Get Fit ! Feel Good ! June Blog
Let’s start by taking time to reflect on April’s Goal: Eat Better.
There are numerous reasons out there for why people don’t eat healthy. It’s too expensive, I don’t have enough time, schedules are too crazy, etc. If you are one of these people who find eating healthy difficult, your not alone and there are ways to change ones eating habits! Instead of trying to change your eating habits completely try to focus on one aspect of it. During last month’s blog we discussed then food groups and how to eat healthy for each group (see below). Pick one food group, set goals for that food group and focus on achieving those. For example if you don’t get enough vegetables then focus on that food group- your goal: fill half your plate with vegetables. For the next 28 days (that is how long it takes to form a habit) try to achieve that goal.
- Vegetables: fill half your plate with fruit and veggies (vary your veggies)
- Fruit: fill have your plate with fruit and veggies (focus on whole fruits rather fruit-based foods like applesauce)
- Grains: make half your grains whole grains
- Dairy: move to low-fat or fat free milk/ yogurt
- Protein: Vary your protein, don’t eat all red meat. Try poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins like beans
I was unable to write a blog for May but the wellness theme for the month of May was “Quit a Bad Habit”. However, the good news is that we are able to combine May’s wellness theme with this months goal- Lets try to quit the bad habit that is added sugar!
June’s wellness goal: Try to Eliminate (Added) Sugar
Why the word added is really important
Sugar has many forms and has many different types of names including but limited to: glucose, frutose, lactose, maltose, sucrose and table sugar. Some of these sugars such as glucose and fructose are found in fruits and vegetables, however, many of the foods, especially processed foods that we consume contain what is called “added” sugar. Added sugar in simple terms is sugar that manufacturers add to enhance the flavor of the food. the most common source of added sugar include soda, cakes, candy, and energy drinks.
The reason I am focusing on talking about eliminating or decreasing the amount of ADDED sugar we should eat instead of ALL sugar is because cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve and unhealthy. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, dairy replacements, eggs, and nuts all contain some sort of sugar. Cutting all of this out of your diet would leave you with eating meat and fats to eat… that is not healthy. These natural foods that contain sugar also contain lots of other benefits.
Natural vs Added sugar example:
- Added Sugar: A donut (chocolate frosted)
Calories: 290, Carbs: 34g, Protein:3g, Iron: 1mg, Vitamin A: 100mg, Sodium:340mg
- Natural Sugar: Apple (red delicious)
Calories: 64, Carbs: 15g, Vitamin A: 60mg, Iron:<1mg, Potassium: 113mg, Calcium: 7mg, Fiber: 2.5g, Sodium:1mg
With an apple you also will get fewer calories, fiber, vitamin c, potassium, and vitamin K and other smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals that your body needs!
To burn off the 290 calorie donut it would take you 81 minutes compared to the 18 minutes it work take to burn off the apple.
Some researchers have stated that our bodies need the NATURAL sugars to function… Again, the amount of sugar that we would need to function is super small and achieve these amounts through natural & healthy foods- we don’t need added sugar to help.
**Processed food: is a food item that has had a series of mechanical or chemical operations performed on it to change or preserve it. Processed foods are those that typically come in a box or bag and contain more than one item on the list of ingredients
Is sugar really that bad for you?
There has been numerous studies done that show an association between sugar intake and increased aging, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even cancer. Here are a few other reason why sugar REALLY IS THAT BAD FOR YOU.
Reason #1: Universal inflammatory. Inflammation is a defense tool that the body uses. When the body detects a harmful substance the first response of the body is to remove it. Inflammation is apart of the body’s immune system, chronic inflammation can eventually lead to several diseases, cancers, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Reason #2: Weight Gain. Even with regular exercise those who consume too much sugar are more likely to gain weight. Products that contain a lot of sugar usually does not offset hunger for very long, leaving you hunger and looking for more food. Sugar is not the only factor or reason people gain weight, however, limiting the amount of sugar in your diet is one of the simplest ways to prevent weight gain.
Reason #3: Diabetes. A high calorie diet of any kind can lead to type 2 diabetes, and usually diets high in sugar are also diets high in calories (sugary drinks are the most problematic).
Reason #4: Heart Disease. High sugar diets may increase the risk of heart disease. Some research suggest that drinks high in sugar are particularly the problem. This is because drinks high in sugar are also high in calories, do not affect hunger and provide an insufficient amount of energy.
Reason #5: Tooth Cavities. Consuming too much sugar may lead to cavities. After eating sugar your mouth forms a layer over the tooth called plaque. Plaque then reacts with the sugar that is in your food or drinks and triggers the release of an acid and can cause damage to your teeth. It is possible to repair some of the damage but overtime the damages are lasting.
Break down of sugar & WHY its hard to decrease sugar intake
Plain and simple: your body is programmed to want more. Many experts believe sugar can be addictive.
Your body is a machine and knows what needs to be done in order for it to survive. Sugar is also known as glucose, glucose is what fuels our bodies. All food eventually will break down to sugar, some are absorbed quickly and other (those attached to fat or fiber) break down much slower. Added and refined sugars (those in candy and desserts) are stripped of their nutrients such as fiber, allowing to be absorbed into your blood steam quickly. Absorbing sugar into your blood steam causes your body to release insulin to regulate the blood sugar and bring it back to normal. Over time your body will create shortcut and release extra insulin every time your blood sugar spikes- the extra insulin winds up pulling to much sugar from the blood bringing your blood sugar level down too low. This then sends a signal to your brain to consume more sugar to balance the blood sugar level.
Short story- When we eat sugar our blood sugar will spike then drop dramatically causing more sugar cravings. Instead of reaching for sugar, reaching for a balanced meal with healthy fat, fiber and protein is the answer to this problem.
Here are some tips to help you cut back on sugar intake.
#1 Cut back on sugar-filled drinks. Try drinking water, seltzer/ sparkling water, infused water, or herbal/ fruit teas.
#2 Avoid sugar loaded dessert. If your craving something sweet, instead of cakes, donuts, or ice cream try these: fresh fruit, dark chocolate, dates, Greek yogurt with cinnamon or fruit.
#3 Cut of completely or decrease the amount of sugar you add to your coffee. Many lattes and other specialty coffee drinks have loads of sugar in them. If you want your drink with no sugar or less sugar, make sure to tell them when you order as some places will put sugar in as the default.
#4 Watch out for sugar loaded breakfasts such as pancakes, waffles, jams or cereal. Try eggs, avocado, oatmeal or Greek yogurt.
#5 Get enough sleep
12 Months of Wellness
Next Months Wellness Goals: Recruit a Family Member
|March||Plant/ Try Gardening|
|May||Quit A Bad Habit|
|June||Try to Eliminate Sugar|
|July||Recruit a Family Member|
|September||Connect with nature|
|October||Change it up|
|November||Cold Season Ready|
|December||Enjoy the season & Reflect|