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TOPIC: Liquid Calories?

 
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July 9, 2012 4:25 AM
Hey MFP community. I'm new to the boards and relatively new to MFP in general. I've been tracking my calories for a couple weeks now (with limited success, any help accepted lol) but I had a question about Liquid vs. Solid calories.

I typically make a smoothie in the morning ranging right around 300 calories (feel free to check out my diary, it's open to public view).

1 Banana, 1.25 -1.5 cups 1% milk, instant coffee, hot chocolate mix and ice cubes.
And I was just wondering if your body burns this off faster or slower than a solid meal around the same calories such as healthy cereal. The logic behind that question is that the calories are already "broken down" for digestion versus a solid food. I've also heard the colder something is the more calories you burn to digest it.

Just trying to find the most efficient use of my daily calories.

Thanks in advance!
--Becca
July 9, 2012 4:28 AM
Sadly a calorie is a calorie however you break it down. The only difference is maybe in satiety, as in general solids fill you up more than liquids. Personally, I'd feel fuller eating the banana and having a coffee (or iced coffee) with it! Extra calorie burn from taking in ice-cold foods is negligible, sorry.
  5028084
July 9, 2012 4:58 AM
I think it is more a matter of the macronutrients in the food than if it is a solid or a liquid. If you have no metabolic issues, and your smoothie fills you up, then go for it. I, on the other hand, seem to have some insulin resistance....I need to have about the same amount of calories, but I need about 10g of fiber, 20g of fiber, and 20g of protein.
  9724253
July 9, 2012 5:05 AM
QUOTE:

Hey MFP community. I'm new to the boards and relatively new to MFP in general. I've been tracking my calories for a couple weeks now (with limited success, any help accepted lol) but I had a question about Liquid vs. Solid calories.

I typically make a smoothie in the morning ranging right around 300 calories (feel free to check out my diary, it's open to public view).

1 Banana, 1.25 -1.5 cups 1% milk, instant coffee, hot chocolate mix and ice cubes.
And I was just wondering if your body burns this off faster or slower than a solid meal around the same calories such as healthy cereal. The logic behind that question is that the calories are already "broken down" for digestion versus a solid food. I've also heard the colder something is the more calories you burn to digest it.

Just trying to find the most efficient use of my daily calories.

Thanks in advance!
--Becca


Yeah the thermic effect of food is so minimal it is not worth thinking about.
July 9, 2012 5:22 AM
My understanding is that the more processed a food is, the quicker it takes to digest and therefore the GI rating is higher than if it was raw, meaning you would not be satisfied for as long a period. For example, rolled oats are lower GI than quick oats, when the only real difference is that the quick oats are ground smaller. However, they are basically exactly the same amount of calories. So, my guess would be that making your smoothy vs eating the banana makes no difference in terms of calories, however it may affect your satiety. Ultimately, it makes little difference, so I would eat your breakfast the way you enjoy it!
July 9, 2012 5:29 AM
It really depends on the type of calories you are consuming not what form they are in.

If you are eating liquid calories in a form of fruit then you are consuming simple carbs (sugars) which are quick energy sources and you will most likely be hungry again in a couple of hours. If it does make a difference in digestion I don't think it would be significant. Complex carbs (the ones that come from grains, etc) are slow burning and will give energy throughout the day. Animal protein (i.e. eggs) is also relatively slow burning and will take a few hours to digest and used up for energy. I don't see a big differentc ewhether you eat a hard boiled egg or drink it raw.

Ideally, you would want to mix slow burning and quick burning energy sources for breakfast. I.e. piece of toast with butter + smoothie.
Edited by onikonor On July 9, 2012 5:32 AM
  22767990
July 9, 2012 5:31 AM
To me, cals are cals, no matter where you get them from so whether it be liquid or solid, it still counts.

Personally, I would rather chew food and feel more satisfied than drink something and then feel hungrier and eat more. I find when I have tried to have a shake or smoothy type thing for breakfast I am hungry and eat toast or cereal anyway because it's just a drink to me not a meal.
  23136948
July 9, 2012 5:31 AM
If you are a smoothie person, ( which as of the past month my boyfirend and I have been making several a week), you can do it for less calories. The calorie counting has really worked for me and after doing this for about 3 months, I have lost 5 pounds a month. So about 1.2 lbs each week.
For making smoothies, measure out the ingredients exact to the serving size. My smoothies average 100-145 calories depending what I put in them. Instead of milk, I use a Dannon Light anf Fit yogurt which is only 80 calories. They come in so many flavors it really makes the smoothie interesting. Then I put 4 oz of strawberries ( or half a cup) for only 24 calories, and some equal for zero calories, and ice. Thats only 104 calories. Bananas are 103 calories. They have banana yogurt which I use instead and I still get the taste of a strawberry banana smoothie but not the extra calories. When I add peaches its only an extra 35 calories so thats still at 139. I actually added some sugar free hot cocoa powder to my smoothie for the first time this week. It tasted really good and still put the smoothie at under 200 calories.

