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    Archive for the ‘drinks’ Category

    In The News: That’s More Like It

    The Los Angeles Times shares encouraging news today — “Coca-Cola Co. and joint-venture partner Nestle agreed to pay $650,000 in a settlement with 27 states over claims that Enviga green tea burns calories, resulting in weight loss.”

    If you are not familiar with Enviga, it is a flavored sparkling green tea in the Nestea line of products.

    The claim? Drinking three cans per day helps burn anywhere from 60 to 100 calories.

    Coca Cola based that claim on the presence of EGCG, an antioxidant in green tea which has been the focus of several metabolic and weight loss studies (here is my take on the research literature.)

    The man behind this lawsuit is Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who added that moving forward, “any marketing of Enviga or a similar beverage that uses the terms “the calorie burner,” “negative calories” or “drink negative” must clearly disclose that the product doesn’t lead to weight loss without diet and exercise.”

    Small Bites salutes — and thanks — you, Mr. Blumenthal.


    Numbers Game: Drink Up

    A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study published in the November 2007 issue of Obesity Research found that per capita total daily intake of liquid calories in the United States increased _____ percent from 1965 to 2002.

    a) 53
    b) 71

    c) 86

    d) 94

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Friday for the answer!


    Numbers Game: Answer

    A traditional Long Island iced tea (shots of vodka, tequila, rum, gin, and triple sec combined with sour mix and cola) contains 650 to 750 calories.

    The recipe I’m referring to is the one many bars in the United States offer — four jiggers of hard liquor, half a jigger of triple sec, half a cup of sour mix (pure sugar) and another half cup of cola.

    Not surprisingly, these are served in very tall glasses.

    Granted, some establishments offer smaller versions of this drink, but even then you’re looking at roughly 500 calories.

    It’s always a good idea to stick to a few low-calorie alcoholic beverages since alcohol lowers blood glucose levels, consequently triggering hunger.

    As you might guess, the more you drink, the hungrier you get. Which explains why some people can feasibly eat an entire bag of chips after a night at the bar.


    What Happens in Vegas… Shows In Your Tummy

    Two nights in Las Vegas provided plenty of blogging material.

    My observations, below:

    Despite the recent influx of celebrity chefs and three star restaurants, there isn’t a single high-scale, fine dining vegetarian restaurant on the entire Strip.

    What gives?

    I’m afraid business executives and consumers are still under the inaccurate assumption that healthy dining and delicious meals are mutually exclusive.

    As a result, diners who do not eat meat have to basically rely on pasta dishes. Zzzzzz….

    All my restaurant experiences, while delicious, left me asking, “where’s the fiber?”

    Whole grains are completely absent from most menus, as are beans and legumes.

    I am not asking for steakhouses to be shut down or the plethora of French restaurants to “de-fatten” their menus.

    What I do want to know, though, is where are the options for healthy upscale eating?

    I understand being on vacation and wanting to enjoy a rich, decadent meal, but after two or three of those, your body starts begging for some mercy.

    Think everything is big in Texas? Wait until you hit the Vegas Strip!

    At the Paris hotel, you can get alcoholic drinks in an Eiffel-tower shaped 32 ounce glass. Over at the Luxor, 52 ounce daiquiris are on the menu.

    People do order them. I saw at least fifty people on one given night walking around the Strip with these huge drinks in hand — most were more than halfway finished.

    FYI — a 32 ounce daiquiri contains 1,800 calories. The 52 ounce? 2,900.

    And then there’s the buffets. I am not a big fan of them, as I often find that quantity trumps quality.

    I was up for some nutrition research, though, so off I went to The Palms for lunch one day.

    Of the forty different dishes, not a single one contained a whole grain.

    The salad bar’s only truly nutritious offerings were chickpeas and kidney beans.

    To my surprise — and disappointment — the salad bar did not offer carrots, bell peppers, broccoli florets, canned tuna, grilled chicken breast, avocado, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, beets, asparagus, or anything to help diners construct a healthy and tasty salad.

    It did, however, manage to provide croutons, bacon, cheese, iceberg lettuce, and pickles. Yum????

    Fried foods, rich sauces, and refined carbohydrates made up the bulk of the remaining offerings. Vegetables were mostly drowned in butter or cream or covered in a deep fried shell.

    Dessert consisted pies (some sugar free), cakes, brownies, and ice cream.

    Fruit, you ask? There was literally one basket with three apples and two bananas.

    The Venetian has a healthy restaurant (all dishes are low in saturated fat, high in fiber, high on fruit and vegetable content, and contain little or no added sugars) tucked away in its spa, meaning it is exclusively for guests of that hotel.

    Why not move it to the general restaurant area and open it up to the general public?

    While I’m at on the topic of hotels: why do guests have to pony up extra money — up to $20 or $30 — to utilize a hotel’s gym?

    Really. Why are people being deterred from exercising?

