Archives for January 2013

Jillian’s Getting Soft, SLIM Super Bowl Party Recipes and a Goal Setting App. It’s Friday. I’m In [Link] Love!

It's Friday, I'm In Love.

It’s Friday, I’m In Love.

Friday.  The best day of the week and I have links that you will love. Jillian Michaels is getting soft, the vomiting flu is sweeping the globe (Yikes!), fitness-themed parties are in vogue and the CEO of Weight Watchers says to forget about willpower.  It’s Friday, I’m in love!

Jillian Michaels: Putting Family Over Fitness Has Given Me A ‘Softer’Body – Although I’m not one of  Jillian’s biggest fans, I do enjoy her workout DVDs that are always varied and challenging.  I like her even more after reading the article about how ‘real’ her life has become since adopting a two year old from Haiti. She says she just doesn’t have the time to work out like she used to!  Read more about Jillian’s softer side here.

US Hit By Stomach Bug Spreading Around Globe – If you did as the CDC recommends and got an influenza vaccine this year, you may still be susceptible to a new strain of stomach bug that is sweeping the U.S.  There is always confusion about what is the flu and what isn’t. Illnesses where symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea are present is usually something other than the flu.  This article gives details about the new nasty strain that’s making its way around the globe.  I don’t know if there’s any way to protect yourself except as always wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!  Read  more about it here.

SLIM Super Bowl Party Foods from Simply Nutricising – If you’re working on your New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds, don’t blow it by mindlessly grazing on high-calorie foods on Super Bowl Sunday.  Simply Nutricising is a one-stop-shop for party appetizers created by nutritionist Alyson Heller.  Sloppy Joe lettuce wraps, chocolate covered strawberry footballs, low-fat stuffed mushrooms with crab, and more can all be found here.

Label Watch.comLabel Watch.com provides ingredient labels for over 25,000 foods and even breaks the ingredients down into categories:  Beneficial Ingredient, OK Ingredient, and Cautionary Ingredient.  If you’re trying to limit – or eliminate – your consumption of processed foods, this is an excellent resource.  The site also compares brands so, for example, if you search for English muffins you’ll see a list of about 15 labels.  Remember, often times more than five ingredients is an indication that the food has been heavily processed and is therefore lower in nutrition.

Fitness Themed Parties Gaining In Popularity – Don’t you hate it when you’re working towards a goal to lose weight and along comes a special event, such as a birthday, that you want to celebrate.  Usually that means dinner, drinks, and cake or other desserts.  All diet sabotages!  A fitness-themed party would be a way to celebrate that event in a healthier way.  You’ll burn calories and avoid all of those guilty pleasures that come with celebrations.  Get inspired to have your own fitness-themed party and start a trend where you live

Active Goals App – We already know that goal setting and tracking is the key to successful behavior change. A new iPhone app called Active Goals is designed to motivate you to do just that.  Active Goals allows you to set, keep and log personal goals whether they be running, swimming, biking, etc. The app is new on the market and getting good reviews. It’s available for $1.99 at the app store.  To read a review and find out more about the app click here.

Weight Watchers CEO: Forget Willpower and Do This Instead – David Kirchoff, the CEO of Weight Watchers, has tips to help people be successful.  Weight Watchers is considered to be one – if not the – best weight loss systems available.  In this video interview you’ll learn that even the CEO of Weight Watchers is tempted by his children’s candy.  Check out the interview here.

Share the LOVE!

Share the LOVE!

Share the Link Love or add to it.  Feel free to drop a link to your blog, web site, app, or favorite wellness resource in the comment box and I’ll mention it next time I spread the love.

Be Social!  Share! 

Healthy Homemade Pizza Recipe

It has been awhile since I made homemade pizza; crust, sauce and all.  I decided to experiment on Saturday night and the results were excellent.  I used a whole-wheat pizza crust recipe from Eating Well.  For the sauce I looked at several recipes and came up with one that turned out to be a combination of all of them.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust

I adapted this recipe from Eating Well.com.  It makes a light pizza crust thats fit perfectly on a cookie sheet.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package quick-rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup hot water, (120-130°F)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix.

Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be soft.

[Read more…]

Madonna’s “Addicted To Sweat” Workout Is Now on DVD

Addicted to SweatMadonna is as famous for her hard body and cutting edge dance routines as she is her music.

For years Madonna has followed a rigid fitness regime that includes cardio sprints, trampoline workouts, and jumping rope. I remember a few years ago reading that when she was on the road and not able to get to the gym she would run the stairs at the hotel that she was staying in.

The hard work has paid off for her.  At 54 she is still in top notch shape and attributes it to the dance workouts that she does with her personal trainer and choreographer, Nicole Winhoffer. Together, Maddona and Nicole have created a new cardio-sculpt dance workout series, Addicted to Sweat,  based on the workouts that Madonna does everyday to stay fit.

Up until now this workout has been offered exclusively at Hard Candy Fitness, Madonna’s signature fitness club, but has recently been released on DVD.  (Read to the end of the post to see how you can win the box set.)

The four set DVD consists of (1) a cardio-dance routine workout, (2) a “jaw-breaker” towel workout, (3) a ramped up cardio-dance workout that is faster and more challenging than DVD #1, and (4) a “jaw-breaking” routine using a chair that changes the meaning of words ‘chair workout’.

Below is the three  minute trailer for Addicted to Sweat:

The workout looks challenging and fun, but the complicated choreography may too much for some people to learn from a DVD. I’m thinking there is potential to take this workout across the globe and offer it as a series of classes taught by trained instructors in the same way Turbo Kick and Zumba are.

You can purchases the 4-set DVD for $49.99 here. For a chance to win the set, tweet your favorite Madonna lyrics using the hashtag #AddictedToSweat.  They will pick the top three.

What do you think?  Is Addicted to Sweat for you?

Be Social!  Share!

Be Part of the Solution. Join The No Fast Food Challenge!

Americans have an infatuation with fast, highly processed food that has resulted in a health care nightmare that amounts to 0 billion a year in medical costs according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Did you know that:

  • Americans consume more packaged food per person than our counterparts in nearly all other countries?
  • Americans eat 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food?
  • The average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar and upwards of 2 pounds of salt each year?
  • Epidemiologic studies have shown that diets with higher levels of fat, salt and sugar lead to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity?
  • Americans die earlier and live in poorer health than people that live in other developed countries
  • 59 million Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is caused from excess fat in the liver.  Each year 29,000 Americans die from NAFLD.
  • More than 3,000 food additives are added to our food products?

Fast Fool Collage 2.jpg

But Americans don’t want to be told what they should and should not eat.  I recently read an article called Cheesecake Factory On The List of Caloric Food Porn at Reuters.com.  The article was about outrageously unhealthy restaurant foods.  At the top of the list was The Cheesecake Factory’s Bistro Shrimp Pasta made with a butter and cream sauce, topped with battered fried shrimp.  Total calories were a whopping 3,120 with 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 milligrams of sodium.

Other food items mentioned were the Cheesecake Factory’s Crispy Chicken Costoletta with 2,160 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 2,720 milligrams of sodium, and Smoothie King’s Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie which comes in at 1,460 calories, 22 teaspoons of added sugar and 29 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar.  (I’ll let you do the math on that one.)

[Read more…]

Is Coconut Oil A Miracle Supplement Or An Unhealthy Saturated Fat?

Dr. Mermet Oz claims that coconut oil has superpowers.  It can help you lose weight, treat skin conditions and ulcers, and boost your metabolism. If Dr. Oz says coconut oil has superpowers, it must have superpowers, right?  Keep in mind that Dr. Oz is also one of the strongest supporters for the 3-Day Detox Cleanse which many registered dieticians think is a bunch of boloney.

If you’ve decided to use coconut oil to cook with, mix in your coffee or use as a nutritional supplement, you should proceed with caution.  Most of the research suggests that not enough data has been gathered on the health benefits of taking coconut oil internally to say that it is safe to consume in quantity.  Putting in on your skin and hair might be an altogether different story however.

Coconut oil research leaves us with unanswered questions.

Coconut oil research leaves us with unanswered questions.

