Stop, Look, and Listen

Stop, look, and listen. You can reduce your calorie intake, lower your blood sugar, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease TODAY! Before we go any further getting to know our food, let’s take a moment to explore a simple change that can make a huge difference.

Whew. It’s hard to believe we’re already one month into the new year! How are you fairing with your plans to be healthier?

If you’ve been following this blog all month, you’ll recall that we’ve been learning about food so that we have the knowledge we need to slowly, but surely, build a lifestyle to support the changes we want to make. Building a framework to support change can take time. Seeing the results of changes can take time. As we’ve seen, learning about food can take time. But there are things you can do that will make you healthier right this minute!

That’s right. You can reduce your calorie intake, lower your blood sugar, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease TODAY! How?
Stop, Look, and Listen.

Drinking soda with high fructose corn syrup
Drinking soda with real sugar
Drinking diet soda
Giving soda to your children

The American Heart Association recommends children drink soda once a week or less. According to the Washington Post, two-thirds of children drink soda daily.

Soft drinks provide 0 nutrition. ZERO. For the 100 calories in an 8 ounce Dr. Pepper, you get more than a days worth of added sugar. It doesn’t matter if the sugar comes from cane sugar, beet sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, it is still added sugar and your body does not require it.

Yes, you’ll get a temporary boost from the sugar and caffeine in the drink, but if you do not combine it with protein or long lasting carbs, you will soon feel fatigued because of a swift drop in blood sugar. One way to combat that is to drink another soda. That can result in a cycle that’s hard to
break. And on some level it can be addicting.

My mother had such an addiction to Dr. Pepper for about 20 years. I found a handwritten health history in which she documented that she drank 12 Dr. Peppers per day. Each was a 20 oz bottle out of the vending machine at our business. Even if she only consumed half of each bottle, that’s 1500 calories per day.

While it was no secret that she subsisted on Dr. Pepper, saltine crackers, and the occasional piece of cherry pie, I don’t think any of us realized how many of her calories came from sugar. It was the bulk of them. You wouldn’t have guessed this. She was never overweight. In fact, she was quite thin. She was also fatigued and depressed. She ultimately died from kidney disease.

Diet soda removes the sugar and calories, but a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that diet soft drinks may also contribute to diabetes and be associated with weight gain and metabolic syndrome.

Drinking sweet tea

If you’ve grown accustomed to sweet tea, this may sound difficult. My grandmother had a good system for breaking the habit. She would only allow us to have a glass of sweet tea after we finished a glass of unsweet tea. It didn’t take long to lose our preference for the sweet version.

Drinking flavored coffee drinks daily

Whether it comes from a barista, dispensing machine, or bottle, a caramel cappuccino is filled with sugar. If your daily morning coffee comes topped with syrup and whipped cream, there’s no question. It is filled with sugar.

Serving lemonade, punch, or drink mixes with meals

Lemonade, punch, and drink mixes are all sweetened with something. Of course it’s okay to have a
lemonade stand sometimes or serve punch at a party. The problem arises when it’s served frequently.

Giving the kids store bought juice or juice boxes

Juice is better than soda because it contains some vitamins, and nutrients. The box may say it’s 100% juice, but some brands have added sugar hidden in the fruit concentrate. Fresh squeezed juice or water are better options.

At the label before you buy

It’s not just soft drinks that deliver a large dose of sugar. Sports drinks and flavored water may do so as well. If you see the words: high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or sucrose syrup — they mean sugar. If you see the words Sucralose and acesulfame potassium — they mean artificial sweetener.

Getting in the habit of reading labels will help you make healthier choices. You may discover that simply changing brands will make a big difference in the amount of fat, sugar, and calories you are consuming.

To your body

Foods affect people differently. If I eat pancakes with syrup for breakfast, you’ll find me in the bathroom throwing up about 10 minutes later. This has been true my entire life. Even if they’re gluten-free, I can’t tolerate sugary carbs in the morning. This may not be true for you.

So, I’m not saying that you should never ever have a soda, or sweet tea, or a delicious coffee drink. I’m saying that if you begin to think of those things as treats to be consumed on rare occasions rather than as regular everyday fare, you’ll automatically make a huge step toward a healthier diet.

It really is that easy! And it can happen today.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”