Top 20 most popular drinks, ranked by calories

What you drink can have a surprisingly significant impact on your weight loss journey. So if you’re embarking to shed a few kgs, it’s important to consider your chosen fluids as well as what you eat. Our resident dietitian ranks her top 20 beverages from least to most calories so you can make smarter decisions. 

If you’re on a weight-loss crusade, chances are you’ve thought a lot about what you usually eat, and what you’d like to change. My hot tip, however, is to broaden your focus to include what you sip on, too. That’s because fluids can contain a surprising number of calories – and if you’re not mindful of them, they can easily hinder your attempts to lose weight (or even lead to weight gain).

What is the healthiest thing to drink?

As boring as it sounds, water should always be your drink of choice. Not only is it kilojoule free, but drinking enough is essential for keeping your body working it’s best. Amongst many other things, water helps to regulate your temperature, cushion your joints and even keep your bloodstream fluid. It’s got a pretty important job!

If plain water doesn’t cut it, a fun way to boost your h2o intake is to make your own homemade fruit and herb infusions. Simply fill up a pitcher with water and try as many different combos as you like. Some of my favourites include lime and mint, lemon and orange, and mixed berries.

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After water, the next best choice might surprise you: milk. It’s got a high moisture content so is very hydrating, and it provides a handful of important nutrients including muscle-building protein, bone-strengthening calcium and Vitamin B12 for healthy blood.

Aside from water and plain milk-based drinks, I’d classify most other options as ‘sometimes’ sips. They’re usually calorie-dense thanks to tonnes of added sugar and offer few important nutrients. I’m talking about soft drink, takeaway smoothies, alcohol and even fruit juice in large quantities.

Popular sips ranked by calories

To give you some context, the average energy intake is 2080 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, that number drops to roughly 1500 calories. Obviously, a couple of hundred calories here and there spent on fluids isn’t really a big deal – but it becomes an issue when you’re guzzling multiple different calorie-dense fluids throughout the day.

To give you a helping hand with reigning in your liquid calorie consumption, here’s a list of popular sips, ranked from lowest to highest calories.

  1. Water – 0 calories
  2. Black coffee (250mLs) – 4 calories
  3. Black tea (250mLs) – 4 calories
  4. Tea with a splash (30mL) of full cream milk – 24 calories
  5. Tea with a splash (30mL) of full cream milk and one sugar – 43 calories
  6. Champagne (150mLs) – 105 calories
  7. Small flat white on light milk – 112 calories
  8. Beer (330mL) – 113 calories
  9. Red Bull (250mL) – 116 calories
  10. Red wine (150mL) – 116 calories
  11. Rosé (150mL) – 119 calories
  12. Lemonade (375mL can) – 120 calories
  13. Powerade ION4 Berry Ice (600mL) – 149 calories
  14. Cola (375mL can) – 151 calories
  15. Small flat white on full cream milk (290mL) – 158 calories
  16. Small flat white on full cream milk with one sugar (290mL) – 177 calories
  17. Homemade banana smoothie (one cup of light milk and one banana) – 252 calories
  18. Freshly squeezed orange juice (600mL) – 256 calories
  19. Boost Juice Mango Magic (medium) – 336 calories
  20. Cha Time Premium Pearl Milky Iced Tea (large) – 478 calories

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.