Archives for April 2013

What You Need To Know Before Going Gluten-Free

There’s been a lot of buzz about going gluten-free the past couple of years.  Misinformation about gluten and celiac disease has led people to believe that limiting or eliminating gluten from the diet will speed up weight loss, let you kiss that muffin top goodbye once and for all, and improve your overall health. But some people may not know exactly what gluten is and whether or not eliminating it from their diet will actually be beneficial to them.

In reality, unless you have celiac disease, a gluten free diet won’t make you any healthier or help you reach your weight loss goals quicker.  Many nutritionists – and even Dr. Oz – agree that unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, eliminating all foods that contains gluten from your diet isn’t a good idea and you may end up nutritionally shortchanged.

Katherine Tallmadge, a dietitian and author of the book Diet Simple, says whole grains, which contain gluten, are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free products are often made with refined grains, and are low in nutrients. If you embrace a gluten-free diet, you’ll end up “eating a lot of foods that are stripped of nutrients,” Studies show gluten-free diets can be deficient in fiber, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc, she said.

bread

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder triggered by eating the protein gluten.  People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.

The primary symptoms of celiac disease include intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Some people with celiac disease do not have the typical intestinal distress but instead have other symptoms including  irritability or depression, anemia, stomach upset, joint pain, muscle cramps, skin rash, mouth sores, dental and bone disorders, weight loss, general weakness and fatigue.

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The Six Exercises You Should Be Doing To Reduce Running Injuries

“I contend that running doesn’t cause injuries, but rather illuminates our weak links and allows us to see what we need to improve upon.” – Tom Holland, Windy City Sports

It’s race season.  There are so many 5, 10, 15Ks and half and full marathons to choose from at this time of year even an event junkie could be overwhelmed by the options. You can find a  race for every weekend if you have the time, money and motivation to participate.

But the more you run the more you increase the risk of injury.  Knees, hips, foot and ankle injuries are the most common and many are the result of overuse, and muscle weakness and imbalance. You may not even realize you’re headed for trouble until you’re signed up to run a race and pushing through your training schedule. There’s not much worse than plunking down $70 for a race, working hard to have a good finish time only to end up sidelined with an annoying injury that takes you out of the competition.

I’m in absolute agreement with Tom Holland when he says that running doesn’t cause injuries, but illuminates our weak links.  When I started increasing my running distance to compete in my first 15K event I wound with the very common and quite painful IT band syndrome.  But since that time I’ve learned there are some things that I can do to improve on my weakness and stay in the game.

From experts around the web and my own experience I’ve selected six exercises that everyone should be doing to avoid overtraining and running injuries.

1.  Spinning – Some experts, like Susan Lacke, believes that cycling enhances running in a number of ways and Jeff Horowitz believes it can help prevent IT band syndrome.  Putting in a few miles on a spin bike after I run is the biggest change I made to my training program this year and the IT band issue has not flared up as it has in the past when I began my spring outdoor distance runs. This is something I plan to hang onto.  Not only is it a preventative exercise for me, I find I enjoy the bike as much as the run.

Spinning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  One Legged Ball Squats – One legged ball squats will increase leg strength and improve balance and stabilization.  When you run outside your feet are constantly striking on uneven surfaces – a bump in the side walk, a tree root on the trail – which can lead to injury or falls.  This one-legged squat utilizes the stabilization muscles and will help you achieve better balance. Place the ball in the middle of your back against the wall.  Lift one leg and slowly slide down and back up the wall using the other leg.  Do 12 repetitions on each leg two to three times a week.

3.  Single Leg Dead Lifts – This exercise focuses on strengthening your backside; primarily hamstrings, gluteals and para-spinals.  Typically runners have overdeveloped quads and hamstrings.  Muscle imbalance occurs when the hamstrings are superior in strength to the gluterals.  This muscle imbalance can lead to injury.  The single leg dead lift can help correct this problem.  Stand on one leg holding a dumbbell or body bar.  Slowly lower down to the floor keeping your back straight.  Repeat 12 times on each leg daily.

 

 

4.  Calf Raises – Achilles tendinitis is most common as runners increase their distance to train for big races or add speed drills and hills to their program.  This running ailment is not only painful, it can be downright debilitating if left untreated.  According to Shelley Drozd of Runner’s World, a walking warm-up is a good way to prevent achilles tendinitis.  So are strong calves.  A basic calf raise exercise – with or without weights – will help strengthen the calves and prevent this injury.  Rise up on the balls of your feet and take 10 seconds to lower the heels back to the ground.  Do two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions three times a week.

