this applies to liquids that most people might think of as ‘healthy’, for instance fruit juices and milk. I would avoid these as well. A glass of orange juice has all of the sugar of several oranges squeezed into an 8-ounce glass that you can drink in several minutes and has eliminated most of what is beneficial in the fruit. If you like oranges (or other fruit) then eat the fruit, don’t drink the juice.

Milk is what we feed to babies to get them to grow – an infant can double or triple its weight in the first year on mother’s milk alone. If you are a bariatric patient who wants to lose weight, however, hopefully I’ve convinced you that milk is not the way to go. If you are drinking milk to get your calcium, here is my suggestion: take a calcium pill (or two) and drink a glass of water… all the calcium, none of the calories!

By Dr. Michael Bilof

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