Good Fat, Bad Fat or Both?

Pure virgin coconut oil contains 92% saturated fat which is the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat. Saturated fats are typically found in animal products and are easily recognizable because they become solid at room temperature.  Tropical fats found in palm, palm kernel and coconut oils are saturated fats that can be solid, semi-solid, or liquid at room temperature.  Animal fats contain cholesterol.  Tropical fats do not.

Consumption of saturated fats is believed to play a major role in the development of cardiovascular disease.  Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises our LDL (bad blood cholesterol) which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies that have examined coconut oil and the role it plays on blood cholesterol levels show that it improves the ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to LDL (bad) cholesterol, but overall, raises LDL levels.

According to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, “any food that increases LDL cholesterol should be limited because LDL cholesterol is the main treatment target for heart disease.”

But David L. Katz, M.D., director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center says that coconut oil contains lauric acid and stearic acid and these behave differently on the body.  He says that early research suggests they don’t raise the risk for heart disease.

Lauric and stearic acids are fatty acids that have been found to increase total cholesterol, but most of the increase is due to an increase in HDL. In fact, lauric acid has a more favorable effect on HDL than any other fatty acid.  So the presence of it, along with stearic acid, may keep coconut oil from being in the ‘bad fat’ category with the other saturated fats.

Harvard Health gives coconut oil kudos because it is a plant-based oil that contains antioxidants and other properties. A Harvard Health publication states that “ the overall effects [of coconut oil] on health can’t be predicted just by the changes in LDL and HDL”.

Recommended Daily Requirements

Even though there are conflicting opinions about coconut oil, it’s always wise to practice moderation.

The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fats – whether animal or plant based – should not be more than seven per cent of your daily calories.  For a person that consumes 2,000 calories a day, 7% is about 16 grams which amounts to 140 calories.  People that are trying to lose weight or lower their LDL should consume even less.

Other Benefits of Coconut Oil Are Questionable

Dr. Oz claims that coconut oil will help you lose weight because it improves the body’s ability to use insulin, boosts thyroid function and increases digestion so that fat-soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed.  To date there is no evidence that proves any of these statements are true, although there are plenty of web sites that promote the use of coconut oil and make a variety of claims about its medicinal qualities.

Like all fats, coconut oil is dense in calories and sparse in nutritional value so whether or not it can boost metabolism, give you more energy, or empty the dishwasher for you, limiting how much of the high-calorie oil you consume is key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Dr. Katz, in an article he wrote for Oprah.com said, “I have yet to see any convincing evidence that coconut oil can decrease your heart disease risk (or that it can boost your immune system or help you lose weight –two other claims).  Ongoing research may prove otherwise, but until the results are in, don’t make it a point to consume coconut oil.  And I wouldn’t substitute it for oils we know are beneficial, such as olive oil and canola.”

I think that’s good advice!

You might also like:  The Battle of the Oils: Can Olive Beat Canola? 

Have you tried coconut oil?

Be Social!  Share!

 

Six Apps That Will Help You Beat The Treadmill Blues

For those of us that live in the midwest or farther north, our running workouts have been moved indoors. At least temporarily.  Running indoors on a treadmill when you’re used to being outside on pavement or trails has its own set of challenges.  The primary one is boredom.

Last Tuesday, for the first time this winter, I did my training run on the treadmill.  Where I live it has been bitterly cold in the early mornings and last week the sidewalks were covered with patchy ice.  So indoors I went.  I had my favorite playlist, so the music helped me pass the time, but for some reason the workout seemed unbearably long. Trying to convince myself to stay on the treadmill become my main focus.

Apps that make indoor treadmill running bearable.

Apps that make indoor treadmill running bearable.

Creative Apps To Keep You Motivated On The Treadmill

There are some creative apps that you can download to your phone or iPad that will keep you on track with your running program and help you conquer even the worst case of the winter dreadmill blues.

