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Liquid Calories: The Secret Reason You Can't Lose Weight

Caitlyn has a passion for food and fitness, two things that can compliment each other—or not!


It seems so simple to lose weight, but it's so easy to forget why and how we gained weight in the first place. Losing weight is not nearly as complicated as people sometimes make it out to be. A combination of diet and exercise, in the right amounts, can help someone drop a significant amount of weight. Usually, those are the only tools someone needs to lose fat, but some people eat healthy portions of nutrition-packed foods and work out for an hour a day, yet fat can stick stubbornly to their body like flies in honey. Read on to learn the secret reason why you're not losing weight!

Questions This Article Answers

  1. Why aren't you losing weight?
  2. What are liquid calories?
  3. What can you do about liquid calories?
  4. How many calories are in common drinks?

1. Why Aren't You Losing Weight?

First, one must understand how weight loss happens. The bottom line is in order to lose any weight, a person needs to eat in a calorie deficit. What does that mean? Basically, the amount of calories someone eats needs to be less than the calories burned by physical activity. The deficit needs to be enough that the body doesn't store the excess as fat, but not so much that the body has no fuel to perform activities during the day. So someone who is very active should eat more calories in a day than someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle.

Starvation tactics work because of this, which can be promising, but this is not only a diet someone can't sustain (not to mention being extremely dangerous), but it can actually lead to more weight gain in the future, since the body then goes into starvation mode and will store any food eaten as fat. It is better, in the long run, to eat the proper amount of food in a day rather than eating nothing but almonds and drinking water.

Someone who tracks their calorie intake and physical activity may discover that they are at the perfect deficit for their goals, yet find they are still stuck at a weight they don't like. While there are many factors that contribute to weight loss struggles such as water retention, stress, and healthy fluctuations in the body, one of the most common that people may not realize is liquid calories.


2. What Are Liquid Calories?

"Liquid calories" are exactly what they sound like: calories from drinks such as soda, milk, alcohol, and juice. Every drink that is not water has calories in it, because what is used to make them has calories. Those don't just go away because it's liquified!

Let's back up a second. What is a calorie? Basically, a calorie is a way to measure the amount of energy something gives off. When the body digests food, it becomes energy. How much energy is given off when this happens is shown on the packaging. The higher the calorie amount, the more energy is given off through digestion. So, how does that turn into weight gain? Unused energy doesn't just disappear! That unused energy is stored by the body as fat to be used for later on, which is where weight gain comes from. This is why the body needs to be on a deficit. Burning more calories (meaning, using more energy) means the body doesn't need to store it to save for a later time, which then means there won't be any fat stored in the body!

Everything has calories because everything makes energy when it is broken down. This includes drinks! The problem with drinks, and why they can be causing issues with weight and fat loss, is that they take up no space in the stomach. Drinks are easy to consume too much of! For example, a serving size of apple juice is eight ounces. That's one small glass of apple juice. In one serving, there can be over 100 calories. That's not too bad, but many people don't drink eight ounces of apple juice for a whole day. For every eight ounces consumed, another 100 plus calories are added to the body. This is on top of the food calories consumed throughout the day.

3. What Can You Do About Liquid Calories?

The first thing to do is read the labels. How many calories, what is considered a serving, how much sugar is in the drink (sugar is another factor in weight loss struggles), and taking that into consideration when pouring a drink or having one with dinner. Another important step to take is to start tracking everything. It can be a pain in the rear having to mark down the food or drink consumed, then calculate the calories for how much was put in the body, and remember to do that all day long, but it is extremely important for self-awareness.

Most people do not realize just how much they are eating and drinking a day. Finally, measure out exactly how much a serving is to get an idea of what it looks like in a dish or glass. Oftentimes, cups are not exactly eight ounces, and bowls can hold far more than two-thirds of a cup, so getting a visual idea of what a serving is can be extremely helpful.

The bottom line is, be aware of what is being put in the body. Good or bad, everything consumed affects the body in some way. With awareness and care in the diet, many issues people suffer from can be eliminated completely!

4. How Many Calories Are in Common Drinks?

All calories amounts are approximate and may vary by product and any additions made to the drink.

DrinksCaloriesServing Size

Unsweetened Apple Juice

113 calories

1 cup (8 fluid ounces)

Plain Starbucks Caffe Mocha

120 calories

Tall (12 oz)


154 calories

1 can (356 g)

1% Fat Milk

103 calories

1 cup (8 ounces)

Chocolate Milk

209 calories

1 cup (8 ounces)

Monster Energy Drink

101 calories

1 serving (240 g)

Sweet Tea

70 calories

1 cup (8 ounces)


160 calories

12 ounces


200 calories

1 bottle (16 ounces)


123 calories

5 fl ounces


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Caitlyn Booth