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Commenting on a New York City initiative to curb the consumption of unhealthy beverages, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley recently said:
“Sugary drinks shouldn’t be a part of our everyday diet.
Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.”
The reality according to the health department is that on average, Americans now consume 200 to 300 more calories each day than 30 years ago. Nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks.
When health department researchers surveyed adult New Yorkers about their consumption of soda and other sweetened drinks, the findings showed that more than 2 million NY citizens drink at least one sugar-sweetened soda or other sweetened beverage each day, equaling as much as 250 calories a pop.
People often feel bad about stirring one or two tablespoons of sugar into their morning coffee, but they don’t blink an eyelash when chugging down a soda, iced tea, coffee, or sports drink with 16 teaspoons of sugar in one can.
Are You Pouring on the Pounds?
Here are 10 ways you can avoid pouring body fat directly into your skin:
- High fat dairy products: cream, whipped cream, whole milk
Coffee drinkers pour cream and whole milk in coffee, tea, cappuccinos, lattes, and we even drink it straight.
How many tablespoons of cream do you use? One tablespoon of cream adds more than 50 calories and 5 grams of fat to a cup of coffee.
You can cut calories in half by ordering your coffee/latte products with skim milk instead of whole milk.
Instead choose: 1% or skim milk, low fat or fat free creamer
- Sugar based sweeteners: sugar, syrup
People pour sugar and various syrups into their coffee and tea, and they pour it all over fruit, pancakes, waffles, cereal, oatmeal, and God only knows what else.
Sugar adds empty calories to your diet and spikes your insulin levels causing massive havok within your body. In simple terms, insulin spikes tell your body to store all free calories directly into fat tissue for use later. Not good.
Hot chocolate is it’s own sugar based sweetener. It is nice for the kids in the winter, but moderate it.
Instead choose: Splenda, low sugar or sugar free syrups, cut out sweeteners all together, use sliced fruit on your food instead of syrup
- Regular soda
Thirsty adults pour tablespoons of sugar down their throats with each can of regular soda that they drink. I mean, there’s more sugar in soda than most people put in your coffee!
One can of soda contains as much as 16.5 teaspoons of sugar! Even a flavored regular iced tea can contain as much as 14 teaspoons.
Cutting soda completely out of your diet is one way to lose 5-10 pounds quick.
In my opinion, kids should not be allowed to drink any soda, period. We certainly do not allow soda drinking in our house.
Instead choose: water, flavored water, Capri-Sun Roaring Waters for the kids, Fresca, diet or unsweetened iced tea, seltzer water
- Fruit juice
People pour just as much sugar into their kids’ systems with fruit juice, as adults do with coffee and regular soda.
Your typical fruit juice has just as much sugar as a can of soda, if not more. Look for high fructose corn syrup on the nutrition label… I bet it’s one of the top 5 ingredients.
To buy healthy fruit juice, look on the nutrition label for 100% juice with no added ingredients. Better yet, save the calories altogether by choosing a water product instead. Many of them are even fortified with vitamins.
- Regular energy drinks
Tired people think they are pouring energy into their system, but instead it’s mostly sugar and caffiene.
Sure, the caffeine helps, but the sugar brings you up quick and crashes you down hard, which makes you want to drink more sugar or eat high glycemic index carbohydrates for another quick burst of energy.
It all started with Red Bull, then Monster jumped on the bandwagon, now there’s about 20 energy drink brands at your local convenience store. Most of them are flavored differently and are packaged in catchy containers to make you want to buy.
Don’t be fooled.
Eat brand of energy drink has 1, count them: 1, low carb or sugar free version. This is the only version you should ever buy.
Better yet, opt for one of those 5 Hour Energy or NOS Powershots for $3 at the register. They have few calories and will keep you going for 5 hours or more.
I recently had an OK experience with Venom Energy drinks, but otherwise I only choose the energy shots.
Instead choose: sugar free and low carb energy drinks, power shots, espresso, coffee, tea
- Sports drinks: Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water
Athletes and even regular folk pour sugar down their throats in the disguise of ‘healthy’ sports drinks.
Sports drinks are mostly gimmick. Even a 20-ounce bottle of a sports drink can have 7.5 teaspoons of sugar. Essentially, drinking a sports drink is as bad as drinking a regular soda.
There are times when sports drinks are recommended, for replenishing electrolytes and providing quick energy during exercise, but we should not be drinking them throughout the day.
Instead choose: low calorie, low sugar, or sugar free version of sports drinks; flavored water, water with lemon juice, 0 Calorie Sobe Lifewater
- Salad dressing: regular, low fat, or fat free
Even health conscious people pour 20, 30, 40 grams of fat or more on their salad by using traditional salad dressings. A couple tablespoons of salad dressing can add 20 grams of fat and 200 calories to your salad without providing any real substance.
You might as well just open up your belly and pour that dressing directly into the adipose tissue, because that’s where it’s headed anyway.
To make matters worse, low fat and fat free dressing is usually loading with sugar for flavoring. Using salad dressing is a no-win situation.
Instead choose: lemon juice, lime juice, low fat vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, low fat dressings that are also low in sugar
- Condiments: ketchup, bbq sauce, sweet and sour sauce, sour cream, cheese
Hungry people often douse their foods with condiments to add flavor.
Do you know what that flavor is? It is usually either fat or sugar, and that’s the truth.
Granted, you won’t ingest cups of sugar by using condiments, but it still doesn’t help.
Using high fat condiments such as sour cream and cheese can add up to 200 empty fat calories to your meal. Nacho cheese is one of the worst offenders… mmmmm… nachos…
Instead choose: lemon juice, lime juice, mustard, low fat sour cream, anything with less than 3 grams of sugar per teaspoon, salsa
- Alcohol: beer, wine, mixed drinks, shots
Alcohol is bad too, mmmkay?
Alcohol is bad, mmmkay? People who drink alcohol are essentially pouring bodyfat directly into their trouble areas.
One ounce or one shot of alcohol contains 70 calories on average, and who drinks just one shot?
Beer, wine, and mixed drinks have added calories in the form of sugar and other carbs. One beer or glass of wine can contain 150-200 calories, while a mixed drink could contain anywhere from 300-800 calories per drink, depending on ingredients.
Instead choose: light beer, use diet soda as a mixer, ditch alcohol altogether and switch to water and tea.
- Butter and salt
Please don’t pour butter and salt all over your vegetables, potatoes, and popcorn.
There isn’t a better way to add 200 calories of straight lard to healthy food, than by pouring on butter or margarine. And no, margarine isn’t any better for you than butter. It might have less fat, but margarine is often made up of 100% trans fats, which is like liquid death.
Salt won’t necessarily make you fat, but too much table salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Instead choose: low calorie spray butter or other flavor sprays, seasonings, sea salt
Avoiding the foods listed above and choosing the healthier options, is one step you can take towards a leaner, healthier life.
It is so important to impart these ideals on our kids. Please don’t forget about them. Our children will be so sad when 80% of the adult population is obese in 20 years.
Childhood obesity is a real problem. Everyone needs to help. Including you.
August 31, 2009: New York Daily News. Controversial new subway billboards show human fat being poured out of soft drink bottles
U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA National Nutrient Database