Its easy to overlook the caloric impact of many of the drinks we consume. Sugary beverages are being blamed for the current childhood obesity epidemic and the country is considering a tax on all sugary drinks, specifically soda. The average soda contains 35 grams of sugar. Thats almost 10 tablespoons or 10 packets of sugar! A soda from time to time will not kill you, but for many Americans, its a staple in their diet. We cant just blame soda however, juice is no better. There are better ways to get vitamins and antioxidants than starting your day with a fruit flavored suspension of sugar. Many of the popular sports drinks are misguiding too. Unless you are exercising for over an hour, you do not need to be consuming extra sugar to get through your workout. Not to mention many of these beverages have substituted pure sugar for high fructose corn syrup. They are really sodas without the carbonation, disguised as a performance enhancing product. Start substituting water, tea, and low fat milk with these high sugar drinks and watch the pounds start dropping. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is doing something about it. With a "tell it like it is" add assault on sugary beverages, encouraging consumers to purchase drinks with less sugar.
As Americans continue to struggle with diet and obesity, we keep looking for things to eliminate from out diets as the next hot weight loss trend. First it was fat, fat free everything, which led to over consuming over processed carbohydrates, and a heavier population. Why are we so fat phobic? Dietary fat, should have a different name. Though its chemically similar to the adipose tissue we store in our bodies, and every cell is made of, including 2/3 of our brains, consuming dietary fat does not necessarily lead to storing more adipose tissue. Yes, dietary fat is calorically dense, so it should be eaten in moderation. That density though, packs a punch in terms of satiety. Fat slows down digestion, which slows down the rate at which you blood is flooded with the sugar from the carbs you are also eating. Foods, specifically carbohydrates are ranked according to their glycemic index, a scale measuring the level of blood glucose and insulin levels after eating. Low glycemic foods are the secret to long-term health, reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and is the key to sustainable weight loss. Fat slows theses foods absorption rate, thereby lowering the natural glycemic index. Additionally, fat triggers hormones in the body that leave you more satisfied sooner, and longer. Healthy fats include mono and poly unsaturated fats, high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which have been proven to boost and protect brain and heart function. Foods rich in these fats, include olive,nut and seed oils, avocados, nuts and seeds, fish, and some plants. Additionally, some grass fed animal proteins and dairy now contain high levels of omega 3 and 6. Start incorporating healthy fats into your balanced diet of lean proteins, plant-based complete protein combinations and high fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates. These 3 macronutrients should be consumed at every meal and snack to control hunger, blood sugar, weight management, and physical and mental performance.
Look out for my next blog on macronutrients as I explore the mistakes and benefits of protein and carbohydrate consumption as part of a balanced diet.