Thanks for being a part of the Quantified Diet Project, one of the most ambitious projects ever to learn what works in dieting.
Whether you stick to your diet every day or not, please fill out the surveys we send you and track your progress on Lift. Your responses are really important—and much appreciated.
- Your diet in a nutshell: Avoid beverages with added sugar. For extra credit, avoid juices and diet drinks, too.
- Track the diet on Lift. To get the most out of Lift, download our mobile app for iPhone or Android.
- Read this guide. If you have more questions, ask them in the discussion section when you check in to Lift.
- Get a diet buddy. Ask a family member, friend or coworker to join the Quantified Diet and help keep you accountable.
WHY IS THIS DIET HEALTHY?
Consumption of added sugars—as found in many sodas and sweetened beverages—is linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and gout.
Just how much sugar is there in popular beverages? Check out Sugar Stacksfor not-so-sweet data and visuals. Here’s a sample based on sugar content in an 8-ounce serving:
- Coca Cola (26g sugar; 6.5 sugar cubes)
- Arizona Lemon Ice Tea (23g; 5.9 sugar cubes)
- Minute Maid Orange Juice (24g; 6 sugar cubes)
- Nesquik Chocolate Milk (29g; 7.5 sugar cubes)
Americans gets 20% of their daily calories from sweetened beverages. Despite the calorie load, these drinks don’t fill you up the way food does. They’re empty calories—liquid candy.
In other words, this diet is healthy because sugary drinks are thoroughly unhealthy. Drop them from your routine and make room for healthier alternatives.
WHAT CAN YOU DRINK?
Tired of water? Ensure proper fluid intake by keeping beverages like these on hand:
- Water flavored with citrus, cucumber, celery, etc.
- Unsweetened milk (e.g., dairy, rice, almond, soy)
- Unsweetened, low/no-caffeine teas
- Diet soda
- Other low-calorie drinks and drink mixes
What to Avoid
Avoid anything with added sugar, which goes by many names. Here are just a few of the “stealth sugars” that you might find on a list of ingredients:
- Cane sugar, brown sugar, inverted sugar
- Corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup
- Dextrose, sucrose, fructose, glucose
- Fruit juice concentrate, molasses, brown rice syrup, honey
What About Juice?
Whenever possible, eat fruit rather than drinking it.
Although pure fruit juice is more nutritious than sweetened fruit drinks, it’s packed with calories and lacks the fiber of its whole-fruit forbears.
If you do drink juice, limit your intake to a small glass. You can also dilute juice with water or seltzer.
Are Diet Drinks OK?
Artificially sweetened diet drinks may help you limit your calorie intake, but they have very little nutritional value. Consider healthier alternatives.
If you’re craving carbonation, try one of these bubbly beverages instead:
- Sparkling water (i.e., seltzer water)
- Mineral water
- Club soda
If you’re accustomed to drinking sugary, caffeinated beverages, you’re really tackling two habits—a sugar habit and a caffeine habit.
Caffeine content varies widely from drink to another, so be careful with substitutes (especially coffee). Here are alternatives that have caffeine levels similar to that of soda:
- Green tea (24-40 mg per 8 oz.)
- Black tea (14-61 mg per 8 oz.)
- Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate (20 mg per 1.45 oz. bar)
To sweeten/flavor coffee, switch to milk, cinnamon, a smaller serving of sugar, or an artificial sweetener. To flavor tea, add lemon.
If you want a little flavor, consider one of these healthy, low-calorie options:
- Water flavored with lemon, mint, basil, or another fruit/herb
- Coconut water (avoid varieties with sweeteners/additives)
- Herbal tea
Add your favorite flavors to carbonated water for a refreshing substitute..
Do your body and your wallet a favor—stick with water! Non-alcoholic beverages are typically the most marked-up (and nutrient-poor) options on the menu.
Drink Water First
Keep a reusable bottle with you to avoid temptation on the go. At home, keep a pitcher in the fridge for quick refreshment. When you head to the fridge to grab a sugary beverage, you’ll have a better chilled alternative waiting for you.
Focus on the Positive
By skipping on sugary drinks, you’re making room for healthier beverage choices, many of which are refreshing and tasty in their own right. Choose your replacement beverages wisely and you’ll open the door to a number of benefits, including dental health, weight loss, and monetary savings. Props to that!
YOU’RE READY TO GO!
Good luck on your diet. Here are some final tips: