Jun 18 2015
Sweet poison: America’s deadly sugar epidemic.
There’s an epidemic among us, a white granular substance that’s taking over our lives and slowly eroding the fabric of health in this country. When ingested, it disrupts our body’s chemical and hormonal balance, promoting disease and causing a slew of health problems…and possibly even addiction or death. But we’re not talking about some illicit narcotic or dangerous substance sold in the shadows but our favorite added ingredient to our food, so much so that we have jars of it on restaurant tables and bags of it in our kitchens. We’re talking about sugar of course, and if you think the dangers are overblown, please read on. In fact, sugar is so harmful to our health that many medical and nutritional experts have called for it to be reclassified as a drug or a poison instead of a food, since it’s completely devoid of any proteins, minerals, vitamins, or nutritional benefits beyond empty calories.
Sugar is literally killing is.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes about 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars each year! That means most of us consumer our whole body weight or more in sugar. Another way of thinking of it is that we’re single handedly downing 30-34 five-pound bags of refined sugar each, adding up to almost ½ pound per day. Eat a full teaspoon of sugar every 24 minutes every day of your life and now you have an idea of the average sugar intake.
And if that’s not startling enough, remember that the average includes all of those folks who are health conscious and watch their sugar intake. So for every person that eats only 5 pounds of a sugar a year, someone else is eating a mind-boggling 295 pounds. To put that in perspective, in the early 1900s, less than 100 years ago, we only ate 4 pounds of sugar per year on average.
The ways sugar is damaging your health.
Sugar intake actually compromises your immune system. Studies show that even drinking a couple sodas can stunt your body’s white blood cells from killing bacteria and germs in the body up to 40 to 50%, from half an hour after you consumer the sugar to around 5 hours later.
Here are some health problems and diseases caused by high sugar intake:
cognition and memory
toxicity and fatty liver
Sugar is also causing our obesity epidemic.
With all of that sugar intake, it’s also no surprise that obesity is one of the most prevalent medical problems in our country, despite all of our education, affluence, freedom to make choices, and exercise culture. Point blank, we think it’s fat that makes us fat but instead, the most significant factor is probably out refined sugar intake.
Two out of three adults and one out of three children are now overweight or obese in America. Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years while childhood obesity rates have doubled. If something drastic doesn’t change, by 2030, it’s estimated that all 50 states will have obesity rates over 44%. Let that sink in. And we now spend an estimated $190 billion every year treating obesity-related health conditions, so imagine what the price tag will be then.
But it’s not just the U.S. with this growing waistline problem. Around the world, obesity rates have doubled since 1980, as many other countries now eat processed and sugary foods.
Clarifying the sugar connection.
Now this is a bit of an oversimplification because it would take this whole article to document the relationship between sugar and obesity. But basically, it’s our high insulin levels that have a direct correlation to obesity, and sugar causes our insulin levels to spike, the same way trans fats and alcohol do. Insulin allows glucose – blood sugar – to enter the cells and trigger the response to start burning glucose, not fat. The problem with a diet high in sugars and trans fats is that our insulin stops working correctly and the cells become resistant to it, leading to a whole lot of mal effects.
And don’t be confused by the fad diets and quack advice that try to scare you away from fruit. In moderation, the fructose from fruit is easily and properly metabolized, especially if you have an active lifestyle or after exercise, and there are also many nutritional benefits.
We can blame it on the liquid candy.
Sure, we eat far too much candy, ice cream, and donuts, but the real culprit is sugary drinks. Sodas, in particular, but also fruit juices, energy drinks, sweetened teas, blended coffees, and flavored milks are saturated with obscene levels of refined sugars (or high fructose corn syrups), and we drink a lot of them – especially our children. 50% of the U.S. population over 2 years old consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis, and that doesn’t even include fruit juices or teas, which would bring it much higher. In fact, U.S. children used to consume only 2% of their sugar and caloric intake from sugary drinks, but now that number is 11% or higher.
As a nation, we’re soda-aholics, and the size and sugar content of the average soda sold in grocery stores, mini marts, fast food chains, and movie theaters keeps swelling past the size of even our normal cup holders. The average 12-ounce soda (one can) contains about 8 ounces of sugar, so four of those equal a quarter pound of sugar in our systems. And with the average soda drinker consuming at least 2 ½ sodas per day, and factoring in 200-700 calories PER SODA, we’re easily adding a couple pounds a week, and poisoning our bodies.