 

 

5.  Side Leg Lift – Common knee injuries and IT band syndrome is the result of inadequate hip strength and weak hip flexors and abductors (outer thighs).  A study conducted on injured runners, all suffering from IT band syndrome, followed them through a six-week gluteus medius strengthening program.  (The gluteus medius is the main hip abductor and is implicated in hip abduction weakness.)  As a result of the strengthening program, all but two of the runners were able to return to training after the program concluded.  One of the best exercises for improving gluteus medius strength is the side leg raise.  Lay on the floor and lift and lower the leg slowly back down to the floor.  Do one to three sets of 15 reps once a day.

 

 

6.  Supine March – A strong core is key to preventing running injuries. According to Matt Fitzgerald at Competitor.com, “The best core exercises for runners are those that mimic the specific ways the core muscles are required to work during running.” The supine march allows you to strengthen the core while your legs move similar to the way they do when running or walking.  Lay face up on the floor with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.  Press your low back to the floor.  Alternate lifting the feet off of the floor so that the foot comes even with the opposite knee.  Work up to 20 repetitions.

 

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense

Staying ahead of injuries is as simple as incorporating one or two sets of these exercises into your daily routine. Spending the time to find and fix your weakest link will pay dividends on race day.

If you liked this article you might also enjoy Are Running Injuries Inevitable?  Not According To These Running Gurus.

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(A picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks to Pinterest and its sharing nature for the pics.  Click on the picture to see the original source.) 

A Healthy Lifestyle Means Participating In All Aspects of Wellness

There are seven aspects of wellness:  social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical.  Most of the time we’re focused on two of the seven:  emotional and physical.

As inhabitants of the great planet earth it is our responsibility to participate each day in one more.  Environmental wellness.  Being a good steward of the planet means taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint and take responsibility for the quality of air, water and land that surrounds us.

This inforgraphic shows many things that we can do to improve and save our environment. 

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Do We Really Need Another Weight Loss App?

MyFitnessPal. Lose It. Fooducate.  The list goes on and on.  The market is reaching saturation with weight loss and exercise apps and now there’s one more that claims to be superior to the other smartphone trackers.

My Meal Mate is the first free weight loss app developed by nutrition scientists that uses scientific evidence based on a piloted weight loss clinical trial.  The app developers are excited about the trial that found users of their app had better weight loss results than the other volunteers in the study.

The study was conducted at the University of Leed’s from grant money provided by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research.  For the study researchers recruited 182 overweight volunteers and divided them into three groups.  Each group relied on a different method of food tracking:  One group relied on the My Meal Mate, one on an on-line food tracker, and one kept a handwritten food diary.

Smartphone

Flickr photo by Digitpedia

 

Clinical Trial Results

At the end of the six month trial, researchers evaluated the participants’ weight and compliance with their assigned weight loss tools.  The volunteers that relied on the on-line tracker and handwritten diary made entries about once a week.  The My Meal Mate users used the app on an average of every other day.

As far as weight loss, those using the on-line tracker lost an average of 3 pounds, those using the handwritten diary lost about 6.5 pounds, and the My Meal Mate users lost an average of 10 pounds.

Reserachers believe that the volunteers that used My Meal Mate were most successful because the app contains a large national food database called Weight Loss Resources that provides calorie and nutrition information on any foods that UK residents are likely to encounter. The app also has a feature that allows you to take photographs that can be used as memory prompts, as well as an option for text message prompts.

The best part is it’s free.  The developers say they know how difficult weight loss can be and they really just want to help and have no need to make money from selling the app or selling advertising. The My Meal Mate can be downloaded at the Google Play store.

Do We Need One More App? 

Phone apps can be a good tool for people that are trying to lose weight and can teach them about the calories and nutrition in a variety of foods.  They can save people from making bad choices when they are dining out or on the road and have to hit up the fast food stand.  Seeing those calories add up throughout the day can prevent overeating and support better food choices.

How much better is one app over the next?  That depends on the user.  There’s still plenty of room in the market for something new.  The ultimate goal is to use the app – whichever one you select – as a tool that initiates positive behavior change that will last even after the infatuation with the app is gone.

What’s your favorite phone app for nutrition or fitness?

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Walking vs Running: Both Are Good For Heart Health. One Is Better For Weight Loss

Whether you walk or run for fitness, there’s minimal difference between the two in health benefits.  Both walking and running will reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk a new study finds.

The research that touts the findings that walking and running are equal when it comes to heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease collected data from the National Runners’ Health Study and the National Walkers’ Health Study.  More than 33,000 runners and 16,000 walkers were involved.  The median age range for the walkers and runners was 40 to 60 years of age.

Over a six year period of time both activities led to similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  Here’s what the study found:

  • Running reduced the risk of high blood pressure 4.2 percent; walking 7.2 percent.
  • Running reduced the risk for high cholesterol 4.3 percent; walking 7 percent.
  • Running lowered the risk for diabetes 12.1 percent; walking 12.3 percent.
  • Running decreased the risk of heart disease 4.5 percent; walking 9.3 percent

Paul Williams, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley points out that both running and walking reduce risk factors but it’s a matter of how far you walk or run, not how long.  The more people walked or ran each week the more their health improved.

Williams also says that to reap the benefits, walkers must keep a brisk pace.  Walking for exercise isn’t a “mosey type of thing.”

While both walking and running are equally effective to reduce cardiovascular disease risks, running is the superior activity for people that want to lose weight.

 

Girl running with dog

What to lose weight? Turn your brisk walk into a jog.
Flickr photo by lululemonathletica

 

Running Is Better For Weight Loss

In another study Paul Williams evaluated body mass index (BMI) of more than 32,000 runners and 15,000 walkers.  Participants supplied weight and height history for the preceding five years, along with their waist size and details about their workouts including distance, pace, frequency and any other exercise they did.

The walkers were, on average, older than the runners by about 12 years for both men and women.  The runners also had lower BMI.  The average male runner’s BMI was 24 and the women’s was 22.  The average male walker’s BMI was 27 where the women’s was 25.

After a six year follow-up, both groups lost weight but the male runners and female runners with higher BMIs had the best results. Williams says that “an overweight woman of average height and BMI over 28 might expect to lose 19 pounds by adding a 3.2 mile run to her daily routine, but only 9 pounds by expending the same amount of energy by walking.”

Plus, Williams points out, it takes less time to produce the same amount of effort running and vigorous exercise vigorous like running increases your metabolic rate and it remains elevated after the exercise.

Pick Up The Pace

The health benefits of brisk walking might not be enough if you’re a walker that’s trying to lose weight.  For higher calorie expenditure try picking up your pace and add some running intervals to your walking program.  If you feel you’re not ready to take on running all at once, adopt a Couch to 5K program that’s designed to move you from walking to running over a period of a few weeks.

Spending more time running and less time walking will increase your calorie burn and get you to your weight-loss goals quicker.

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Eight Strategies That Will Help You Reach Your Healthy Tipping Point

We all have some habits that hurt us in our quest to be healthier individuals.  Whether it’s schlepping around the gym in worn out shorts and a t-shirt or eating low-in-fat-but-high-in-sugar foods, pulling it all together so our body is cooperating with our brain can be a challenge.

Eight strategies to get you to your healthy tipping point.

Eight strategies to get you to your healthy tipping point.

Here are eight strategies that will enhance the things you’re already doing and help you reach your healthy tipping point.

1.   Eat lean protein for breakfast.  Getting the day off to a good start by eating a nutritious breakfast is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll have a productive day.  And, there’s research that shows eating protein-rich foods will help you stay satisfied longer, and therefore, be less prone to snacking and overeating later in the day.

Eating eggs, turkey sausage, almonds (or other nuts), peanut butter or lentils for breakfast will give you a healthy dose of protein.  If you need some breakfast ideas, check out Delish’s eight high-protein, low-calorie breakfast recipes here: Delish 8 Pumped Up, High Protein Recipes.

2.  Wear a pedometer. Where I work we do a couple of pedometer challenges a year, and when people have a step counter clipped to their belt they move more.  Even the already physically active people are inspired to out-do themselves.  One of my co-workers works out in the morning and gets her 10,000 steps in before she gets to work so she upped her goal to 20,000 steps a day in the 10,000 steps challenge.

If you haven’t worn a pedometer for awhile – or ever – and are looking for motivation to get more physical activity in your day, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive one at the local sporting goods store or Wal Mart.  Set your daily goal and get keep walking until you reach it.