Six of the most popular are:

BeatBurn Treadmill/Outdoor Trainer – This app is for people (like me) that love to run to music.  When I’m on the treadmill running and have my ear buds in I naturally want to keep pace with the music.  Sometime that throws me off if a song is too fast or slow.  The BeatBurn app syncs your music to match your pace.  If you’re bored with your music and need something different to move to, this app includes a library of high energy music for you to try. Cost – $3.99

FunRun Trainer – You can run anywhere in the world – virtually of course – with this app.  Pick a park, beach, or famous street to run on and the FunRun Trainer, along with a moving satellite map, will track your progress.  You can participate in events like the New York or Boston Marathon from your own treadmill and zoom in on streets and scenery while you run.  Creating your own course is also an option.  This app can be used on an elliptical or bike so cross-training is easy to do.  Cost – $3.99

Zombies, run – Everybody runs faster if they have Zombies chasing them!  Zombies, run provides the motivation to do the dreaded interval training and speed drills that we all need to do when we’re training for a race.  Once you start the program and begin running you will receive alerts that tell you the Zombies are close and you need to run. Fast. With 33 missions and 45 runs it as much of a gaming app as it is a running one.  The bonus is while you’re having fun avoiding the Zombies you’re becoming a better runner.  Cost – $3.99

Run Coach Pro – This app helps you reach your goal of running a 5K, half or full marathon on your schedule. Run Coach is designed by Olympians and professional runners and provides you with a personalized training plan that is goal oriented, flexible, and provides feedback and nutritional tips. Run Coach is powered by MapMyRun and provides full GPS tracking, and a music playlist.  This is an excellent motivation tool for beginning to intermediate runners that need a personal touch. Cost – $5.99

Barefoot Running Coach – If you’re wanting to break free of your shoes and experiment with barefoot running, this app is designed to help runners of all ages discover the joy of movement and prevent injury.  You can use the Barefoot Running Coach indoors this winter and go from an unskilled barefoot runner to a skilled and injury free barefoot runner and be ready for rougher, outdoor terrain by spring. Cost – $1.99

Pumping Weight – Every good runner knows they need to have strong skeletal muscles and core if they are going to compete at optimal pace.  Once you’ve finished your run and move  over to the pumping iron section of the gym, the Pumping Weight app will track your workouts, including rest periods.  This app includes illustrations for over 200 exercises, tracks body weight measurements, body fat and BMI.  If you love to run but aren’t crazy about pushing the weights around, this will help motivate and track your progress.

Before you know it winter will be over.  The key to survival is to maintain a level of consistency and intensity to your indoor winter workouts so that when spring comes and you’re back outdoors you don’t feel like you’re starting over.

What’s you favorite running or workout app?  Please, be social!  Share!

You might also like  Six Treadmill Survival Strategies For Indoor Workouts

Mindless Eating and Your Waistline: Is There A Connection?

We spend a good deal of our time each day thinking about what we’re doing tomorrow, what went wrong yesterday, and making plans for the weekend.

Who among us hasn’t had an experience like one of these:

  • You get in the car to head home from work.  When you turn the car onto the street where you live, you can’t recall the drive home.
  • You’re introduced to a new team member before a meeting at work.   Once you shake their hand and say ‘nice to meet you’ you can’t recall their name.
  • You have a deadline for an important project at work so you decide to stay in for lunch.  You warm up a frozen meal and take it back to your desk so you can continue working.  It takes you less than five minutes to eat the meal and as soon as you finish you have a craving for a snack from the vending machine.

All of these are examples of mindlessness.  And, in each situation our lack of attention has a potentially negative impact on the outcome either by way of car accident, embarrassment or overeating.

Mindless eating can lead to an expanding waistline.

Mindless eating can lead to an expanding waistline.

Mindless Eating and Your Waistline

Getting control of mindless eating may be one more way to get to a desired weight or maintain the healthy weight you’re at.  It is relatively new concept that is gaining momentum as people struggle with the pitfalls of dieting: deprivation, disappointment, self-loathing, and eventually – in most cases – a regain of the weight lost.

Many people are familiar with the bottomless bowl of soup and stale popcorn studies. (You can read more about it here.) Both studies showed that the more food that is presented to people the more they will eat.  Most of us continue to eat even after we’re full.  The bottomless bowl of soup study found that because the bowl kept filling up, people kept eating without giving any thought to how much they were consuming.

