We’re thrilled to share today’s guest post, written by our head health coach, Beth! Check out what she has to say about these sweet summer months (and then scroll down further to see some of our own snapshots of summer sweetness).
Sunshine, sailboats, flowers and fruit–Summer’s abundance of sweetness comes in all different forms. In the heat of the season, it’s the perfect time of year to satisfy our cravings for ice-cold lemonade, tall scoops of ice cream, and colorful Popsicles that we can enjoy outside on the porch. But in these sweet months, it is especially easy to overindulge on the refined stuff–we’re talking sugar.
Research has suggested that sugar has a multitude of addictive qualities: the more that we eat, the more that we crave. Each day, the average American consumes about 300 calories of sugar from various foods and beverages. If you were to pick up any brand of soda, for example, a typical can has about 10 teaspoons of sugar inside, each teaspoon containing around 25 calories. This sugar-filled lifestyle increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So how do we break this cycle? With some thoughtful determination, this summer is the best time to regain control. Here are some helpful tips:
- Don’t drink your calories. Soda, fruit juice, sports drinks and lemonade are all laden with sugar and empty calories. Stick to water or seltzer water to quench that summer thirst!
- Pick real fruit in lieu of forbidden fruit! Take advantage of the many delicious summer fruit offerings. The high fiber content in fresh fruit allows for a much slower absorption of sugar, which helps to both fill us up longer and avoid the “crash” caused by sugar highs and lows.
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is an industrial food product that is sweeter and cheaper than natural sugar. HFCS is absorbed so rapidly that our bodies do not have time to produce the normal satiety cues, which may lead to overeating and obesity. If you see HFCS on the ingredient label, leave that product on the shelf.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners. While you may think you are saving calories by choosing low calorie artificial sweeteners, think again. Sweeter than sugar, these products desensitize our taste buds leaving us hungry and intensifying our cravings.
Challenge yourself to decrease your sugar intake this summer! Try it for one week and see how you feel. In the end, you may just find you are content to enjoy the sweet days of summer without craving more refined sugar in the process.