I learned doing this it really is about making smart choices about what you are eating/putting into your food.

I hope that helps.
  20169061
July 9, 2012 5:47 AM
There was an interesting documentary I watched where they gave two groups of people exactly the same meal for lunch, except one group had it as a meal, with a couple of glasses of water, and one group had it all blended up including the water, into a soup.

The group that are the soup felt fuller for longer.

The reason being, if you've eaten a solid meal plus water, the water will get absorbed quickly, and leave only the solid in your stomach making you feel hungrier quicker. The entirely liquid will take a little longer to absorb.

It doesn't mean you intake less cals, or your body absorbs less cals over all, but you wont feel as hungry as quickly.

NB: sometimes people use the term "liquid calories" to refer to alcohol, meaning non-nutritional liquid calories, which I know isn't what you were asking about, but might be worth remembering in case of misunderstandings etc.
  6463689
July 9, 2012 5:51 AM
No, it's the same - sorry!
And don't get carried away with shakes. Oprah Winfrey tried that in one of her many failed yoyo episodes.
Eat whole foods: lean meats, low fat dairy, nuts, whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies.
If man makes it, don't eat it. Processed foods have been demineralized and loaded with salt, sugar and fat.
Good Luck!
July 9, 2012 5:58 AM
QUOTE:

There was an interesting documentary I watched where they gave two groups of people exactly the same meal for lunch, except one group had it as a meal, with a couple of glasses of water, and one group had it all blended up including the water, into a soup.

The group that are the soup felt fuller for longer.

The reason being, if you've eaten a solid meal plus water, the water will get absorbed quickly, and leave only the solid in your stomach making you feel hungrier quicker. The entirely liquid will take a little longer to absorb.

It doesn't mean you intake less cals, or your body absorbs less cals over all, but you wont feel as hungry as quickly.


I also watched this programme and it was done using the Army. They both got the same but as quoted the ones with the food made into soup didn't go for more food when they came back from training. Try it the other way and see what is best for you. Keep the faith and you'll get there.

NB: sometimes people use the term "liquid calories" to refer to alcohol, meaning non-nutritional liquid calories, which I know isn't what you were asking about, but might be worth remembering in case of misunderstandings etc.
  24905013
July 9, 2012 10:55 AM
Thanks everyone! All your comments were very helpful.

I drink shakes for breakfast to allow me more time to sleep and get ready for work, rather than sitting and eating cereal or eggs.

I see that I can make them a little more nutritional by adding yogurt and different fruits (I don't do any sugar substitutes because of hereditary diseases that run in my family) but I know I can make this work for me as I do feel full for about 4 hours which seems really good.

Again, thanks for all the responses, it really is encouraging me to use this awesome resource on the forums to keep me on track!
July 9, 2012 11:14 AM
I don't think your smoothie is healthy. You can change the settings to track sugar as well because I'm curious how much is in the cocoa. I would use almond milk (a lot less calories) with chocolate protein powder. Banana have a lot of sugar in it as well and so does your granola bar. You're probably going over your daily sugar allowance.
  9947042
July 9, 2012 11:21 AM
I don't see any problems in having a smoothie. I have them once in awhile and use frozen berries, greek yogurt, and some water. There are a million ways to make a smoothie! :) As far as I know a calorie is a calorie whether it's liquid or solid. However, I did read somewhere that it's recommended we choose solids whenever possible as we will burn calories from chewing the food and breaking it down to digest. Just thought I'd share that little tidbit. I will often choose a protein bar over a protein shake now post workout.
  255
July 9, 2012 12:29 PM
QUOTE:

I don't think your smoothie is healthy. You can change the settings to track sugar as well because I'm curious how much is in the cocoa. I would use almond milk (a lot less calories) with chocolate protein powder. Banana have a lot of sugar in it as well and so does your granola bar. You're probably going over your daily sugar allowance.


