Posts Tagged With: sugar

What Are You Eating

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Hello my wellness friends. I wanted to do a brief post on ingredients. All food is not created equal.

I was standing in my office break room a few weeks ago talking with a coworker. They had done the Biggest Loser contest at work with me before and tried Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers. They lost weight and gained weight. I asked what they were eating for lunch. They showed me a frozen dinner. Problem number 1. I have investigated the ingredients in most box meals and it’s disturbing to not be able to pronounce some of the ingredients.

Even if you cut back on your caloric intake, you are doing your body a grave injustice by feeding it processed food. It will not run as efficiently. Just as vehicles are designed to run on certain types of fuel, your body needs a certain type of fuel. Water won’t work in your gas tank (of your vehicle). Chemical laden food will not help your body burn fat. It taxes your liver. It slows you down and increases food cravings. Your body does not recognize it as food.

If you want your body to burn fat more efficiently. If you want to feel better. If you want clearer skin. If you want your hormones to stay balanced, then please minimize or forego processed foods. Look at the ingredients. Do you know what they are? Look them up? If it isn’t found naturally in nature (example fructose (sugar), then think about whether eating it is a good idea.

Good choices:

Eggs
Lean meats
Seeds
Nuts
All fruit (some are high in sugar so watch your intake)
All veggies
Quinoa
Sweet potatoes
Natural Peanut Butter
Almond Milk
Rice Milk
Low fat, hormone free dairy (in moderation)
Beans and legumes
Ezekiel bread
Fish
Shellfish

And drink plenty of water!!!!

I would eat breads and grains in moderation. Bread causes blood sugar spikes, whole wheat worse than white bread. I would also bypass large consumption of crackers, canned soups, and fried foods just for sodium content and fat. Excess sodium not only causes you to retain water, it increases the amount of cortisol in your system. It’s the stress hormone. It tells your body to store fat on your belly…yikes (Source: Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Micheals).

Well, that’s all folks. Keep up the good work! You can do this. I’m cheering for you! ūüėÄ

Xoxo,

Erin

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Another Reason to Cut Back on Sugar!

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Hello fitness friends! I wanted to give you some more information about sugar. Did you know sugar helps you age? Those fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin can not only be attributed to sun damage, smoking, or lack of adequate sleep, but to high glucose levels.

A process called glycation occurs when we consume sugar. Here’s some more

Glycation (sometimes called non-enzymatic glycosylation) is the result of typically covalent bonding of a protein or lipid molecule with a sugar molecule, such as fructose or glucose, without the controlling action of an enzyme. All blood sugars are reducing molecules,~Wikipedia.

The proteins we need for smooth, plump, wrinkle free skin are collagen and elastin. When sugar bonds with proteins they become rigid, stiff, and sugar helps us age. Collagen production slows as we age. We have less ability to fight off the signs of aging. Glycation also makes the skin more prone to the damages of UV rays.

As New York‚Äďbased dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”

Here’s a great article with more information.

http://www.elle.com/_mobile/beauty/makeup-skin-care/sugar-aging-how-to-fight-glycation-614621

So what can you do?

Drink green tea and eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants.

Eat those green leafy vegetables. Eat more vegetables instead of breads, sugar, and loads of dairy.

Cut out or cut back on foods that raise blood sugar levels. Switch to low glycemic foods.

Wear sunscreen! Don’t worship the sun.

Quit smoking if you smoke.

Exercise!!!

Here are some foods that help boost collagen production: http://www.3fatchicks.com/6-foods-that-enhance-collagen-production/

Sweet friends, you can fight the signs of aging with a healthy diet and exercise. You can do this. ūüôā

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Fast Food Nation

Box with a Hamburger and French Fries

Hello mi amigos (my friends). I have not forgotten about you! I wanted to talk today about fast food. We live in a fast food nation! Everywhere you turn there is a restaurant offering you burgers, fries, deep fried golden delights! Since the rise in obesity, type II diabetes, and other food related illnesses, many places have added healthier options. BUT, you have to be careful. Yes careful. It’s required now that places provide their nutritional information to you. If you look at only the calories, you can still eat food not healthy for you.

Examples:

Taco bell has a new Cantina menu which is supposed to be healthier for you.

If you look at the calorie information, the burritos still have over 500 calories and loads of sodium (1100 mg and up)! Which is half of your daily allowance (what we should have). You are better off with one of their fresco menu items.

