You don’t have to be a health nut to know that soda isn’t good for you. But is it really all that bad? Is it ok to just have it once in a while? And if you’re going to have it, is it better to have the regular ol’ sugar-filled version or the zero calorie “diet” kind?
Let’s weigh-in on the facts:
- It doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin) that have gotten a really bad rap lately
- The sugar! A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons; almost the daily limit as recommended by the American Heart Association
- Drinking 1-2 cans a day can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26%
- Regular sodas are filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is linked to obesity, heart disease, and fatty liver disease
- It feeds the craving for something sweet without adding extra calories or carbs, if you’re concerned about this
- Since it’s sugar-free, diabetics can sip without worrying about the direct hit to their insulin and blood sugar levels
- While diet soda may be considered ‘safe’ for diabetics, they are far from nutritious as the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually cause you to crave more sugar. When we drink it, our body is expecting sugar. Then when it doesn’t get it, it responds with even more cravings – for sugar!
- Diet soda drinkers tend to gain more weight particularly around their belly. One study said that frequent drinkers of diet soda gained up to three times more belly fat than their non-diet soda drinking counterparts.
- Diet soda is now being linked with cancer, heart attacks, strokes and neurological disorders.
There’s a lot of talk about healthy fats these days. People are including more fat in their diets and forgetting about the fat-free diet crazes of the past.
You’ve probably heard about omega fats in the mix, but what exactly are they?
What are Omega Fats? Do they all perform the same function in our bodies?
Omegas are a group of fatty acids known as Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. They’re numerically named based on their chemical composition.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (EFA’s). The body is capable of producing some fatty acids on its own, like Omega-9 – meaning you don’t need to get them from food.
But the fatty acids the body can’t create on its own must be obtained from food, and therefore, are considered essential. Both fats are needed for good health, but most diets contain an abundance of omega-6 and not enough omega-3.
This skewed ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 is considered a cause of chronic inflammation that can lead to scary stuff, like heart attack and stroke.
A 1:1 ratio is ideal for keeping inflammation at bay, but it’s estimated that most people have a ratio closer to 20:1! Wow, right?
Low intake of Omega-3’s means most people are missing out on the major health benefits of this essential fat.
The protective qualities of Omega-3’s include:
- Improved immune system function
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, and depression
- Improved triglyceride and cholesterol values
- Critical role in human development – the brain and retina contain lots of omega-3 in the form of DHA
If you’ve heard that red wine is one of the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages, it’s for good reason.
Thanks to the antioxidants found in the skins of grapes from which it’s made, red wine has been widely publicized as being “healthful”. The kind of antioxidants found in red wine, like resveratrol, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation and oxidation are considered the root causes of most disease, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods is a key component in disease prevention.
Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to improved heart health, along with other health benefits, like decreasing the risk of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- certain cancers
Some of the buzz around red wine’s health benefits comes from its prominent role in the well-studied Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and red wine, and is believed to contribute to a long lifespan and low incidences of heart disease and cancer among Mediterranean populations. (more…)
In today’s world, we are constantly on the go, a steady state “busy-ness” is the norm, and we’re always running from one responsibility to the next – literally! So, it’s no wonder that physical fatigue is such a common complaint.
The good news is that there are some really simple (and natural) ways to increase your energy so you can keep up with your busy life.
Get off the blood sugar roller coaster
One of the simplest ways we can boost our energy is to stabilize blood sugar. When we don’t eat enough food throughout the day or when we eat foods that are higher in sugar, our energy levels bottom out.
You can balance your blood sugar, and boost your energy naturally by:
- Eating every 3-4 hours gives your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to keep your blood sugar – and energy levels steady.
- Consuming foods that are low on the glycemic index (think fruits and veggies, whole grains) instead of the higher sugar white breads and pastas.
- Eating protein with every meal to slow down the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Protein is broken down and released slower so you’re less likely to have a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash.
You like to move it, move it!
When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, as hard as it can be to get your butt off the couch, it’s one of the best things you can do to fight fatigue.
And, it turns out that you don’t even have to commit to a long workout!
A California State University study concluded that even a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy for up to 2 hours.
So, when you feel that afternoon slump coming on, skip the coffee and lace up your running shoes instead. (more…)
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things – not a big deal – just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for maintaining a healthy body weight and having the energy to live your life.
(Yes, your thyroid IS a big deal!)
It’s estimated that at least 3.7% of US adults have an under-active thyroid.
When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and cause difficulty losing weight; and even weight gain. Some of the other symptoms can include fatigue, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramping, and feeling cold.
An under-active thyroid can be diagnosed from a blood test from your health professional.
How does the thyroid become under-active?
There are many reasons why your thyroid may become under-active. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland.
It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral. Combining that with high levels of goitrogens (food substances that inhibit iodine from getting into thyroid) and you can be at risk for an iodine deficiency. (more…)
Our digestive system is a huge portal into our bodies. Lots of things can get in there that aren’t always good for us. And because the system is so complex (knowing which tiny molecules to absorb, and which keep out), lots can go wrong. And that’s one reason why 70% of our immune system lives in and around our digestive system.
This makes food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances a huge contribution to an array of symptoms all over our bodies. Things like autoimmune issues, inflammation, weight gain, and even our moods can be affected by what we eat. If you have digestive issues or any other unexplained symptoms, you may consider trying an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is one where you strategically eliminate certain foods to see if you react to them. It can help immensely when trying to figure out if a particular food is causing symptoms because you’re sensitive to it.
You generally start out by eliminating the most common food allergens for a few weeks. Then you slowly add them back one at a time and note any symptoms (better or worse).
Let’s go over the pros and cons of this diet. (more…)