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ZERO ISN'T REALLY FREE

Welcome to Day 3 of the Hydration Mini-Series

The allure of zero calorie and/or zero sugar drinks. The marketing for these drinks leads the consumers to believe that they are a FREE thing on our food intake logs. Except more often than not, zero isn't free. Not in the way many of us think.

When Zero Is More Than You Think


Let’s start with fraction carbs and investigate all those drinks that are “free”: no carbs, no sugars, zero calories.


Nothing in life is free.

But, one thing we all need to understand is that it might not actually be “free”. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the new nutrition labels on the back. They require nutrition labels on packages.


But I want you to understand that when you look at the back of the nutrition label, and it says zero, zero, ZERO, it very, very well could be zero, zero, zero. But not at all in a good way.


If it is a fraction of a carb, like a fraction of a gram of sugar or a fraction of a calorie, it's rounded down to zero. But in reality, that zero is better represented by zero to one. But that's not what is listed on the nutrition label.


That "zero" calories, zero sugar, etc., is not actually zero. It’s most likely a zero to one.

So you might be thinking, “Oh, well, that's not a big deal. Half a carb? Not a big deal.” Actually, it's likely undermining your efforts to lose weight.


But the real problem comes with the serving sizes when you're looking at the back of the package. Oftentimes, that tiny little packet you add to flavor your water is actually multiple servings.


Let’s say that again. Those little drink powder packets are most often more than 1 serving.


Uh-oh.


Yes, uh-oh indeed.


By the time you have consumed one of those little infuser packets, you've already had one and a half carbs. Additionally, if you're, trying to lose weight or you're trying to watch your carb intake, you might unknowingly be taking in carbs through these powder drink mixes.


But, most people don’t realize each of those little packets is 2 (or MORE!) servings. They, think, “Woo hoo!! ZERO CALORIES!! Fantastic”! Then proceed to drink five of those little packets a day!

See where this is going?


In your favorite water bottle, you’ve got 20 ounces of fresh, ice cold water. You dump in one of those little flavor enhancing packets. You refill that bottle four more times and repeatedly dump in another packet in each bottle. At the end, you think, “Yes! I’ve gotten my 100 ounces of water in today”.


EXCEPT...


That pesky little detail of “3 servings per packet”. So, instead of ZERO, you’ve ingested these “half carbs”. Instead, you’ve guzzled an additional 5-7 ½ carbs you are unaware of. Plus, you’re not tracking these and in the setting of macros and micros (I’ll touch on these next week!), you may have just put yourself out of your daily range for carbs. But, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW, because it has ZERO on the label.


In all honesty, it’s better to just stay away from these enhancers. Pay attention to these details. If you need a little boost to your water occasionally, make sure to just use a portion of the packet. Moderation is key (which means NOT every day nor in every bottle).

I mean, 7 ½ carbs is a lot, especially when you don’t realize that you’ve ingested them.

Infused Water

Infusers are different than the ZEROs because the nutritional information includes those potentially pesky little fraction carbs. Infusers are low in calories, low in carbs, but again, the nutrition label includes all this. If you’re tracking, you can do so appropriately.


I have infusers that I add to my water and a lot of my clients add them to their water to mix things up a little bit. But, mistakes can be made with these, too.


When I was in my weight loss phase, I used the Walmart brand infusers. They were cheap. I thought, as many people do, “This will be GREAT! They have a peach tea! I can give my water a boost without damaging daily nutrition.”


Except, I STOPPED LOSING WEIGHT!!


This blip in my weight loss boiled down to these fraction carbs. In my case, like many others, these add up and really mess up nutrition and stall weight loss.


But, when used appropriately, infused water can really be a great way to incorporate more nutrients. The ones I use now, like those my clients use, have some different things incorporated into them.


For example, in the morning I drink an infuser that contains the Vitamin C of eight oranges. This boost is especially helpful during cold and flu season. I've got another one that I drink at night that replenishes my vitamins and minerals.


Like all things in life, there are some excellent, healthy infusers and others that could cause you to slip up in your carb counting. Read the labels and be mindful of serving sizes and carb fractions.


But you can also infuse your water using things like lemons, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, and other fruits. These are great, natural alternatives you can use to infuse your water, without all the extra carbs.


Infusing water is a great way to up the ante with water, especially if you are transitioning from lower water intake or consuming other types of beverages. Infused water is an excellent option to help boost your water intake as you get accustomed to drinking more water and less coffee, sodas, or other drinks.


Now, if it comes down to drinking soda versus infused water with fraction carbs, I’ll always point you to that infused water. Especially if you are transitioning from sugary, calorie-laden sodas.

Up the Ante: Increase Water Intake


So, I’ve already discussed one way to up the ante with your water intake and that is to use infusers.


Another way to increase your water intake is to drink 20 ounces with every meal. For me, it’s easy to drink 100 ounces of water per day because I eat six times per day. That’s a pretty easy habit to build.


When we first start increasing our water intake, it often feels like, “Ugh, more water”. But after a time, our bodies will begin craving water and it becomes our “go-to” liquid to quench thirst.


Today, try adding some fruit to your water to give it a little flavor. No worries with this option about fraction carbs! Then join the discussion on the Erin Kay Coaching page!


*If you are interested in learning how to become more hydrated and are ready to finally shed that last 30-60 pounds for good, send me a PM and I can get you on my early bird list for a program launching in July!*