I told you a few posts back about my coworker who drinks his calories. The frappacino he drinks has 660 calories and almost 40 grams of sugar. We can get into trouble with fast food places if we think because an item is on a healthier menu it’s healthy. Too much sodium will not only cause you to retain water, but can lead to many other health problems. I read an article about how excess sodium helps your body produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol tells your body to store fat on your abdomen. Here’s how much sodium we should be having every day.

Sodium Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

The current recommendation is to consume less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. This is about 1 teaspoon of table salt per day. It includes ALL salt and sodium consumed, including sodium used in cooking and at the table.

We are consuming far more sodium, fat, and unhealthy carbs than we should when we opt for fast food. Even the healthier items are loaded with sodium. I track my calories, fat, sodium, fiber, and sugar intake. Fat, sugar, and salt are the best friends of fast food.

My recommendations:

Limit fast food to only a few meals a week (if that) and eat at home or what you make as much as possible. The Sugar Detox I completed last year eliminated fast food. I lost fat, and felt 100 times better. We were not made to consume so much salt, sugar, preservatives, and fat. Oh and visit the nutrition site. You’ll be surprised what you find. There are some good options, it’s good to know which ones are not.

Fast food nutrition sites:

Panera: http://www.panerabread.com/menu/

McDonalds: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices.html

Wendys: http://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info/

Taco Bell: http://www.tacobell.com/nutrition/

Chipotle: http://www.chipotlefan.com/index.php?id=nutrition_calculator

Starbucks: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/nutrition

Kentucky Fried Chicken: http://www.kfc.com/nutrition/

Subway: http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p=subway+nutrition+facts (Has the healthiest options)

Be careful with salads at restaurants as well. Some options once you add dressing are worse than fries (the fat content and calorie content).

Keep up the good work with your fitness and wellness journey! Cheering for you.

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Fat Loss (High vs Low Glycemic Foods)

I tried the high protein no carb diet. I lost weight, and gained it back as soon as I started eating carbs again. I tried the low-fat, high carb diet, and I gained weight back. I won’t list all the one’s I’ve tried as the goal isn’t to bash anyone’s program. I needed something I could do for life. I needed something that could be sustained long-term¬†easily. I¬†also wanted something to¬†help me be healthy. I wanted to lose fat while maintaining muscles, and to feel better. It’s about health for me, not necessarily vanity.

I have found a common thread with¬†most of¬†the diets out there. Most of them whether they put you on a high protein or high fiber diet, they are essentially doing what we talked about in the Sugar Detox post. They are keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Protein, fiber, and eating small meals throughout the day¬†help to maintain stable blood sugar. By keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day, you are telling your body to burn your body fat for fuel. You can’t eat more food than you need and still lose weight though, it’s still calories in=calories out. You can’t overload on fat, processed foods, and unhealthy food and have your body run efficiently. But from my experience, if you can cause a calorie deficit and keep your blood sugar stable you will lose more body fat. I also eat protein with every meal since I have a fast oxidizing metabolism.

Who wants to diet forever? Who wants to count every single calorie? Most people hate dieting and hate counting calories. Most people cease to eat healthy because they can’t maintain the restrictions long-term. Well, most of us can’t. So, today I wanted to share with you some low glycemic foods (don’t cause a major spike in your blood sugar) that you can incorporate into your meal plan. Simply trade your high glycemic foods for these. Some high glycemic foods we eat are sugar, white bread, whole wheat bread, sugary cereals, potatoes, etc…

Low Glycemic Foods List:

Breads: Coarse European Bread, Sprouted Grain Bread, Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, Rye Bread.

Cereals: All Bran Fiber One, Steel Cut Oats, Coarse Oatmeal, Porridge.

Pasta/Grains/Starchy Veggies: Barley, Kasha (Buckwheat), Couscous, Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Black eyed Peas, Most green vegetables,Quinoa.

Dairy: Skim, 1%, cottage cheese (low-fat or regular), Buttermilk, Low-fat Plain Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, low-fat cheeses, cheese (mod. desirable).

Fruit: Apples, Berries, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Honeydew, Oranges, Pears, Grapes, Peaches, Cherries, Plums, and Grapefruit.

Meats: Shellfish, White Fish (Roughy, Tilapia, Tuna, Flounder, Cod), Chicken, Turkey, Cornish Hen, Eggs, Salmon, lean red meats in moderation.

