This post, unfortunately, will contain some math.

I get thirsty. I like various liquids. Sometimes my favorites, loose tea, teeth-chattering cold ice water, beer (not always appropriate), and what I call, “No BS seltzer” are not always available.

Last night I was deceived by the Arizona tea marketing department. Let me explain. 

I have been losing weight, 12 pounds over the past eight months. I have done this by raising my level of awareness by reading food and drink labels. One key element of reading labels is minding the portion size.

Last night I was at the pharmacy getting medicine for coughing family members. I wasn’t going home empty handed so I reached for an Arizona ice tea, “I haven’t had one of these since I was in high school.”

Right at the top, the picture in bold letters reads NUTRITIONAL FACTS. This is where the serving sizes live on the label.

I decided to skip over the next bit in my rush to get home to sick family and saw that a serving was 70 calories. That’s not bad. Total carbohydrate 18g, less than ideal, but considering the circumstances I allowed it. The problem was that I didn’t realize until half way through one can that it contained THREE SERVINGS.

The Math:

  • 70 calories x 3 services = 210 calories
    • 210 calories is just over 1/10th a daily allowance of a 2000 calorie diet
  • 18g of carbs x 3 servings = 54g 
    • 18% or almost 1/5th of that same daily calorie allowance

Losing weight is not as complex as we like to make it: eat less and/or exercise more. The way we eat less is by keeping track of (hopefully) high-quality calories and not exceeding our daily allowance. Arizona tea is not a source of quality calories. It tastes great but comes with a sugar rush and subsequent crash, which makes us want more sugar.

We lose weight faster by combining exercise on top of monitoring our quality caloric intake. That’s it. There are nuances I can talk about in separate posts, but at its core, those are the two main things people should wrap their minds around. Not seeking a magic bullet for weight loss.

The takeaway: One can/bottle/box/bag/whatever does not always equal one serving.

-Nurse David