3.  Eat whole fruits and vegetables in place of juice. When you buy juice products, the part of the fruit that’s really good for you has been removed.  The skin and pulp – which is where most of the fiber and nutrients exist – is left on the juicing room floor and you’re left with mostly sugar which can cause a spike in your blood sugar and add inches to your waistline.

A 12 ounce serving of unsweetened orange juice contains about seven teaspoons of sugar.  An orange has about four.  You could eat three oranges for the same amount of sugar as a glass of OJ and the real fruit would be more filling and provide more nutrition.

The best way to reap the health benefits of fruits and vegetables is to eat them whole with the skin on whenever possible.  Home juicing systems, however, are an exception.  If you use a home juicer that will retain almost 100% of the pulp and skin, making your own would be the best option if you enjoy juice.

4.  Skip the low and reduced fat foods. When fat is removed from a product something else has been added to make it palatable and give it texture.  In most cases that something else is sugar, sodium or both and many times the difference in calories is minimal.

Added sugar and sodium might not be the biggest problem.  A recent study done by the Food and Brand Lab found that people tend to eat up to 50% more of a food that has a low or reduced fat label. The study showed that not only did people believe the low-fat food to be significantly lower in calories (even though often times is isn’t), they also feel less guilty about eating it and therefore eat more.  Before buying a low-fat product, check the labels to find out if you will really be better off.

5.  Dress For Success Investing in workout clothes that you look good in to wear to the gym – whether it is LA Fitness, the Y, or your home gym – will give you a boost of self-confidence that will increase your motivation.  In a recent article on PerezHilton.com, Kelly Osbourne said that the secret to her 70 pound weight loss was, in part, wearing cute clothes to the gym.  Kelly says that when you see your reflection in the mirror, you’re like, ‘Oh, I look cute!’ not ‘Get me out of here!

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have attractive workout gear.  Stores like Target and TJ Max carry a wide variety of trendy, affordable athletic wear that looks great!  Besides making you feel like a rock star, buying a new piece of fitness clothing is an excellent way to reward yourself when you reach a fitness or weight loss goal.

6.  Do one thing different.  What’s the one thing you could change that would have an impact on your health?  Whether it is giving up tobacco, taking a 10 minute walk every day or finding the time to pack a healthy lunch to take to work, find out what it is and focus on getting it done.

Finding the one thing to do different instead of attending to what you won’t do or shouldn’t do allows you to take a more pro-active approach.  And, picking just one thing keeps you from trying to work on everything at once which can be overwhelming.  Pick the one thing you want to do then set achievable goals that you can accomplish. You’ll find you gain momentum from your success.  I wrote a post with 41 suggestions for doing one thing different.  You can find it here: Do One Thing Different: 41 Small Changes You Can Make That Will Change Your Life.

7. Be inspired.  I have a few web sites that I visit frequently when I’m in need of inspiration.  Typically I find myself at these sites on Monday morning.  Getting advice from experts on how to keep my batteries charged and motivation flowing is effective.

When you subscribe to one of these sites it’s like having a motivational mentor that will help you out of slump or through a period of time when you’re productivity is waning.  Two of my favorites are Pick The Brain and Sources of Insight.

8. Be in the moment. Where I work we have a rule that you’re not allowed to check your phone or send e-mails during meetings.  ‘Be in the moment’ is the first of the 10 Principles of Personal Leadership.   Planning for the future is important but constantly anticipating what’s coming next is a distraction.

In the age of technology people endlessly look at their phones, check their tweets, and look to see how many ‘likes’ their Facebook status got.  Too much of this can turn out to be a waste of time and keeps you from engaging in the present moment.

People that learn to live in the moment have greater life satisfaction which leads to better health and more positive outcomes with goals.

Be happy for this moment

 

Over To You

To wrap up our nutrition program at work I collected tips for living a healthier life from our employees and will publish them in our monthly newsletter.  I found my co-workers have some creative ways to stay on track with their healthy behaviors.

What are some of the things you do that help you reach your healthy tipping point?

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Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Recipe

Hummus is a healthy high-protein spread that can be part of a nutritious meal as well as an excellent pre or post workout snack. Hummus is easy and inexpensive to make.  Once you have the main ingreidents – tahini and garbonzo beans – there’s no end to the various hummus recipes you can create by adding other ingredients.

 

Lemon Garlic Hummus (for the recipe, click on the picture).

Lemon Garlic Hummus (for the recipe, click on the picture).

