You are what you drink. Liquids, not food, may cause weight gain


Healthcare and Rx providers have some new ways to help, too

Nearly half of all Americans are expected to be officially classified as “obese” by 2030. Yes, every other one of us.

You can blame it on whatever you want – lack of exercise, bad eating habits, processed food, genetics – but it’s always a good day when there’s something that comes along and offers some sort of solution, albeit small.

Leading the way is new research about what we drink rather than eat. Not alcohol, but drinks we consume that we perceive to be anything but problematic in the weight gain department.

Healthy? Yes, but…

One of those is oat milk. Vegans and lactose-sensitive people may appreciate the dairy-free benefits of oat milk, but you might be surprised at how much sugar and calories it contains. 

“The problem with this plant-based milk is that, compared to other vegan substitutes like soy, it tends to lack protein but be high in carbohydrates,” said Destini Moody, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian in a recent round-up of consumer beverages.

“This can be dangerous for those seeking weight loss as protein makes you feel full and, without it, drinking a high-carb beverage so quickly causes blood sugar spikes and crashes. This means that oat milk can increase your calorie intake and appetite—a dangerous recipe for weight loss.”

Another drink that most of us think of as healthy is smoothies. The kicker there is that most smoothies don’t have any protein, and among macronutrients protein is the most filling and can help manage weight. Without protein, smoothies turn into nothing more than sugar bombs.

Gianna Masi, a certified personal trainer and registered dietitian, suggests that smoothie lovers add a little Greek yogurt or protein powder to make their fruit smoothies more weight-loss-friendly.

“While fruit smoothies can be healthy, they can also leave people unsatisfied. With a goal of weight loss, it’s best to consume fruit smoothies with a protein addition or a serving of fats to ensure you feel more satiated. The protein helps you to feel full and helps your lean muscle mass, which is a win-win for weight loss goals,” says Masi.

The juice is loose!

The one that will stun people the most is juice. It’s not a big problem for adults because they burn it off on a normal day, but kids are a definite problem.

A new University of Toronto study found a positive association between drinking just one serving of 100% fruit juice and weight gain in children. According to researcher Vasanti Malik, the effect is likely due to the extra energy or calories found in fruit juice. In order to combat excess weight gain, kids should limit juice consumption.

Moody suggests that if you want your child to have the benefits of juice, have them eat it instead of drink it. 

“While fruit juice contains more nutrients than a beverage like soda, it lacks the fiber of the whole fruit. This means the juice won’t provide the feeling of fullness that eating fruit will, and it leads to you consuming calories more quickly,” she said.

Can Mayo help?

Nope, we’re not talking about mayo like on a BLT, but Mayo as in Mayo Clinic. The clinic just announced that it’s launching a weight loss telemedicine service built around its weight loss program, The Mayo Clinic Diet.

The Mayo Clinic Diet Medical Weight Loss Rx program will give consumers direct access to weight loss medications, via video visits with clinicians. If you qualify, you will receive lab testing, monitoring, meal plan suggestions, coaching, etc..

Mayo’s not the only one in on this, either. According to Becker’s Hospital News, Eli Lilly has launched a website where people fighting obesity can order prescription drugs directly from manufacturers, including its weight loss medication, Zepbound.

Most of these programs are focused on a class of drugs – glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) – that, like Ozempic and other diabetes medications, not only improves blood sugar control but may also lead to weight loss. 

But, if you don’t have insurance, you need to be prepared to pay upward of $10,000 per year without insurance. Mayo said it will supply insurance support. So did Lilly, adding that it’s putting a commercial savings card program in place that will help people who may benefit from Zepbound better access to it.

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