Reducing Sugar Intake during the Holidays and All Year Round
Statistics show that the average American gains between 6 and 10 pounds between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. This is no surprise considering that sugar intake is four times higher than the already-high norm at this time of year. Americans consume over 130 pounds of added sugar a year!
Tips for Reducing Sugar Intake during the Holidays:
- Explain to people that you are cutting back on sugar and why. This way they won’t feel offended when you don’t take their special Christmas cookies.
- Eat a healthy breakfast and pack healthy snacks before you leave the house. Building healthy habits will help with lowered willpower.
- Consider natural sweeteners like honey, molasses, or maple syrup as they contain natural minerals.
- Differentiate between junk and worthwhile indulgences. Keep a bar of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) around and just eat “one square” when you need a treat instead of reaching for the overly sweet stuff which can lead you wanting more.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Not only is alcohol high in sugar, but one or two cocktails can make you crave the sweets you are doing so well at avoiding. Plus sugar lowers our immunity.
- Pass up making sweets this year or at the least try lower sugar recipes instead.
- Eat fruit lower in natural sugars and needed fiber: ½ Green apple, ½ Cup of any berries, and/or ½ a lightly green banana are good examples.
- And finally, don’t beat yourself up if you falter. You are not a failure, you are an adult and you decide. Just try to make a different decision next time. Make progress, not perfection!
How much Sugar should we limit our daily intake to?
The American Heart Association recommends:
- For Women: less than 6 teaspoons/day or 24 grams/day
- For Men: less than 9 teaspoons/day or 36 grams/day
Note: This includes natural occurring sugar in foods.
Sugars that occur naturally in foods also supply key nutrients.
- Whole Fresh and frozen fruit (apple, blueberries, strawberries, banana, etc.)
- Most vegetables (carrots, tomato, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, cucumber, etc.)
- Whole foods provide beneficial fiber and other nutrients.
Best Choices: Honey (local, raw, unpasteurized), Maple Syrup, Molasses, Coconut Sugar, Rapadura (unrefined whole cane)
How to Evaluate Snack Foods for Sugar Content
Sugar is listed on the nutrition label as part of the total carbohydrates.
- 1 teaspoon sugar = 1 sugar cube = 1 sugar packet = 16 Calories
- 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Each time 4 grams of sugar appears on a label that is 1 teaspoon of sugar!
Hidden Sugars in your Foods
Tips for the Holiday Season
Eat healthy first.
If you have company or family holiday parties to attend, be proactive and control hunger by eating a healthy meal or snack before you arrive to the party. You can even bring along a yummy weight loss shake packet or protein bar that complies with the diet to enjoy just before or during the party to ensure that they are satiated enough to avoid giving in to hunger and overeating. Shakes and bars are delicious and scientifically designed for the highest level of satiety to curb hunger and cravings.
Bring your own portion-controlled plate and cup
Those large dinner plates can cause people to pile on far more than a single portion of food, and people are inclined to try and finish all the food on their plate. To help with this, bring your own smaller plate, maybe even find one with sectioned out portions, so you are aware of how much you are consuming. Bring a five ounce cup and limit oneself to one high calorie beverage a night, and stick to water for the rest of the night.
People often overeat because
Optimal Immunity (part 1)
The presence of the coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. And, as the world waits for a vaccine, many are beginning to understand that having a strong immune system is the first step in fighting this potentially deadly virus. Older adults typically have weakened immune systems. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the rule. At every age, lifestyle habits can affect immunity. The immune system is your 24-hour personal army that must respond to invasions and threats, and must be ready to attack. We cannot feel our immune system, but certainly become aware when it breaks down. Modern immunology tells us that there are factors in our world that erode our immune function. Over the next several weeks I am going to address these factors so you can learn to build your immune army to its fullest strength. The acronym I will use for these harming factors is PITS:
P = Poor nutrition
I = Infections and Inactivity
T = Trauma and Toxins
S = Stress and Sleep
Today, I will address the first factor, Poor nutrition. The immune system is a voracious user of vitamins and minerals, and most people do not consume the nutrients they need for optimal immune function. Many of our foods are overly processed and have chemical additives. Fast-paced lifestyles have led to fewer fruits and vegetables and increased sugar intake. Because of this,
New Review Investigates the Role of Diet, Lifestyle, and
Nutritional Status in Severe Infections
We are currently seeing a worldwide pandemic from a novel virus that has impacted public health as well as the economy. Most of the attention has been focused on social distancing guidelines, wearing masks, proper hygiene, laboratory testing, and contact tracing. These are all important; however, public health discussions have not been focused around lifestyle and nutritional strategies to support optimal immune function. This is essential as significant risk factors for poorer outcomes are associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as type II diabetes, obesity, chronic lung and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the elderly population. The link between infection severity and comorbidity has been seen in other viral infections as well.
In a review published three days ago in Nutrients, researchers investigated the role of diet, lifestyle, and nutritional status in severe infections.
Chronic inflammation has been involved in the onset and development of most if not all chronic diseases and it exacerbates viral infections. Current treatments to address inflammation in this novel virus have included first line antiviral medications, and specific anti-inflammatory and antimalarial medications; however, long term use of some of these medications has been associated with cardiovascular side effects.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the role of nutrition in supporting the immune system.
Poor diet and lifestyle choices are associated with low grade inflammation and increased oxidative stress, leading to the development of chronic disease and comorbidity. For example,