Elissa Epel, founder and director of the Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment at the University of California, San Francisco, has created a program called Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training – or MB-EAT.  MB-EAT teaches people how to taste and savor their food, get rid of the guilt associated with eating certain foods, and recognize the signs of both hunger and fullness.

Epel has done substantial research on the role that stress plays in mindless eating.  She believes that one of the ‘most reliable’ paths to obesity is stress because it changes our appetite and stimulates overeating.  Epal says that 50-60 percent of women eat for reasons other than hunger.

She tested the impact of the MB-EAT program on a group of women and the results showed that when the women practiced mindful eating their anxiety, chronic stress, and deep belly fat decreased.

Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Laboratory and author of the book Mindless Eating says that after conducting hundreds of food studies he’s “increasingly convinced that our stomach has only three settings: 1) We either feel like we’re starving, 2) we feel like we’re stuffed, or 3) we feel like we can eat more.  Most of the time we’re in the middle, we’re neither hungry nor full, but if something’s put in front of us, we’ll eat it.”

And there are plenty of times when something is put in front of us!

  • You just had a fresh salad with a lean chicken breast for lunch and are obligated to attend the 2 p.m. going away party for a co-worker where white cake dripping with sugary icing is served. You’ll just have a small piece.
  • You join friends a drink after work.  You’re on your second drink and they begin ordering deep fried onion rings and coconut shrimp for everyone to share. How bad can a couple of onion rings and fried shrimp be?
  • You’re in front of the TV after dinner with your hand in a bag of chips.  You plan to eat only a few.  Before you know it you’re at the bottom of the bag.

You’re in the midst of mindless eating.

Simple Tips For Controlling Mindless Eating:

There are things that you can do to increase your awareness of mindless eating.

  • Don’t eat in front of the TV.  Watching TV while eating will keep you from realizing when you’ve had enough.
  • Try not to eat lunch at your desk at work.  If you don’t have a choice, don’t work or surf the net while you eat.  Focus on what you’re eating, how it tastes and smells and be alert to the trigger that tells you when you’re full.
  • Plan ahead when eating out.  Restaurants are notorious for serving large portions and it’s easy to become like the subjects in the bottomless bowl of soup study.  They more they give you, the more you will eat.  Know what you’re going to order before you arrive, or ask for a to-go box when you order so you can shave off half of the order to save for the next day.
  • Journal how you feel when you’re eating.  Satisfied. Guilty. Anxious.  Use words that will help you focus on the emotional connections that you have with food.
  • Slow down.  Take time to enjoy your food.  Smell it. Savor it. Gulping down your lunch in five minutes will leave you feeling shortchanged of a true lunch experience.
  • Pay attention to signs of hunger and fullness.  Are you starving, are you stuffed, or could you just eat more?  Eat accordingly.
  • Don’t eat out of obligation or guilt.  Just because someone offers you something to eat that you don’t want or need doesn’t mean you’re obligated to eat it.  Politely say that it looks delicious, and then graciously decline.
  • Portion out snacks into a small bowl or a baggie rather than eating from the big bag.
  • Limit alcohol.  Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and we have a tendency to eat mindlessly after a couple of cocktails.
  • Learn to recognize mindless eating triggers:  stress, boredom, anxiety, loneliness, anger.  Find outlets for your emotions in ways other than eating.  Walking, engaging in relaxation breathing, meditation, and listening to soothing music are some of the ways we can get our mind off of our problems.

Find Additional Resources at Susan Alper’s Website

Susan Alpers, Psy.D is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness has some ways that she helps her clients develop control over mindless eating.  Her website, Eatingmindfully.com, has tons of resources including quizzes, downloadable handouts, videos and even a phone app that may help you gain more control over your eating habits.

Over To You

When do you find you’re most susceptible to mindless eating? When you’re bored, depressed or stressed?

Be social! Share!

 

Final Days for the Blog Give-Away.

You can’t win, if you don’t enter! 

I have eight newly released workout DVDs from Lionsgate to give away.  To enter, just put the name of the DVD(s) that you would like to win in the comment box at the end of this post.

