By Carolyn Twesten, Weaver Street Market Produce Merchandiser
This week’s owner coupon is buy 2 get 1 free on 12-packs of Polar Water Seltzer cans. Learn more about the coupon below.
It’s getting to be the dog days of summer and many of you are probably (hopefully!) preparing for your summer vacation, if you’re not already there. As vacation most likely involves some sort of physical activity—maybe water skiing, hiking, or maybe even putting on a swimsuit—you may be taking some stock of your physical health. Wondering where those few extra pounds came from over the last year, that you’re just now noticing.
Whatever your motivation, be it improved heart health, weight loss, or better energy levels, there’s always an opportunity to improve your diet. One of the best things you can do right now is to reduce your sugar intake.
Changes in Nutritional Guidelines
For years the USDA recommended that we eat a lower fat, higher carbohydrate diet. Many things led to these claims, some of them nefarious, some less so. Nutritionists are now coming around to the truth that a diet high in carbohydrates—refined carbohydrates in particular—is harmful to your health in a variety of ways. This Standard American Diet (SAD) of the past several decades has coincided with a rise in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It can sometimes be hard to find food products that don’t have added sugar (in its many forms, including high fructose corn syrup), and many items on grocery store shelves now contain more sugar than an adult should consume in an entire day.
And how much is that? The current average recommendation is 25 grams for women, or about six teaspoons, and 38 grams for men, about nine teaspoons. To put that in perspective for you, the average cola soft drink contains 39 grams of sugar. Everyone’s favorite blended iced coffee drink contains a whopping 69 grams of sugar. Whoa!
Different Kinds of Sugar
Keep in mind we’re talking about added sugar, not naturally occurring fruit sugars or milk sugar (aka lactose). The difference is that refined sugars have minimal, if any, nutritional value. This means that the body processes them very quickly, essentially sending them directly into the blood stream. This is where your classic sugar high comes from. Then, of course, what goes up must come down. Your blood sugar crashes, your energy level drops, and suddenly you’re “hangry” and seeking out another fix. Additionally, an overabundance of glucose in the body raises insulin levels in the blood, signaling the body’s cells to store fat.
Fruit, on the other hand, contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber along with that sugar. That complete package affects your blood sugar in a much different way, nourishing your body rather than sending it on a dangerous roller coaster ride.
Tips for Health
So now that you know a little about the effects of sugar on your body (to learn more, check out https://www.drdavidludwig.com/), what can you do about it? Here are some tips to help you scale back your sugar intake and even kick the habit for good.
- Start replacing your sugary snacks and treats with healthier ones. Pick foods that are higher in fiber and fat so they truly satisfy your hunger. Instead of the afternoon snack bar or scone, try a bowl of full fat yogurt with berries or a handful of roasted nuts.
- Ditch the soft drinks! Actually, ditch all sugary drinks including sweet tea, sweetened coffee drinks (especially those frozen blended ones!), and even your morning juice. Yes, you heard me. Unless your morning juice is brimming with pulp, it contains more sugar than fiber and is probably not doing you any good. Eat a piece of fruit instead! Or, replace those drinks with unsweetened seltzer waters—they’re so good you won’t even miss the sugar!
- Check the ingredient labels of your favorite foods–especially snacks, fruit-flavored yogurts, and condiments. They often have way more sugar than you think. Opt for lower-sugar options.
Now that you know how and why you should reduce your sugar intake, it’s time to go for it! Sugar is actually a highly addictive substance, and it may take some time. Wean yourself off the sweets for a little while, then try giving yourself a goal—like one full week with no sugar. The longer you do it, the easier it will get, and the better you will feel. Trust me! I gradually reduced my intake of refined carbohydrates for about a year while increasing my exercise moderately as well as my intake of healthy fats. The results were so great (10 lbs lost!) that I felt inspired to continue on, eventually cutting out sugar altogether for a period of one month. Now my healthy eating regimen has become second nature and I feel more energized and have fewer headaches, and my mood is overall improved. You can do it, too!
This week’s owner coupon is buy 2 get 1 free on 12-packs of Polar Water Seltzer cans, good August 8-15, 2018. Owners, look for the coupon in our weekly e-news, sent on Wednesday. If you didn’t get the coupon, you may need to update your email address in our owner database. Log in to your WeaverConnect account here. Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not an owner? Become one today to receive the weekly owner coupon as well as the other benefits of ownership, like invitations to the Co-op Fair, a logo T-shirt and bag, and the right to vote in board elections. Learn more here.