Tahini

One of the key ingredients in hummus is tahini.  Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is considered to be a superfood in the eastern Mediterranean because of its high nutritional value.  Tahini contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and E.

Tahini also has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid.  Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for health.  Omega fatty acids control blood clotting and build cell membranes in the brain.  New research indicates that these fatty acids have a wide range of health benefits including protection against certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.

Garbonzo Beans

The main ingredient in most hummus recipes is garbanzno beans.  Garbanzo’s are high in fiber, antioxidants, and protein.  They help you refuel after a work-out and keep you satisfied between meals.   Putting the tahini and garbonzo beans with other healthy ingredients like lemon juice, olive oil, and sun dried tomatoes makes a nutritious dip for carrots, celery, sweet peppers, and cucumbers.

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Four Supplements That Will Boost Your Energy

I was recently asked which supplements will boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.  I feel like I’m wading into murky water on this one.  Supplementation is a tricky subject because there are so many products on the market that claim to ‘torch calories’, ‘melt fat’ and ‘rev up your metabolism’ it’s incredibly hard to separate fact from fiction.

Most of these claims are exaggerated or downright false. If there was a miracle pill that could give us energy, increase our metabolism, and keep us at our ideal weight, most of us would be taking it.

Still, there are some supplements that may help you with energy metabolism, increased exercise endurance and a boost to your immune system which are all important when you’re trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle.  These supplements won’t actually torch calories, but they may very well enhance your mood or give you the energy to do that extra 15 minutes on the treadmill which is what most of us are looking for.

Vitamin C

Four Supplements That Can Give You The Boost You Need

Vitamin B 12 – Vitamin B 12 and the other B vitamins are some of the most controversial in the discussion on whether or not supplementation will provide energy and boost metabolism.  B vitamins have been promoted for years as energy boosters that will increase energy and reduce fatigue.  I remember as a child when my mother would get tired she would go to the doctor to get her B12 shot.  They did indeed seem to help her because she had a B12 deficit.

The problem is there is no clear scientific evidence to support the claims that suggest that B12 can help anyone feel more energetic except those that are B12 deficient.

The primary function of vitamin B12 is to support nerve and energy functions.  It is a critical vitamin that helps to form myelin, a fatty cover that insulates your nerves, and helps produce energy from fat and proteins.  It also aids in the production of hemoglobin which is a component of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body.  Vitamin B12 regulates the growth, maintenance and reproduction of each and every cell.

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Some Of The Best Workouts Are Only A Mouse Click Away.

On days you can’t get to the gym or outside for a walk or run because your schedule has been derailed by travelling, a sick baby, or bad weather, having some good alternatives is the key to staying on track with your fitness goals.  And, unlike owning a library of workout DVDs ( which, of course, is another great option) these sites provide new workouts for you to try every week so you never get bored.

The on-line options for fitness classes continue to grow and many are getting creative at providing choices for access that include pay-per-view, a monthly subscription, or free workouts with some restrictions.

Every couple of months I do a new search to find what on-line at-home workout programs are available that I haven’t covered before.  Here’s my latest list:

Some of the best workouts are only a mouse click away.

Some of the best workouts are only a mouse click away.

Yoga Today Practice for LifeYoga Today is a great resource for yoga junkies.  Classes are taught by six instructors that offer an array of disciplines including Hatha, Anusara, and Vinyasa Flow. Classes are also available for expectant moms.   If you want to experience all of the classes you’ll need to purchase a subscription for $9.99 a month.  Some other opportunities are available including a free weekly class, and an option to download individual classes for $2.99.

Daily Burn – The gym comes to you when you subscribe to the Daily Burn.  You choose from a variety of works that include dance, bodyweight workouts, high intensity training, yoga and kettleballs.  The classes are led by a team of experienced, certified fitness instructors.  The cost is only $10 a month which is less than a gym membership and you can do the classes on your schedule.  Try out the Daily Burn with a 30 day free trial offer.

Real Hollywood Trainer – Hollywood trainer, Dulcinea Lee Hellings offers a free weekly 40 minute workout and a 20 minute health chat session to help you achieve your workout goals.  Donations are appreciated.   If you want to do more than one workout a week there are at least 80 free archived workouts to  choose from.  The Real Hollywood Trainer workouts air on YouTube on Tuesday evening.  For a small fee Dulcie will create a personalized 30, 60 or 90 day workout program for you from the past episode video catalog.

