The four common drinks to avoid when dieting – they ‘hinder weight loss’

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Looking to lose weight? It’s important to consider what you drink as well as what you eat. spoke exclusively to Rachel Clarkson, a Doctify-reviewed dietician and nutritionist, and the founder of The DNA Dietitian about four common drinks dieters might think are beneficial but could actually “hinder weight loss” – fruit juice, smoothies, protein shakes and diet drinks. 

Rachel began by explaining how weight loss can be achieved, she said: “In the simplest terms, weight loss occurs when a calorie deficit is achieved, meaning your body is expending or burning more energy than it is consuming. 

“Although this is the most basic explanation of weight loss, it is important to note that there is so much more to weight loss than ‘eating less and exercising more’ such as the composition of your diet, the mindset around food, daily habits and of course genetics. 

“Weight loss is best achieved and sustained when you’re truly educated in the portions of carbohydrates, protein and fats that are right for you and also have the knowledge to be flexible when things don’t go to plan.”

In terms of what drinks can and can’t be consumed for weight loss, the expert commented: “It is important to focus on all your dietary intake including drinks as they can also contain calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein just like food does. 

“Often people don’t look at fruit juice as hindering their weight loss results but the reality is that a bottle of juice can sometimes have the equivalent ‘free sugar’ as a chocolate bar. 

“Always best to have a smoothie that retains that fibre from the fruit and slows the release of sugar into your blood.. the fibre content also naturally lowers the sugar. 

“It’s also true that people think they have to give up alcohol to lose weight which leads to them to not going to social events and quite often leads to them regaining the weight when they start drinking again. 

“The key here is to be smart about your drink choices – for example, a beer or cocktail that both contain a lot of sugar can be switched out for a spirit and low-calorie mixer,” she added. 

One drink people who are on a diet consume is protein shakes, Rachel said they are “a great snack or post-workout snack option to help people meet their protein needs for the day” because protein “is important for weight management as well as to maintain healthy lean muscle”. 

“However, it is important to choose a protein powder that is made from a good quality protein source and is not high in added/hidden sugars.” 

What about smoothies? Are they a great option for weight loss and are there any ingredients that should or shouldn’t be added?

Rachel revealed: “Smoothies can be a great option for weight loss or can be hindering weight loss, depending on what is in them. 

“Some smoothies can be extremely nutritious, with lots of nutrients from fruit, nuts, nut butters, and seeds…however, even though these are packed with nutrients, the calories, carbohydrates and fat content can really rack up and be hindering an individual’s ability to lose weight. 

“However, a smoothie with a controlled portion of high-fibre fruit, some protein and a small portion of healthy fats (eg chia seeds or a handful of nuts) can be a very balanced and weight-loss friendly snack or breakfast option.”

Rachel also commented on diet drinks: “Diet drinks can be a good alternative option for individuals that consume large quantities of sugar-sweetened beverages (eg fizzy drinks) and would like to slowly reduce their consumption. 

“However, diet drinks are sweetened with some artificial sweeteners which can be harmful to gut health in the long term, therefore over-consuming diet drinks would not be recommended.”

About Rachel 

Rachel Clarkson RD, MSc, PGDip, BSc is a board-certified, Specialist Dietitian in the science of Nutrigenomics – best known as The DNA Dietitian. 

With a Harley Street address and busy online clinic, Rachel and her team empower you to eat according to your genes, using her method The DNA Way®. 

Published research in Epigenetics, Rachel, currently sits on the scientific advisory board of a number of health apps and guest lectures for the Nutrition & Genetic MSc at St Mary’s University in London. 

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