# Just a few pounds here and there.August 11, 2009 4:57 AM   Subscribe

How much weight do you put on by, say, drinking 600 mg of Coke/Pepsi a day?

Does it matter if you’re drinking Diet Coke or Pepsi, and how many kilometers/miles will you have to walk or run before you’ll be able to burn off those calories that you’ve gained? Also, is it the same thing in the case of Fruit Drinks, like Maaza (which is a Mango flavoured fruit drink that you get here). link

The reason why I'm asking is because, before the accident, I had put on a lot of weight (weighed something like 90 Kilos) and lost quite a bit after the accident, but right now the doctor says I'm fine (weigh a healthy 70 Kilos) and I'd like to stay this way.

What, aside from a healthy Diet, and giving up the above mentioned Aireted drinks (how much of them will I have to give up) will I have to forgo.
posted by hadjiboy to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Aerated
posted by hadjiboy at 5:02 AM on August 11, 2009

600 mL of Coke contains about 250 calories

You burn roughly 120 calories per mile of running.

So two miles of running = no more coca cola.

Diet Coca-Cola contains next to no calories, so it won't cause you to put on weight as eventually you will pee it all out. Of course it still isn't the healthiest thing to be drinking!
posted by TheOtherGuy at 5:05 AM on August 11, 2009

There isn't a simple answer to this question, because it depends on what your eating and exercise habits look like otherwise, and whether and what the Coke / Pepsi displaces something else you'd otherwise eat.

600mg of either Coke or Pepsi have about 250 kCal. Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi each have about 0 kCal.

If we make the assumption that you are eating exactly enough to maintain your weight, and then add 600mg Coke a day, and there are no compensating reductions in your diet, then you should gain on the order of 1 kg / month. To offset the Coke and maintain your present weight, you'd have to add about 2.5mi walking each day.

But so far as I know, there's little basis for any of these assumptions. All things equal, adding a high-calorie soft drink to your diet will increase the chance that you gain weight, but it's impossible to be precise about it.
posted by grobstein at 5:15 AM on August 11, 2009

Roughly, 3500 calories = 1 pound of weight (generally fat). If you break this down into a week, you're going to want to stay within your calorie count for your weight and activity level (there are calculators online that help with this (you can find some resources here, for instance), and you can factor in sugared soda, if you like to have it in your diet.

So let's say you're eating at your maintenance level, and you have 1200 mL of Coke on top of that, that would add up to about 500 calories extra per day, which would roughly work out to 1 lb. of extra weight per week. Now, as you gain weight, your maintenance level rises, so you're not going to gain weight with those extra Cokes, if you maintain the same level, but it's a rough guide.

Exercise can burn calories, but eating within your caloric range is usually the most consistent way to maintain a certain weight.
posted by xingcat at 5:16 AM on August 11, 2009

None without a context

You have a baseline metabolic rate that burns X number of kcals a day.
If you take in more or less than that you will gain or lose weight (roughly 1 pound for every 3000kcals) .

I'm currently dieting and losing weight very successfully just by using the Daily Plate on livestrong.com. It is freaky how accurate the math is for me. I pretty much know how much I will weigh before I even get on the scale. The weird part is that by tracking calories I realized that I was actually starving and binging because of sporadic exercise and that resulted in gaining weight. I now feel like I eat more because I don't have low cal days like I used to.

On livestrong Pepsi is 100 kcals for 240 ml. Coca-cola clocks in at 96 kcals for the same amoumt.
So from the math, using pepsi, you are gaining one twelfth of pound a day assuming you are meeting your baseline metabolic needs with other food.

By the way - diet colas while "not the most healthy thing you can drink" are completely and utterly harmless as evidenced by about 30,000 medline results with a minuscule number showing very weak and often un-replicated problems. They are the pretty much the most studied food that people eat. The only real risk is of displacement - drinking diet cola may push out things like milk with it's calcium benifits or juice with vitamin C...etc...
posted by srboisvert at 5:17 AM on August 11, 2009

You probably mean 600ml (600mg is about 1/10 of a teaspoon).

Taking in too many calories and then trying to burn them off with exercise is not very efficient. It takes a lot of exercise to get rid of surprisingly few calories. It's much, much easier to try to consume the right amount of food in the first place.

If you enjoy carbonated drinks, the diet versions are practically calorie-free, so they'll have no effect on your weight.

Maaza drinks, on the other hand, contain fruit and added sugar, so they will contribute to weight gain.

Don't become obsessed with your weight; for instance, don't check your weight every day, because there are natural daily fluctuations of several pounds; it's easy to think "oh no, I've gained three pounds since yesterday". Weight yourself once a week and keep a note of it somewhere. If you notice an upward trend in your weight over several weeks, try to eat fewer carbohydrates (rice, bread etc.) and more fruit and vegetables for a week or two until your weight settles back down again.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:19 AM on August 11, 2009

By the way - diet colas while "not the most healthy thing you can drink" are completely and utterly harmless...

This is probably true with respect to their effects on the body. However, diet cola (and all other kinds of carbonated beverages) are acidic and can contribute to damage to your teeth. So, like all things, best consumed in moderation.
posted by dseaton at 5:38 AM on August 11, 2009

posted by danep at 5:49 AM on August 11, 2009

By the way - diet colas while "not the most healthy thing you can drink" are completely and utterly harmless...

Harmless? Probably. Completely and utterly? No.

Summary: There may be a link between obesity and diet soda versus regular soda, but there is that whole "correlation != causation" thing people forget about.