Physique 57Physique 57 brings the internationally renowned fitness studio workouts to you on-line and allows you to select the workouts you want to do when you want to do them.  This site offers a pay-per-view option that requires no monthly fee. The beauty in this is you’re not paying for a monthly subscription that you may not regularly use.  With pay-per-view you can use the Physique 57 workouts to supplement what you’re already doing.  Workouts are based on the popular Barre method.  For many of the workouts you will need an exercise ball.

Diet.com – Diet.com has an entire library of short instructional videos.  Most are only about three minutes in length and will teach you how to do a particular exercise or use a piece of equipment. Upper body, lower body, high intensity cardio, and core exercises are part of the library. Diet.com also has a weight loss community tab, recipes, and support groups and forums which is a nice touch and allows you to connect with other people if you are trying to lose a few pounds.

Blogilates – Cassey Ho, Pilates and fitness instructor is the creator of the Original POP Pilates.  Blogilates has tons of challenging workouts of varying lengths and Cassey has enthusiasm that is contagious.  She has a web site of the same name (Blogilates.com) and was named the Best Healthy Living Blogger of 2012 by Fitness Magazine.  The video below is energetic Cassey doing a warm-up that she recommends you do before her workouts.

Over To You

I admit that searching for on-line work-out and seeing what some of the top-of-the-line fitness professionals are coming up with that’s new and different is one of my favorite past times.

What’s your favorite on-line workout destination?  Be Social! Share!

 

Isn’t It Time For You To Break Up With Sugar?

You can’t live a day without hearing that sugar is bad for you.  I know that some people are tired of hearing about it and plenty more are fed up with leaders that have decided to launch a war on sugar. The best example is Mayor Bloomberg that wants to eliminate extra-large sodas from being sold in New York City.

Still, if you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle you can’t deny that sugar plays a role in your success.  Sugar is a substance that has 16 calories per teaspoon and zero nutritional value.  Eating too much sugar adds inches to our abs, buns and thighs without supplying any of the daily requirements for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It’s no secret.  Sugar makes us fat.

But a new study shows that sugar does more than that.  Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of California San Francisco have found a direct link between sugar and diabetes.  You might think that’s not new news.  But, while  sugar has been the prime suspect, the theory that it actually causes diabetes has yet to be proven until now.

Sugar bow

The team of researchers analyzed a decade’s worth of food supply data from the United Nations that looked at diabetes rates and sugar availability across 175 countries.  Researchers concluded that for every extra 150 calories from sugar per person per day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1%.  The study also showed that reduced exposure to sugar was linked to a lower risk of diabetes.

If that’s not bad enough, growing evidence shows that Alzheimer’s is primarily a metabolic disease that is caused directly by the brain’s impaired response to insulin.  The evidence is so compelling some researchers are proposing reclassifying Alzheimer’s disease as Type 3 diabetes.

Even if you’re not convinced that consuming too much sugar puts you at risk for diabetes or Alzhemier’s, there’s no denying it is a big factor when it comes to weight management including getting rid of unwanted pounds and keeping them off.

Where’s The Sugar?

We’ve come to think of sugary beverages as the culprit that’s responsible for excessive sugar consumption and sugar addiction.  But sugar is lurking in places you might never think to look. Below is an infographic that show the foods and beverages that are loaded with sugar and just how much they contain.

fructose overload infographic

Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic “Fructose Overload

Why You Should Track Your Sugar

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories come from added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women eat less than six teaspoons of added sugar every day, and that men should not eat more than nine teaspoons of added sugar. That’s about 100 and 150 calories for women and men, respectively.

If you look back at the infographic you’ll see that a glass of orange juice, a small bowl of raisin bran and a salad with low-fat Thousand Island dressing puts you over the limit. Getting the amount of sugar you eat under control might be the single most important thing that you do for your health and waistline.

The first step in breaking off your relationship with sugar is to find out how much you’re consuming each day and put an action plan in place to reduce that amount to get it close to the WHO’s recommendation.   A downloadable app like Fooducate that scans bar codes on food labels can quickly alert you to the amount of sugar in foods and help you make better selections.

Make it a habit to track sugar intake daily and work on making small, yet significant changes to reduce the amount of sugar you consume each day.

What tips do you have to reduce the amount of sugar you eat?

If you liked this article, you might also like: It’s Ture.  High Fructose Corn Syrup Is Worse For You Than The Other Sugars

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