Can you sip your way slim? When it comes to weight loss, beverages can be a boon for your diet—or a surefire way to blow it.
One of the biggest problems with liquid calories is we tend not to factor them into our overall food intake, failing to cut back in other ways to compensate. Naively, we slurp down the pounds, an insidious form of beverage creep. In moderation, however, certain beverages can be friend, not foe, to our designs to shed the extra pounds.
Read on to discover what 5 nutritionists drink to stay trim—and why. (Lose up to 25 pounds in 2 months and feel more energetic than ever with Prevention's new Younger In 8 Weeks plan!)
1. Bone broth
BENEFIT: Reduces inflammation
"As you might guess, I'm a big fan of sipping bone broth to lose weight," says Kellyann Petrucci, MS, ND, author of Dr. Kellyann's Bone Broth Diet, and creator of the 30 Day Reset Program. "First of all, it's rich and filling, so it keeps those cravings under control. And second, it's loaded with nutrients that help reduce inflammation, which is the biggest cause of weight gain. So it packs a double punch when it comes to slimming power—and as a bonus, it's loaded with the building blocks of collagen, so it smoothes your skin as it takes off the pounds." (Here are 4 things to do with bone broth other than chug it straight up.)
2. Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
BENEFIT: Boosts metabolism
Drinking vinegars are the new kombucha (here's what you need to know about the trendy bottled ones), thanks to research that attests to vinegar's ability to aid weight loss and regulate blood sugar, thus reducing cravings. "I love apple cider vinegar for weight loss because the acetic acid it contains has been shown to boost metabolism, which is critical when you're trying to drop some extra pounds," says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a clinical nutritionist and author of Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. "The acetic acid reduces inflammation and prevents the extra storage of fat. Finally, the natural enzymes and probiotics in ACV are great for gut health—and gut health is great for weight loss. If you have a sluggish digestive system, that stagnant waste can certainly add extra pounds on the scale."
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3. Fruit-infused water
Frequently, we mistake thirst for hunger. Sometimes what our body wants is simply to rehydrate. And at other times, when hunger strikes, it needs to bite into something to be satisfied. Many nutritionists believe the best way to consume calories is to eat them—and keep the drinks minimal. "I think you should eat, and not drink, your calories whenever possible to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight," says Caroline Kaufman, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and healthy living blogger in New York City. She recommends drinking fruit-infused water, still or sparkling.
"Try investing in a SodaStream if you like it bubbly—for people who like soda, carbonated water can be a good transition. Lemons and limes are great, but you can get more creative by mixing fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs (like these 25 sassy water recipes). Try peeled, sliced fruit like oranges, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, or blackberries; vegetables like cucumber or fresh ginger; and crushed herbs such as mint, rosemary, or basil."
4. Avocado smoothie
BENEFIT: Regulates blood sugar
"This rich, delicious smoothie is like pudding in a cup—and it actually supports weight loss," says Esther Cohen, MS, RD, founder and director of the Seven Bowls School of Nutrition, Nourishment and Healing. Avocados are full of goodness: They have fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and also pack in healthy monounsaturated fats that contain oleic acid, which can quiet hunger pangs, says Cohen. "Eating good fats improves metabolic function and helps to regulate blood sugars so we are less likely to overeat. Coconut milk contains a good saturated fat high in lauric acid, a unique lipid that is antibacterial and improves cholesterol and reduces abdominal fat."
Try this recipe from Cohen:
Bali Avocado Smoothie
2 ripe avocados
½ c coconut milk
1 c coconut water
Juice of 1 lime
1 c ice cubes
Sweeten with date palm sugar or honey, to taste
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
BENEFIT: Burns fat
"Alcohol isn't the reason Americans are overweight, and totally abstaining from alcohol, in order to lose weight, is not necessary," says NYC-based Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, and founder of the F-Factor Diet. "Think about it: Feeling deprived can set you back further than a glass of wine ever could. A glass of wine has 90 calories—far less than the bread soaked in olive oil with a whopping 360 calories or more (which many people indulge in when they're out to dinner)." Plus, that glass of wine with dinner could even have weigh-loss benefits. It turns out that resveratrol, a polyphenol present in red wine and fruits, may do more than just boost heart health. A study published in International Journal of Obesity found that mice on a high-fat diet that were also given resveratrol gained 40% less weight than mice in the control group. "The resveratrol made it so that excess white fat was changed to active, energy-burning beige fat," says Zuckerbrot.
This article originally appeared on Prevention.com.