Here’s some tips you need to know before heading out to buy cough drops.

Watching your calories and losing weight is hard enough to do without having “extra” hidden calories appear in ordinary everyday products. After our article came out yesterday on Dieting Advice for Dieting Out we received many emails from readers asking about the best cough drops to use while dieting. Because this is a great question…there are many dieters that just grab any cough drop off the shelf while in the midst of a cold or flu outbreak and don’t think to consider that there are actually calories in most of the cough drop or lozenge products that are available.
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1. Read the Label: Just like with restaurant foods, or purchasing any type of item that you will consume, it’s important to read the labels on cough drops or lozenges. One reader wrote in to say she was using 10-15 cough drops per day and wondered why she was having difficulty in losing weight. With some products and brands on the market today having 15 calories per item, you can see how quickly these empty calories can add up.

2. Choose a Sugar Free Variety: Some brands are now offering sugar free versions of cough drops and these can be a better option than using products that contain high amounts of sugar. Be careful however, to read the label on the cough drops that say “sugar free” also. Sugar free does not necessarily mean no calories.

3. If you’re having difficulty finding a sugar free version, try shopping in the diabetic section. Diabetic patients have to pay attention to the amount of sugar that they consume each day in their diet, so if all else fails, head to the section of the store that carries diabetic items and see if you can find selections there that have less sugar.

4. Compare brands: My personal favorite for sugar free cough drops is the Ricola Brand, but it is very important to read the label as they carry both regular and sugar free varieties. The Ricola Brand Sugar Free Lemon version, (my favorite) they have several different flavors are listed as being calorie free for 2 cough drops, however if you consume 7 drops then they are equivalent to 1 fruit exchange for Diabetics. So looking at the “exchange” information on cough drop labels will help you to determine some idea of calories. The reason calorie free labeling is so confusing is that the Food and Drug Administration says that as long as a product has less than 5 calories it can be labeled as calorie free! So don’t take any food item that says calorie free and think you can eat the entire bag of something. This will derail your diet quickly and it’s these “hidden” calories that can cause you to lose momentum with weight loss or get discouraged if you’re eating and exercising but still not losing weight.

5. Probably the most important tip I can give you is to prepare and have a supply of the sugar free cough drops that are best for you and your family before the cold or flu strikes. When you’re feeling poorly the last thing you want to do is to go out and compare labels and you don’t want to be out infecting other people in the store if you are ill. So, shop for sugar free cough drops while you are healthy. You’ll be glad to know that you that in the event that you get a cold or flu, that you’ll have some cough drop products that won’t wreak havoc on your waistline while you are getting better.