    Anyway, a big thank you to the folks who make Lara, Clif Nectar, and Flavor & Fiber bars. My intestinal tract couldn’t have made it in Vegas without you.


    You Ask, I Answer: Sports & Fitness Beer (!)

    I’ve stumbled onto a Bavarian non-alcoholic beer that the brewer calls “The Sports and Fitness Drink “

    I’d be very interested to hear what you think about their claims.

    Is it all a crock or might they truly be onto something?

    — Kevin L. Mickle
    Las Cruces, NM

    PS: Over the last 2 1⁄2 months, I’ve lost over 15 lbs fat, 4.5% body fat, 3” off my waist, and gained about 6 lbs muscle (a guess) all from daily exercise and eating right.

    A good portion of “eating right” comes from following your recommendations. Thank you again!

    First of all — congratulations on achieving your health and nutrition goals.

    I know it takes a lot of effort, commitment, and hard work — especially achieving it in a healthy way.

    Onto your question.

    Wow, what a bizarre — and funny — product.

    Erdinger’s “lively, tasty, healthy fitness drink” is a 125 calorie alcohol-free beer that “contains all B-group vitamins and offers high levels of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus” along with all nine essential amino acids and soluble fiber.


    The manufacturer is very skimpy on details.

    The only numbers the website mentions are the 2 grams of protein and 25 percent of the daily folic acid requirement.in each half liter bottle.

    The fiber claim strikes me as particularly odd for two reasons. Firstly, I doubt the fiber content in this beverage is high; wheat beers — regardless of their alcohol content — are not good sources.

    Besides, whatever amount is present is most definitely not in the form soluble fiber. Remember, wheat fiber is exclusively insoluble.

    Lastly, fiber is not something that needs to be replenished after strenuous exercise. It is irrelevant to muscle recovery.

    Verdict? This drink has nothing to do with sports or fitness.

    It’s just a regular non-alcoholic beer with a few vitamins and minerals sprinkled on top for gimmick purposes.

    Feel free to drink it with a meal if you enjoy the taste and can afford the calories, but consider it just another alcohol-free beer.


    Numbers Game: Last Call

    A pomegranate martini contains ____________ calories.

    a) 245
    b) 310
    c) 180
    d) 150

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Saturday for the answer!


    Numbers Game: Answer

    A 12-ounce Cosi blueberry promeganate smoothie contains 544 calories.

    (Note: a 12-ounce can of regular Coca Cola clocks in at 143 calories)

    It goes to show — high caloric values aren’t just found in large portions.

    (Sidenote: Get the 20-ounce “gigante”, and sip away 1,087 calories!)

    It’s crazy to think that this 12-ounce beverage packs almost twice as many calories as a large fountain beverage from McDonald’s.

    Cosi advertises it as a “blend of frozen fruit with a green tea base,” which helps to explain the astounding caloric value of this smoothie.

    Bases are often sugar-loaded flavor agents.

    They were smart in choosing a green tea one because it delivers sweet flavor while still sounding “healthy.”

    A lot of people have this concept that anything with green tea in it is automatically healthy or low-calorie. I’m afraid that ain’t so.

    Food companies know this, which is why I was not surprised to see Haagen Dazs’ new green tea ice cream flavor at the store earlier this week.

    The fact is, smoothies are not an optimal source of nutrition.

    The overwhelming majority are excessively sugared (we’re talking 6 to 8 tablespoons of sugar on average for a 12 ounce!) and don’t deliver any of the fiber present in a piece of fruit.

    Since liquid calories (particularly those from fruit smoothies, which are lacking fat, fiber, and protein) are not as effective at providing a sense of fullness, it’s very likely you will be hungry soon after finishing such a concoction.

    If they are one of your favorite beverages, feel free to have them, but keep in mind that save one or two exceptions, you are buying an overly sweetened, high-calorie treat, not liquid nutrition.


    Numbers Game: Can of Whoop-Ass

    A 12-ounce Cosi blueberry promeganate smoothie contains _______ calories.

    (Note: a 12-ounce can of regular Coca Cola clocks in at 143 calories)

    a) 268
    b) 329

    c) 467
    d) 544

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Thursday for the answer!



    Gatorade and Powerade have spent millions on advertising campaigns to make us believe that their products are synonymous with fitness, health, and well-being.

    Their entire selling point is that their products offer some of the precious minerals we lose when exercising heavily, among them potassium. Keep in mind that we should be getting approximately 4,000 milligrams of potassium a day as you read the following.

    When looking past the smoke and mirrors, we find that:


    * 90 calories
    * 22 grams (5 1/2 teaspoons) of sugar
    * 47 milligrams of potassium (a measly 1%!)



    * 75 calories
    * 21 grams (5 1/4 teaspoons) of sugar

    * 45 milligrams of potassium (again, just 1%!)

    In other words, don’t buy the hype.


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