It’s That First Bite That Will Do You In

Staying away from sweet treats and fried foods may be the best strategy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

You’ve been eating healthy and avoiding junk food.

There is a kind of momentum which develops where you are gaining will power by exercising your will to stay away from fatty, sugary foods.

But, that first whiff leads to that first bite which can lead to a slippery slope into over indulgence.

There’s a reason this tends to happen almost exclusively with fatty and sugary foods and not, say, lettuce. The saturated fats in foods like bacon and cheese impair your brain’s normal ability to regulate appetite and cravings, so you don’t realize you’re full until you’re completely stuffed, says Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Stanford University and author of The Willpower Instinct. What’s more, that effect on your appetite can last for up to three days, the length of time it takes to flush those fats from your system. So one unhealthy indulgence can end up triggering a major relapse.
Add sugar to the fatty food, ice cream, cake, doughnuts, and you have a double whammy. High-sugar foods increase your levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and increases cravings. “So you may tell yourself ‘Just one bite’ but find yourself wanting more and more, the more you eat,” says McGonigal.

Moderation is a term that gets tossed around often, however, the definition seems to have a wide range of meaning.

If being around treats could derail your diet, then better to avoid them altogether especially considering that there is no nutritional gain to be had from eating junk food anyway.

The Snake Oil That Is Energy Drinks

When it comes to energy drinks and potions you may be wasting your money.

Sugar, caffeine, B-12 and herbal concoctions do little to truly increase your energy level.

In fact, hospital visits related to energy drinks have surged more than tenfold since 2005, reports the U.S. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. And most of those amped-up patients are men.

Regular sleep of 7-8 hours, a healthy diet and moderate exercise are the best ways to maintain an energy level which will allow you to stay awake and alert, productive and energized throughout your day.

“We don’t use our bodies the way they’re built to be used,” says Dr. Edlund. “We guzzle energy drinks and then can’t sleep at night. We sit all day and then read e-mails at 3 a.m.” It’s no wonder we walk around like zombies, and treat these drinks like liquid life support. As sales and heart rates spike, it’s a good time to question the trends and find healthier ways to power up.

Is There Something Better Than Sugar?

Five natural sweeteners that may be better than sugar include Sucanant, Agave Nectar, Honey, Coconut Sugar, and Stevia Extract.

If you have a sweet tooth that just can not be tamed, perhaps alternatives to white and brown sugar would benefit your health.

Although there is no great calorie difference, except with Stevia, there are more nutrients and trace minerals to be found in less processed sweeteners.

Also, there are clear health benefits to honey which surpass them all.

However, there are those who will say that sugar is sugar and it is best to simply ween yourself off of all things sweet.

Read for yourself to see which is the best for you.

For a less-processed alternative with small amounts of nutrients in it as well, look for sucanat, which is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice. Sucanat (an abbreviation for sugar-cane-natural) has a stronger molasses flavor than refined white sugar and retains all of the nutrients found in natural sugar cane juice, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium. Though, as New York University nutritional scientist Marion Nestle points out: “The amounts of trace minerals in raw sugar are so small that they are nutritionally insignificant.”

Children are Still Consuming Too Much Sugar

It is in the home, not schools or at social gatherings where children are being inundated with sweeteners.

Researchers have found that although beverages do account for a large amount of sugar in kids’ diets it is the hidden sugars in foods such as tomato sauce, muffins, cereals and everyday household items.

These sugar calories add up.

Simple carbohydrates such as pasta and breads also contribute to sugar in the diet.

With all the changes being made to food and nutritional guidelines in schools, it seems like the place where children come in contact with the most sugar is at home.

Almost everything we buy has sugar as an ingredient.

Over the course of the day children can consume a week’s worth of sweeteners.

Planning meals and reading labels is the best way to avoid unwanted added ingredients.

Eating meals as a family and introducing fresh fruits and vegetables also help to satisfy sugar cravings.

Sugar Overdose? Block the Effects With 7 Tricks

Fatty snacks and a glass of wine with your dinner are just two of the ways that you can block the absorption of sugar into your system.

You can blunt the blood sugar-raising effects by taking advantage of natural substances in foods that slow carbohydrate digestion and entry into the bloodstream. No matter what kind of sugar blocker you use, your waistline (and health) will win in the end.

Read on for more tips.

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