Tackling overhunger lesson 3: avoid liquid calories

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

To continue our journey along the anti-hunger road, today we are touching on the texture of the foods we are eating rather than the macronutrients. I can’t tell you how many of my patients and clients tell me they are drinking smoothies or protein shakes, believing them to be healthy, and confused about why they’re struggling to maintain an ideal body weight. I always advise them that liquid calories aren’t registered in the same way that solid calories are, and to consider only eating (rather than drinking) their food.

Numerous systematic reviews have found a connection between calories consumed in liquid form (whether sugar sweetened beverages, fruit juice, or smoothies/shakes) and weight gain. There is a lot of research related to the act of chewing and how this in and of itself leads to a whole cascade of gut and brain responses that lead to satiety. For this reason, I advise my clients to chew the whole fruits and veggies that they would’ve put into their smoothies.  One paper found that when people drank a set amount of calories in liquid form (fruit juice) before a meal, they consumed significantly more calories at the subsequent meal compared to semi-solid (yogurt) and solid (bread) preloads.

Bottom line: stop drinking your calories to help decrease hunger and improve satiety.




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