You can't drink calories, can you?

Many people "forget" that there are calories in the juices, drinks and latte-mocha-frappa beverages they consume as if somehow they all disappear when the ingredients are liquefied.

For the record, this is so not true!

In fact, several studies have pointed to the consumption of calories from beverages as one cause of the alarming number of overweight and obese people in the United States. Studies suggest that when people consume more calories from beverages, they don’t compensate by eating or drinking less. This could be both because there is nothing to chew and because caloric density per ounce quickly skyrockets.

A fresh orange, for instance, has about 45 to 86 calories depending on the size and most people are happy to eat just one. A simple glass of orange juice can contain the juice of as many as 8 or 9 oranges depending on their original size, and has about 122 calories per eight ounce glass. A Sunkist Naturals Orange Cream Smoothie is fortified to include protein and has 180 calories per eight ounce serving. The problem is, however, it comes in a 15.2 ounce bottle which is almost two cups. Question: who only drinks half the bottle? So after a few gulps you've consumed close to 360 calories! Go to a juice bar for a similar beverage and you could easily push 500+ calories.

And what about that morning/noon/afternoon coffee? Who among our coffee drinkers just orders (or makes) their coffee black? If you do, lists it at a mere 2 calories per cup. Those flavored, iced, and blended coffees and frappuccinos, on the other hand, can easily top 600 calories in one beverage!

So, if you're looking for a way to slim your figure, start by slimming your beverage choices. Drink responsibly:

1. If you're thirsty, drink water. This is one of the most important tips because you're more likely to over-consume if you are trying to quench your thirst.

2. Drinks other than water are treats. Add them to your daily consumption wisely.

3. Read the package. Compare the serving size to the number of serving available. Also, note the nutritional content. Is there added sugar or protein? Choose wisely.

4. Ask questions. Many coffee shops and restaurants have the nutritional content available upon request. Many also post the nutritional content online. You'd be amazed what you can find out with a little investigating if you REALLY want to know.

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