Since I'm making a lifestyle change and not going on just another diet I am slowly making changes. Not only does this make it manageable as far as keeping me consistent and not feeling overwhelmed. It also allows me to slowly introduce this lifestyle into my very tight "just graduated college" budget.

Previously I would eat large bowls of sugary cereals DAILY for breakfast so this change is a healthier choice, but I do agree I could improve it some. I would LOVE a few recipes that are "tried and true" for green monsters and the like.

I mainly shop at Aldi so my choices are a little limited but it's what I can afford. I also live with my boyfriend who isn't (and doesn't need to) watching his caloric intake/output. I don't believe in forcing my choices onto him so what I buy at the store I try to make sure it is usable for both of us for the most part. Protein powder isn't really an option at this point. But I'm really open to any suggestions on maybe a store brand version that I could save up for.

I've tried almond milk before and to be honest I hated the stuff, so that isn't very enticing. Although I do like the idea of using yogurt and I know I can get lo-cal yogurt at Aldi or catch a good sale elsewhere.

I will look into a healthier mid-day, "eat at my desk at work with no mess" snack! Any suggestions would be awesome.

Thanks so much for your input!
July 9, 2012 12:57 PM
The calories may be the same, but I would think that a solid food diet - particularly if it contained lots of fresh foods (fruit and veges) is probably going to be better for your gut and digestion, as you do need "roughage" to keep your bowel moving and make you less prone to bowel cancer and other nasties.

If you are wanting an alternative to smoothies that isn't cereal, try 0%fat greek yoghurt with fresh or stewed fruit. I find 85 g of yoghurt (half a small pot) with the equivalent of 1.5 to two pieces of fruit keeps me going well till lunchtime.
Edited by earthwitch On July 9, 2012 12:59 PM
July 9, 2012 1:12 PM
QUOTE:

I've tried almond milk before and to be honest I hated the stuff, so that isn't very enticing. Although I do like the idea of using yogurt and I know I can get lo-cal yogurt at Aldi or catch a good sale elsewhere.

I will look into a healthier mid-day, "eat at my desk at work with no mess" snack! Any suggestions would be awesome.

Thanks so much for your input!


I bring to work fruit, string cheese, and nuts all in one day. You don't taste the milk in your smoothie because it takes on the flavor of your other ingredients. I use Sun Warrior Protein Powder, the bag is expensive, but it comes out to $1 a scoop which I think is reasonable. I bought it off of amazon with free shipping. If you email their website they will send you free samples.
http://www.sunwarrior.com/product-info/classic-protein/

You can add fresh baby spinach to any smoothie, it gets cut into so many small pieces you don't taste it.
I used to eat a yogurt daily but it had too much sugar in it, natural sugar. So now I buy plain greek yogurt and put one tablespoon into my smoothies to make it a bit thicker. The tub of plain flavor is also cheaper than individual flavored ones.

Also try not to eat white rice every day, try brown jasmine rice or quinoa.

Here's my smoothie recipe that tastes like a reese's cup:

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Calcium Protein Sugar

365 Whole Foods - Creamy Peanut Butter All Natural, 1 tbsp 100 3 8 1 4 1
Sun Warrior - Protein Powder - Chocolate, 1 scoop (21g) 80 5 1 6 15 1
365 Whole Foods - Organic Almond Milk, Unsweetened, 1 cup 40 2 3 20 1 0
365 Whole Foods - Greek Yogurt 0%, 0.06 cup (225g) 10 1 0 5 1 0
Finest Natural - Cold Milled Golden Flax Seed, 1 tbsp 35 3 3 1 2 0
Zico - Pure Coconut Water, 1 oz. 6 2 0 0 0 2
Navita Naturals - Raw Cocoa Powder, 0.33 Tbsp 8 1 0 0 0 0

Total Calories: 279 17 15 33(calcium) 23 (protein) 4 (sugar)
  9947042
July 10, 2012 7:27 AM
I agree, adding some fresh spinach is a great way to get in some extra greens and you don't taste it! I like to keep my smoothies pretty plain with just frozen berries, plain yogurt (usually greek), and some water. If I like it thicker I will add some banana too. Small changes will last so just keep making the changes. You're doing great!! I've never done this before, so not sure how it would taste, but maybe you could switch your hot chocolate mix for pure cocoa. I've done that with hot chocolate. No sugar and much more flavour! For my hot chocolate I mix 1 Tbsp of cocoa, 1 packet of stevia, and warm milk and some water. It's delish!!
  255

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