Prof: Count calories when quenching summer thirst

May 25, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Drinking more liquids during warmer weather may be a way to beat the heat, but people need to account for those beverage calories to beat their potential contribution to weight gain, says a Purdue University professor.

"Each beverage has its place in our diets, but we have to be cognizant of how much we are consuming and how that affects the total amount of energy consumed," says Richard D. Mattes, a professor of foods and nutrition who studies beverage consumption. "Enjoying beverages where a common portion may contribute 150-300 calories a day can add up quickly. Sensory cues to reduce the energy we obtain from other foods after drinking are very weak, so it is necessary to consciously offset those calories with exercise or other dietary changes or they can result in weight gain."

There are popular messages that it may be advisable to drink specially formulated products in warm weather or during exercise, but drinking water or other non-caloric beverages and eating a normal diet is adequate to maintain appropriate hydration for most people, Mattes says.

"It is important that people stay hydrated, so people should not get wrapped up in the make of the beverage, whether it's a soft drink made of high fructose corn syrup or a zero-calorie flavored water. That said, it's important to pay attention to the ingredients so each person can balance the calories and nutrients that a healthy diet requires."

Mattes is director of Purdue's Ingestive Behavior Research Center and recently edited a special edition of the journal Physiology & Behavior that focused on beverages and health. He also contributed an article on hunger and thirst.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Richard D. Mattes, 765-494-0662, 

Related news release:
Special journal issue focuses on beverages and health