One contributing factor to so many Australians being overweight is their over consumption of soft drinks and energy drinks. According to Six of 15 cross-sectional and 6 of 10 prospective cohort studies it has been identified; statistically significant associations between soft drink consumption and increased body weight.. Maybe that is why so many of us then head down the path of drinking sugar-free soft drinks, they must be better for you? Right?
According to News.com.au they have uncovered some research that has shown that diet soft drinks are considerably worse than their full sugar sweetened counterparts for your health. The artificial sweeteners found in diet soft drinks may alter your gut bacteria, these changes to the gut ecosystem may lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, Fox News has reported on this study, published in Pediatric Obesity, showing that children and teenagers who drank Diet Coke and other diet beverages ate on average an extra 200 calories a day compared to their peers who drank only water.
Hopefully, you are starting to get an idea of the picture that I am trying to paint for you as two very common comments that I used to get in my naturopathic clinical practice was from client’s saying that they either hated the taste of water or that when they drank too much water that they were running to the loo all the time, therefore, they decided to just not drink water.
I know you would have heard this before but I will say it again, our bodies are made up of almost 60% water and many reasons that we feel hungry and tired is that we are actually dehydrated and thirsty, not hungry. Therefore, it is especially important to ensure that you consume the recommended 2-3 litres of water a day when on the hCG diet. Ok, I can hear you groaning from here, but I promise that it isn’t all that bad, there are other beverages that you can partake with on the program, and we cover the 3 phases below. Additionally, the whole going to the toilet all the time is basically your body saying, what just happened? You have gone from having no water to having 2-3 litres a day. It takes time for your body to re-adjust to any change in dietary habits, but I assure you that it will well be worth pushing through.
During Phase one or the loading phase there is an emphasis on the need to eat foods that are higher in fat rather than higher in sugar to ensure that you maximise your weight loss throughout the program. Adding good fats like avocado and coconut milk to a smoothie or by drinking a bulletproof coffee (black coffee with butter and MCT oil) are great options during the loading phase to increase your intake of healthy fats. By choosing drinks like this it will also lessen any cravings that you may experience due to the intake of higher sugar drinks previously consumed
Phase 2 is the beginning of the weight loss and low calorie diet of 500 calories so it is important to note that the drinks that you were able to have during the loading phase are a definite no during this stage of the program.
During phase 2 as mentioned above you are encouraged to drink approximately 2-3 litres of pure filtered water a day however, you are not limited to only drinking water during phase 2. Lemon juice may be added to your water to enhance its flavour, lemon has many health benefits as it is a great source of vitamin C (which helps boost immunity), it aids digestion and helps to alkalise the body preventing the build-up of uric acid, (think kidney stones). It is important to remember though that you are limited to the juice of 1 full lemon a day only. Mineral water is also allowable during phase 2 of the program, again you may add some lemon juice and if you are looking for something a little sweeter and Stevia may also be added.
If you are a tea drinker you have several options to choose from as a chosen beverage during the program including Yerba mate tea, green tea, black tea, white tea, rooibos, herbal infusions, you may have the tea hot or prepared as iced tea.
I personally love coffee and am extremely grateful that it is an allowable beverage on the program, the only catch being that you must drink it black. If you cannot stand the thought of drinking your coffee black you are able to spread 1 tablespoon of milk out over your cups of coffee throughout the day. Again, it is possible to sweeten your coffee with Stevia if needed. I also like using Xylitol, if this is an option that you would like to explore just be watchful and keep it under 3 small teaspoons maximum per day and note if there are any stalls in your weight loss or irritation to your gut, as this can be an issue for some.
The program also requires you to avoid all alcohol as many alcoholic beverages contain high amounts of sugar, if you are interested in knowing more about how and why you should quit sugar check out this blog on how to quit sugar for good.
It may also be beneficial to keep a diary of your progress, particularly of your energy levels and emotions throughout the program, it is always a great reminder of how much has changed for you during your weight loss journey and will help to reinforce your why and keep you motivated to stay healthy.
Adv Dip Health Science Naturopathy, Nutrition