I will be selecting the winners on Saturday, January 19th.  You have until Friday, January 18 at 5 p.m. to put a comment in the box letting me know which DVD you would like to win.

Workout DVDs 2

Your choices are:

  • Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast
  • The Biggest Loser:  Power Ab Blast
  • The Biggest Loser:  30-Day Power X-Train
  • Billy Blanks Jr. Dance Party Boot Camp
  • Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash
  • Denise Austin: Shrink Your 5 Fat Zones
  • Jane Fonda: Prime Time AM/PM Yoga For Beginners
  • Step Up Revolution Workout

For a review of each DVD, click here.

Good luck!

Be Social! Share!

Colorful and Nutritious Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe

This delicious, nutritious recipe uses ground turkey, seasonings, olives and tomato sauce to make a flavorful filling for colorful bell peppers. High in nutrition, and low in fat and calories, this is a quick and easy dinner your family will love.

Delicious, colorful and nutritious.  This recipe is different than traditional stuffed green peppers.

Delicious, colorful and nutritious. This recipe is different than traditional stuffed green peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1-1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup of water (if needed)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp green olives

Directions:

[Read more…]

Is Fruit Good or Bad For You? (It does have fructose in it.)

Riddle me this: If fructose is bad for us and fruit contains fructose, is fruit bad for us?

This is a follow-up post to the recent article I wrote, “It’s True.  Fructose is Worse For Us Than The Other Sugar”.  The post seems to have opened up the question about fruit and its role in a low-sugar diet.

Don't write off fruit even if you've decided it's time to reduce the sugar in your diet.

Don’t write off fruit even if you’ve decided it’s time to reduce the sugar in your diet.

 

Why We Need To Look At Our Sugar Consumption

Two hundred years ago, the average American consumed about two pounds of sugar a year.  The primary source of sugar was fruits and vegetables.  Today, the average American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar a year.  This is an average of 3 pounds of sugar a week! (You guessed it. Fruits and vegetables contribute minimally – if at all – to this incredible figure.)

In the “It’s True. Fructose is Worse For Us Than The Other Sugar”, I mentioned that the World Health Organization recommends that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar which amounts to about 35 grams for the average female and 45 grams for the average male. The American Heart Association is less lenient.  The AHA recommends no more than 30 grams a day.

Below are some everyday (processed) foods and beverages on the market.  Looking at this list you can see how easy it is to eat more sugar than we need each day by consuming just one or two of these items:

  • DelMonte Diced Pears or Mandarin Oranges in light syrup: 1 small serving cup = 17 grams sugar, 70 calories
  • DelMonte Fruit Chillers Frozen Fruit Sorbet: 1 small individual cup = 26 grams sugar, 190 calories
  • Jell-O Fat Free Pudding Snacks, Chocolate Vanilla Swirls 100-Calorie Packs: 1 small cup = 17 grams sugar, 100 calories
  • Little Debbie Swiss Rolls: 2 cakes (61 g) = 27 grams sugar, 270 calories
  • Pop Tart, Frosted Blueberry: 1 pastry = 18 grams, 200 calories
  • Quaker Oatmeal to Go, Brown Sugar Cinnamon: 1 bar = 19 grams sugar, 220 calories
  • Newton’s Minis, Strawberry “baked with 100% whole grain”: 1 package = 15 grams sugar, 130 calories
  • Kellogg’s Smart Start Strong Heart, Toasted Oat: 1 1/4 cup = 17 grams sugar, 220 calories
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats (all the different flavors are pretty much the same): 1.8 ounces = 12 grams sugar, 180 calories
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce: 2 tablespoons = 15 grams sugar, 70 calories
  • Nesquick Fat Free Chocolate Milk: 16 ounces = 54 grams sugar, 300 calories
  • V8 Fusion Vegetable Fruit 100% juice, Peach Mango or Acai Mixed Berry: 8 ounces = 26 grams sugar, 110-120 calories
  • Capri Sun 25% Less Sugar, Wild Cherry: 1 pouch = 18 grams sugar, 70 calories
  • SoBe Green Tea: 16 ounces = 50 grams sugar, 200 calories
  • Arizona Iced Tea: 16 ounces = 48 grams sugar, 180 calories
  • Snapple Antioxidant Water, Agave Melon: 20 ounce bottle = 32 grams sugar, 140 calories
  • Skinny Cow Low-fat Ice Cream Cone (different flavors): 1 cone = 19 grams sugar, 150 calories
    *Source – WebMd

These high sugar foods have led the United States to where it is today.  We have an obesity problem that has led to a chronic disease epidemic that continues to lower both the expectancy and quality of life for 190 million Americans.

