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Fuel up to avoid expensive repairs

Overweight or obese, is it the genes or the beverages?  USA Today reports on two recent research studies indicating that it’s both.  High intake of sugar sweetened beverages combined with obese genes is a double whammy (sugar sweetened beverages included sugar sweetened soda, fruit drinks and lemonade; not included were 100% fruit juices, coffee or tea). It seems straight forward that sugar beverages are full of empty calories (few nutrients, but high in calories) and don’t offer a very good return on your calorie investment.

The second study focused on teenagers.  The teens who avoided the sweetened beverages lost weight compared to the teens that drank sweetened beverages.

While the results of these studies are helpful, I want to discuss the choice of beverages.  Every day, I meet people who drink 100% juice in 20 ounce containers and who sweeten their coffee or tea with tablespoons of sugar.  It’s important to note that an apple is better than apple juice and an orange is better than orange juice.  The closer our food is to the natural source the better it is for our body.  If you enjoy 100% juice, however, make sure to keep the intake at six ounces per day.  High intake of sugar whether it is from juice, soda, energy drinks, or added to tea and coffee will increase weight, as well as glucose and triglyceride levels in our blood; high triglyceride is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

In my ideal world, the healthy choice would be the easy choice.

  • The best choice for beverages are water, nonfat or 1% milk and tea – especially green tea.
  • Sugar-free soda (diet), coffee or tea sweetened with artificial sweeteners or ½ teaspoon of sugar or honey is okay.
  • Add spices to tea or coffee to enhance the sweetness, if you prefer.
  • And remember, a fruit snack is the best choice for a sweet taste, nutrients and energy.

The body prefers nutrient-rich foods. So for those of you who are thinking these choices are so boring, remember that food is fuel. Would you choose to fuel your car with low-grade gasoline? I know that my old car cannot use E85 fuel. If I choose that anyway, I will have expensive repairs. The same goes for your body. Fuel up with nutrient-rich foods (which are often very colorful) and avoid the expensive repairs!

CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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