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Choosing drinks over treats doesn't necessarily save calories

(KSL Broadcasting)


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SALT LAKE CITY — If you think you're better off at the holiday party with a drink in your hand instead of a plate of treats, think again.

It's a common health strategy to limit your calories at a party by sipping the cider instead of eating treats. But according to Julie Bolick, deititian at Intermountain Healthcare, there's little benefit in the substitution.

"The drinks are not very satiating," Bolick said. "It's really easy to have two or three cups rather than just one cup, and they really end up going down as a lot of empty extra calories because we end up drinking so much of them."

To add insult to injury, some single servings of holiday drinks have as many calories as the holiday treats.

"For example, Starbucks has some drinks that are now available for the holiday season. Many of those drinks for a 16-ounce portion, are nearly 500 calories," Bolick said.

That's the equivalent number of calories to a piece of pecan pie.

Bolick said that a 16-ounce cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream has the same amount of calories as a quarter cup of cheese ball with crackers; a cup of eggnog has the same amount of calories as a quarter cup of artichoke dip with pita chips; and a cup of cider has the same amount of calories as three ginger snap cookies.

"That's why I recommend that if you have some of your favorite foods at Christmastime, and you're looking forward to those foods, that you might decide to have a very small portion of those favorite drinks, or to leave them out and have something calorie-free," Bolick said. "Maybe have the water, but then have your favorite cookies or have your favorite fudge."

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Lori Prichard

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