When it comes to finding simple things to lose ten pounds in a year, often the answer is easy. It means changing your tastes – and finding something that is a lower calorie alternative or substitution for what you normally drink.

Soda pop is nothing but pure liquid calories – and often I see people walk around with a huge container filled with soda from some convenience store. Did you know that a can of soda is about 100 calories for 8 ounces? There it is– a simple way to save ten pounds in a year.

I don’t think that even diet soda is a great thing for the health-conscious consumer – but it is a step to better health.

Still, be on the look out for liquid calories that add up quickly for your weight gain. The 20 ounces bottle of Sunkist soda is 325 calories! That isn’t “natural goodness” in there– that is the same amount of calories as over a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Snapple 20 ounces is 250 calories. Drink one of those a day above what you normally consume and at the end of the year you will have gained 25 pounds!

And don’t forget that cup of latte you get – well, the Starbucks Frappuccino (13.7 ounce bottle) is 290 calories! A simple cup of coffee with a teaspoon of sugar and creamer is 25 calories (add ice in the summer to make a cold coffee drink).

So, when it comes to liquid calories- water is best,calorie free, and will quench your thirst. If you “must” drink soda– don’t drink the kind with sugar or high fructose corn syrup – instead, drink zero calorie soda.

Other healthy alternatives include Propel Fit Lemon, only 25 calories, or Desani Plus Pomegranate Blackberry, zero calories. Sobe Lean Mango Melon is only 12.5. And for your water you can always purchase packages of Crystal Lite to place in the water– zero calories! Remember, changing 100 calories a day is 10 pounds in a year. So think about those liquid sources of weight gain – and try some new ones.

Peanut butter is a bad protein source because it Is full of high calorie fat

Anyone who has been in my office sees rows of diet books.Almost every new diet that comes along, I have to get the book to read about it, because at some point a weight loss surgery patient will come in and say that they learned some nutrition when they were on some diet plan.

One of the most common bits of misinformation is that peanuts – and hence, peanut butter – is protein – or a healthy snack — or a complex carbohydrate. Book after book on my shelf lists peanuts as a great source of protein, and a “snack that is healthy for you.”

I wonder if they ever bothered to look at a jar of peanut butter? Of the 190 calories in two tablespoons of peanut butter, 140 are from fat. Two tablespoons of butter contain 200 calories – all of which come from fat. Basically, while there is a bit of carbohydrate and some protein – peanut butter is over 70% fat . A tablespoon of peanut butter isn’t much- seems to fit right on that celery stick– and four tablespoons of peanut butter — well, now you have just had more fat than in a Big Mac. A Snickers bar (not a healthy snack) has less fat than two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Fat is not, nor will it ever be, a healthy snack. Fat is a dense source of calories, and if you are thinking about losing weight – the last place you would want to get a snack from fatty foods.

When it comes to heart disease — what are those damaged heart vessels lined with– FAT.

Now there are those who will tell you that fat does not make you fat (seriously, someone has this as the basis of their diet) – or that fat is healthier than bread (all I can say is they are nuttier than peanut butter).

If you want a quick, healthy snack — think of an apple, or an orange, or almost any fruit (not fruit drink, not a fruit smoothie, but real fruit). It will fill you, it won’t cause you to gain weight, and will keep you satisfied for hours. One apple has 72 calories (only two of them are from fat).