I still don’t have my 6 pack chiseled abs, but I am working on them. I am happy that over the past few months to see fat melt away and muscle stay. Many times we diet and we are essentially losing muscle and water. When we stop dieting, we gain weight. Muscle is a good thing to maintain. It takes up less space than fat, it burns more calories than fat, and overall enhances our appearance. I hope that along with your changes in diet you are able to incorporate fitness into the mix. Of course talk with your doctor before staring any diet or exercise program. The commitment to be healthy is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. I want you all healthy and strong! Have a stellar week!

Resources on glycemic index foods:

http://www.glycemicindex.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/glycemic-index-diet/MY00770

New beginnings. Tumblr photo.

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Detox from Sugar (Fat Loss)

Who doesn’t love desserts? They are creamy, sweet, filled with fat and butter. Yummmmmm….As I stated last post I have not had dessert in 75 days. I decided to detox from sugar thinking it would be great for my exhaustion. I also read some research stating that abdominal fat was often an indication of the over consumption of sugar. Sugar causes insulin spikes in the blood. When we eat that candy bar and drink that soda, our blood sugar sky rockets! What happens after this blissful sugar high? We come crashing down to the land of, “I need either more sugar or some caffeine.” The spiral continues until we are addicted to sugar. Not only have we started the cycle for sugar addiction, we are also telling our bodies to store fat. Yes! Stable blood sugar is beneficial for weight loss (See disclaimer¬†at the bottom of the post¬†if you think you’d like to give up sugar).

Insulin and energy:

“Insulin is a hormone that causes most of the body‚Äôs cells to take up glucose from the blood (including liver, muscle, and fat tissue cells), storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stops use of fat as an energy source,” fitnessblackbook.com.

With the information I gathered on blood sugar and weight loss I decided to try 30 days with no added sugar. Diet consisted of lean meats-fish, turkey, beef, chicken, vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, beans, vegetable protein shakes (no preservatives), eggs,¬†peanut butter, low fat dairy, etc…I did not eat any bread, grains, rice, or sugary fruits. Calorie consumption was relative to my plan before ~1500 to 1300 calories. The food I was eating before consisted of wheat bread, fruits, sugar, honey, cereals, frozen meals, crackers, pretzels, meats/grains/dairy, diet soda, potatoes, and pasta (all within the calorie restriction). The scale was not moving and my body was not responding to calorie restriction.

When¬†I ¬†started eating whole foods it was more difficult to meet the calories¬†I needed. Ex. Spinach has 7 calories a cup vs. eating potatoes that are more calorie rich.¬†And whole foods fill you up faster. I¬†simply wasn’t as hungry. Something to note: women should not eat less than 1200 calories per day and 1500 for men. Reducing calories below that level leads your body to think you’re starving and your metabolism will slow down. Plus it’s not healthy (See webMD.com search starvation).

Fitness and my plan: I did not work out the first 14 days. I wanted to see if the research was valid (stable blood sugar leads to fat loss). I had been running 15 to 20 miles per week.

Sugar Detox Week One (my experiences)

Headache, fatigue, irritability, and then more headaches and irritability.  I mean I felt like a cranky zombie. A cranky zombie who would probably tackle someone walking by with a cupcake. Oh my~ what did I sign up for? I decided to keep going. I was determined to finish what I started.

Sugar Detox Week Two

Energy has increased. No longer craving sweets or wishing to raid the vending machine for sweets.

Sugar Detox Weeks Three & Four

Able to run 6 miles instead of 3 without being exhausted. Energy is through the roof! Skin has cleared up with a healthy glow. I have dropped one pant size. I’ve lost almost 2 inches off my waist¬†¬†without working out every day. I ran no more than once or twice a week.

Sugar Detox Weeks Five through Present

After the first 30 days I began to add more foods. Sprouted grain bread/Ezekiel 4:9 bread, sweet potatoes, quinoa, greek yogurt, fruit-berries, pears always with protein and never alone, croutons, etc..). Added circuit training into the fitness plan. I feel 100 percent better. I require less sleep. I no longer have the after lunch slump, and my skin looks better. I no longer crave sweets.

Will I ever go back to dessert? Probably in moderation (once a week), I don’t think anyone should deprive themselves for life. However, eating a diet that mainly consists of sugar affects your blood sugar and energy levels.¬† I’ve also lost four inches of fat off my stomach. It’s flat now. I feel better without dessert and that’s worth sacrificing for! I’m sure cutting out¬†unhealthy processed foods helped with the fat loss as well. Good luck on your journey friends.

Disclaimer: Do not follow this as a weight loss plan. Every person should consult their doctor before starting a diet or exercise program. Your doctor can recommend a nutritionist for you or a plan if you desire. Information presented are my experiences/experiment.

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