This trend has emerged over the last three to four years as U.S. concern about obesity, diabetes and other complications of consuming excessive high-calorie beverages have increased, said Barry Popkin, Ph.D and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
In a ten year study, UNC Gillings researchers found that despite the popularity of high calorie sugary drinks, low calorie drinks are growing in popularity among consumers. Low cal drinks are commonly identified as beverages containing 3.8 kcal per gram or less.
Ten Low Calorie Drinks
1. Water -Water’s the most recommended non caloric drink on the planet. But water’s evil twin just may be flavored water. Dasani, Canada Dry and even cheaper brands like Sam’s sell flavored water, often in the same aisle as juices, but rarely in the same grocer’s aisle as soda.
2. Lemonade or lemon juice
3. Coffee doesn’t have calories and is often recommended as a great no cal drink coming in second only to water. But there are popular, name brand coffees out there that qualify as “light” like Starbucks Grande Mocha Light Frappuccino. It contains 1 gram of fat 19 grams of sugar. McDonald’s McAfe Iced Nonfat Latte has 50 cals, 0 g fat and 6 g of sugar in a 16 oz serving. Dunkin Donuts Iced Hazelnut Coffee contains 20 cal, 0g fat, and 2g sugar in a 16 oz cup.
4. Tea --- Lots of name brand Ice Tea makers out there, Liptons, Starbucks and Snapple. Snapple’s Diet Peach contains 0 fat ) calories.
5 Fresh fruit juices, egs. orange juice
7. Fresh vegetable juices like tomato juice
8. Fat free chicken/beef soups
9. Low calorie vegetable soups
9. Diet soda/Diet cola like Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi
10. 1% skim milk
From 2000 to 2010, the UNC study examined consumer purchases of 140,352 unique households comprised of 408,458 people. Researchers found that while “per capita intake of sugary, calorically sweetened drinks remains high in children and adults, the amounts they drink daily decreased significantly.
Children ages 2 – 18 dropped their daily total intakes of high calorie drinks from 616.2 ml/day in 2003 to 460 ml/day in 2010. Adults in 2003 drakn 536.4 ml/day but had dropped to 442 ml/day in 2010.