When it comes to weight loss, we often tend to cut out foods high in fats and those that are carbohydrate-dense. However, we tend to forget about the hidden calories found in our drinks. Drinks like sweet teas, juices, coffee, sodas, or sports drinks may have added sugar and fats that increase your daily calorie intake. We call these empty calories because they provide little to no nutritional value. Plus, they may lead to decrease energy, hunger, and cravings.

Whether it’s an extra 50 calories from your coffee, 100 calories for a cup of juice, or a 500-calorie smoothie, these calories add up and can sabotage your progress.

We came up with a few ideas to help you replace some of these empty calories with healthier alternatives:

Coffee & Tea

Fortunately, black coffee and most teas, when brewed or unsweetened, contain 0 calories (yay!). If you add creamer or milk, you can substitute it with unsweetened nut/seed milk or unsweetened coconut, nut, and seeds creamer. You can swap sugar for stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, or other natural zero-calorie sugar substitutes for sugar. And if you want to add even more flavor, you can add cinnamon, cacao powder, anise, clove, and other spices.

Sports Drink

Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade contain a high amount of added sugar. Look for sugar-free options, especially those with added vitamins and minerals like vitamin K and/or Zinc, to replenish electrolytes.


The average soda contains about 35 g of sugar per can, which is the equivalent of almost 2 chocolate bars. Some great swaps are sparkling water with flavor to get a feel for that fizz. If even infused sparkling water with natural sweetener.


Typically, 8 oz of orange juice contains about 22 g of sugar, equivalent to 2 oranges. A great substitute is a fruit-infused water or even a green (veggie) juice with natural sweetener. For lemonade, water, lemon juice, mint, and a dash of monk fruit is so refreshing!


About Kay Spears

Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Kay Spears and her team at Kay Spears combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

Our unique approach to diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders recognizes that lasting health depends on resolution of the root causes of your disease. Click here to learn more »

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