That said... If you are reasonable about your diet soda consumption it will not make you fat or unhealthy. If you are drinking normal soda then you must make sure you are still below the amount of calories you will burn in a day to avoid weight gain.

The real question: why would you drink Coke or Pepsi when there is orange soda? You know how Prometheus gave fire to man? Zeus was pissed about that, but he didn't get his liver eaten out by birds until he gave man orange soda...
posted by Loto at 6:08 AM on August 11, 2009

Does it matter if you’re drinking Diet Coke or Pepsi,

There is some evidence that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may be linked to weight gain.

posted by googly at 6:13 AM on August 11, 2009

Calories in soda not offset in diet.

If you eat an extra few hundred calories of, say, chocolate candy, you are likely to eat a few hundrew fewer calories of, say, steak later that day.

But if you drink an extra few thousand calories of soda, you are not likely to eat fewer calories later that day, meaning soda contributes to a net increase in consumed calories daily.

As an aside: I'm always fascinated by people who swear they can't give up Coke/Diet Coke/Sweet Tea/X sugary beverage. Shouldn't being desperate to keep it in your life indicate that it has an unwholesome hold on you? That being said, if Dr. Pepper were no longer manufactured and I couldn't get an occasional hit, I would probably kill myself.
posted by jefficator at 7:04 AM on August 11, 2009

Diet cola does not have any calories in it. But you still gain water weight until you pee or sweat it out. Regular cola and fruit juices however are loaded with extra calories. The best alternative to all of these would be water or green tea. Water has no additives and is good for you. Green tea raises your metabolism. Diet cola and regular cola will raise your insulin levels making you crave more sugars/carbs. So learn to give up regular cola, treat with a diet cola once in a while, and regularly drink green tea and water. :) good luck.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:32 AM on August 11, 2009

Two recommendations that have really helped me avoid soda:

1) Many soda fountains at restaurants have fizzy water tabs in addition to water tabs. (Y'know, that little plastic thing under the lemonade dispenser you push down?) You get the bite of carbonated soda, except it's good for you.

2) Supermarkets often sell a bottled fizzy water with fruit flavours and Splenda sweetening. This stuff is amazing. The lime water could masquerade as Sprite any day. (They sell flavoured unsweetened water too, but it tastes like ass to me. YMMV.)
posted by spamguy at 8:46 AM on August 11, 2009

Just a data point, but I used to drink at least a liter of Coke a day. I stopped cold turkey and within a month had lost 10 kilos/20 lbs. During this time, my diet more or less remained the same, as did my level of exercise. That was about 2 years ago. I haven't had a Coke since then, and haven't gained the weight back either.

The whole experience was a helluva eye opener.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:12 AM on August 11, 2009

Now, as you gain weight, your maintenance level rises, so you're not going to gain weight with those extra Cokes, if you maintain the same level, but it's a rough guide.

Just a note on this -- basal metabolic rate is most accurately correlated with lean body mass, not weight. Gaining muscle causes your caloric requirements to rise. As far as I can tell gaining fat has little or no effect on caloric requirements.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:18 AM on August 11, 2009

For people who find that the sweet taste of artificially sweetened sodas makes them crave actual sweets, sparkling water/fizzy water is going to be a better choice.

If you want to keep the high-calorie soda and maintain your daily calorie regimen, you are going to need to cut something else out. I know people who never eat sweets because they prefer to use their "sugar calories" on soda.

Everybody's different. You need to do what works for you. If tracking calories works for you, let me recommend CalorieKing.com as a site that offers calorie information for many internationally available food and beverage products.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:18 AM on August 11, 2009

Just a data point, but I used to drink at least a liter of Coke a day. I stopped cold turkey and within a month had lost 10 kilos/20 lbs.

Reminds me of the story of the guy who spearheaded the "Boycott New Coke" drive when it came out, and claimed he lost 20 lbs from the stress of losing his beloved "Old Coke." Err, maybe it wasn't the stress, fella!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:03 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

As far as I can tell gaining fat has little or no effect on caloric requirements.

Keep in mind though that this is true only for your basal metabolic rate. Which is the doing nothing at rate and doesn't include things like actually living. The moment you get up and walk somewhere you willburn more calories whether your extra weight is fat or muscle because you are moving that extra weight.

Fat and out of shape people are actually surprisingly strong due to an informal weight training regimen based on just being themselves. When you see them struggling to walk it isn't because they are weak it is because they are struggling to carry maybe a couple of hundred extra pounds with them all the time. It's like not being an olympic weightlifter except you never get to drop the bar.

One of the things I really like about livestrong.com's Daily Plate is that its calorie counts for exercise reflect this. Lose weight = Less work = Fewer Calories burned doing x.

Just a data point, but I used to drink at least a liter of Coke a day. I stopped cold turkey and within a month had lost 10 kilos/20 lbs.

-400 cals/day * 30days = - 4lbs or less. I'm thinking you must have either changed other things as well, wildly underestimated your actual average cola consumption (like by 5X!) or forgot how long it took to reach 20lbs weight loss.
posted by srboisvert at 3:09 PM on August 11, 2009

Also, is it the same thing in the case of Fruit Drinks, like Maaza (which is a Mango flavoured fruit drink that you get here)

Most fruit drinks are liquid candy just like soda. Always check the label for both the caloric content and the ingredient list. You'll be surprised how many of them have heaps of added sugar and as many or more calories as colas. Sure, they might have some vitamin C, but they are still liquid candy. There are better ways to get vitamins, like eating real fresh fruit.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:48 PM on August 11, 2009

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