What About Fruit?

Some of our favorite fruits are high in sugar.  A banana has 10 grams, an apple has 8, and a peach has around 7, depending on its size. If, over the course of the day, you eat all three you will consume about 25 grams of sugar which is equal to five teaspoons.

But, when you eat three pieces of fruit – even though you do consume about 25 grams of sugar – you also ingest generous amounts of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.

Dr. Michael Goran wrote an publication for Science20.  In the article he said that “Fructose is often called “fruit sugar” and is perceived as healthy because it naturally occurs in most fruit. But fructose from fruit is encased in fiber-rich flesh that slows and reduces its absorption in the body and its metabolism in the liver, serving as a sort of antidote to the negative effects of fructose metabolism.”

Now, pick any three of the products from the above list and see what you come up with.  If we have the Del Monte sliced pears for lunch (17 grams), the Little Debbie Swiss Rolls for our afternoon snack (27 grams), and a seemingly harmless Skinny Cow low-fat ice cream cone after dinner (19), we’re up to 63 grams without adding in any other sugar we’ve consumed that day.

The kicker is none of these products contain any fiber or nutrients to speak of. They are high calorie, low nutrient foods that, when consumed over the course of several years, lead to weight gain and secondary health problems.

Hold The Juice

Fruits might be good for us, but the story changes once we remove the juice from the fruit.  Many fruit juices are just as high in calories and sugar as high-fructose corn sugar beverages.

It’s best to skip the juice and stick with eating the whole fruit. One orange has 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar and is about 65 calories.  One cup of orange juice has 0 grams of fiber; 23 grams of sugar and 112 calories.  Most dieticians and nutritionists would agree that drinking fruit juice isn’t much better for you than soda.

Check out this move trailer from the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation”  that talks about happens when you replace soda with fruit juice.

The Worst Offenders

Unlike fruits, most non-fruit, high sugar foods are very low in nutrition and fiber, and are high in calories and fat.  The worst high-fructose product is soda. The average 12-ounce soda has about 33 grams of sugar and zero nutrition. The 16-ounce has 44 and the 32 ounce has about 65 grams of sugar. Other popular beverages are not any better.

Coming in a close second to sodas are processed sauces and salad dressings.  Barbeque sauces, catsup, steak sauce and salad dressings all contain high amounts of high fructose corn syrup.  Remember Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce with the 15 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons from the list above?

Commercially prepared baked goods like donuts, coffee cakes, and muffins will put you over the daily recommended amount as will many breakfast and granola bars.

The key is to read the label for sugar content.  Fructose isn’t listed by itself but it is part of the total sugar count.  And fructose isn’t the only sugar that’s a problem.  All sugars are high in calories and have no nutritional value. If you’re the average American and are eating 152 pounds of sugar a year, lowering that amount by reading labels and tracking your sugar intake is critical to your health.

If you’re going to track sugar intake, you need to include all sugar so you will have an accurate daily total so be sure to put in the amount of sugar that you get from fruit.  Fit Sugar has a table that provides sugar content for about 25 different fruits.

Fruits Are Your Friend

If you’ve decided to cut back on sugar, you don’t need to eliminate fruits.  A juicy, crisp apple or fresh blueberries on un-sweetened yogurt will help you get through a sugar craving without sabotaging your diet or ruining your health.  Apples, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and kiwis are just a few examples of superfoods found in the fruit family that have an abundance of nutrients and antioxidants.

Eating three servings of fruit a day along with a variety of vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, and moderate amounts of physical activity will help you get to your desired weight, or maintain the healthy weight that you’re at now.

What’s your favorite fruit? Be Social! Share!