The problem is so acute, that the American Heart Association estimated that sugary beverages cause well over 180,000 deaths each year.
How do we cut sugar out of our diet?
Some foods that are notorious for being high in sugar include cake, candy, chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, and ice cream. But you probably knew all of those, already.
The scarier part is that many foods have huge amounts of added sugar, even if it’s not listed in the ingredients (look for “high-fructose corn syrup” instead of “sugar”.) Even some foods that advertise that they contain low or no sugar have the same detrimental health benefits!
In fact, renowned endocrinologist Robert Lustig reports that 77% of food items in U.S. grocery stores contain added sugar, many of them for no apparent reason but to appeal to your addictive sweet tooth to get you buying more.
Sugars and artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup are commonly added to barbecue sauces, breads, canned fruits, crackers, frozen dinners, hot dogs, ketchup, marinades, peanut bitter, pickles, salad dressings, soups, and vegetables.
Do some research ahead of time what brands say they are sugar free and which ones actually are. Ban soda from your kitchen and meal times except for special occasions, and watch out for sugary fruit juices – water is the best alternative. Please contact us if you have any other questions or want more advice on staying healthy.
Aug 27 2015
25 Ways to cut 500 calories a day!
If you’re like most of us, you’ve spent the summer enjoying barbecues, hot dogs at ball games, and a few beers on the beach instead of hitting the gym. And even though summer’s nearly over, it’s never too early to start cutting calories so we’ll be ready to fit into that great swim suit next season.
For most of us, our fitness goals include shedding pounds, and when it comes to cutting calories, small changes in our daily habits can add up to big results.
In fact, just by cutting out 100 calories from your daily intake you’ll lose more than 10 pounds in one year. And you can lose up to 26 pounds in one year if you just cut out 250 calories per day.
But maybe you want more immediate results, like trying to look good for that vacation or high school reunion this winter. By cutting 500 calories a day, you’ll be able to eliminate 3,500 calories from your diet each week. Cutting 500 calories a day equals 3,500 a week, and since one pound of fat contains exactly 3,500 calories, you’ll lose one pound per week. Of course you can go to the gym and sweat it out and lose more, but just by using these tips and tricks in your daily routine you’ll be on your way to health – and looking great next summer.
Eating at home:
Eating out has its pros and cons: it’s convenient and there is no cleanup, but on the other hand, it costs much more than eating at home and you can’t control which ingredients go in your food or how it’s prepared. A study at the University of Texas found that female dieters took in an extra 226 calories and 10 grams of fat on the days they dined out. There are a number of reasons why, including portion sizes, ingredients used, and paying attention to everything landing on your plate.
Here are a few tricks to use at home to help cut out calories at home:
1. Plan ahead! According to one study, a planning your meals ahead of time really does help you lose weight. Perhaps it’s because having a plan forces you to keep healthier foods on hand, but planning ahead also helps you keep your eating on schedule: if you already know what you’re having for lunch, you’re less likely to let 6 or 7 hours pass without having something to eat—a situation that usually results in eating too much when you finally do sit down to a meal.
2. Swap your 12-inch plate for a 10-inch one. You’ll eat 20 to 25% less. If you normally eat 2,000 calories or more each day, you’ll cut 500 calories.
3. Measure your meals—overestimating by just a little can add over 100 calories.
4. Spray calories away! Avoid a heavy hand with cooking oil: Use an olive or canola-oil spray. A two-second spritz is roughly one-half teaspoon of oil — 100 calories fewer than the three teaspoons that could end up in your frying pan.
5. Bulk your meals up with leafy greens, like kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chards and a few others. They have several properties that make them perfect for a weight loss diet. They are low in both calories and carbohydrates, but loaded with fiber. Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals, without increasing the calories. Numerous studies show that meals and diets with a low energy density make people eat fewer calories overall. Leafy greens are also incredibly nutritious and very high in all sorts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. (And this includes calcium, which has been shown to aid fat burning in some studies!)
Calorie saving tips when dining out:
6. Speak up…! When you eat out, ask your server for foods made with low-calories cooking methods, such as poached instead of fried, or grilled or baked instead of breaded. That alone could save you several hundred calories.
7. Limit salad toppings. A big salad might seem healthy, but all those goodies on top can make it more calorie-laden than a pasta dish! Think about it: cheese crumbles, caramelized nuts, bacon, avocado, dried fruit, croutons, and vinaigrettes can add lots of calories. Save 500 or more calories by having just one topping, adding flavorful but lower-cal veggies (roasted bell peppers, grilled onions, or mushrooms), and using half the dressing—or cutting out the dressing altogether and squeezing a lime or lemon on top.
8. Break your bread basket habit. The fresh baguette offered by many restaurants may make your mouth water, but one portion dipped in a tablespoon of olive oil equals 300 calories. Ask your waiter to bring a small bowl of olives instead and nibble on five while you wait for your entrée, saving 280 calories.
9. Share! Cut your calories in half (and your bill!) by ordering and splitting your meal with a friend. You probably will still feel full, as most restaurants have portion sizes that are double (and sometimes quadruple) the size of what we should be eating.
10. Ask for a takeaway box. While it isn’t the sexiest thing to do on your date, ask your server for a box to come with your food. Once your food arrives immediately put half into the box; you won’t miss it if you can’t see it!
Don’t drink your calories!
11. Whatever you do, do NOT drink your calories. This is perhaps the easiest way to cut calories. For someone trying to watch their weight or consume a proper diet the calories that sneak in via beverages are usually forgotten. This is especially true when we are talking about sugary drinks, including fruit juices and alcoholic drinks. The absolute worst culprit is soda and fancy coffee drinks.
12. Drink LOTS of water. Hydrating is not only good for your health, it will keep you feeling more full and help you avoid sugary and high-calorie drinks.
13. Stick to drinking your coffee black. (Skip the milk and sugar!)
14. Drink tea or even hot water with lemon on a cold day instead of hot chocolate or sweetened coffee drinks.
15. Fruit juices sound like they should be healthy, but many of them are loaded with artificial sugars and high in calories.
16. Don’t drink soda. Ever! Soda consumption is probably the #1 contributor to childhood obesity, and will bloat you with nothing but harmful and empty calories.
17. Don’t drink alcohol, but…If you’re going to drink, try to stick to one glass of red wine.
18. If you’re more of a liquor drinker, why not skinny up your cocktails? Just try to skip the syrups, sour mix, sugary fruit juices, and creamy additions that turn drinks into desserts: an indulgent Mudslide can have more than 800 calories!
19. Instead, order drinks mixed with club soda, tonic water, cranberry juice, or a squeeze of citrus; or try distilled liquors on the rocks. You’ll save 100’s of unnecessary calories.
Burn big calories with small changes to your routine:
20. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Most of us assume our bodies burn more calories when we are awake longer, but that’s not true.
In fact, your metabolic rate is down-regulated with less sleep. Translation: When you sleep less, your body starts to burn calories at a slower rate to preserve energy. In a recent study, people burned on average 400 more calories by sleeping for 3 more hours, which adds up to an additional 2,800 calories burned in just one week! With less sleep, the body seeks to meet the increased metabolic needs of longer waking hours by shifting into a lower gear, so to speak, that it burns fewer calories and less fat.
And remember…the more calories you burn, the fewer calories you’ll need to cut. So make sure to get in some daily exercise.
21. Take the stairs. Do some stair climbing instead of hopping on the elevator at work, and you’ll be surprised how many calories you end up burning.
22. Park far away when you are at a mall, shopping center, or work, for a little built-in exercise.
23. Take a walk after dinner. When the food coma from dinner starts kicking in and you feel like melting into the couch and watching television all night, take a brisk walk instead. It will help with digestions, give you some energy to get through your evening without being a sloth, and you’ll burn a few calories.
24. Start a home exercise regimen. I love working out at home because there are no excuses. You don’t need fancy weights or machines – even simple pushups, air squats, abdominal work, stretching, jumping rope in the garage, yoga, etc. can be done for 20 minutes in the morning before work, once you get home, or even during the commercials while you watch TV! Do these as a family to make them fun.
25. Eat at your desk and go to the gym or take a walk. Instead of going out to lunch every day and then back to work, eat at your desk while you work and use your lunch hour for physical activity, like walking around or even a quick session at a nearby gym. You’ll be amazed how invigorated (instead of sleepy) you feel during the afternoon, and you’ll cut calories!
By Norm Schriever • Diet, Exercise, General Health News, Health and Wellness • Tags: cut 500 calories a day, cut calories, diet, exercise, good eating habits, look great, weight loss