How much sugar are you drinking?
Whether you sip on a morning mocha, a smoothie, or you beat the afternoon lull with a soft drink or ice tea, many common beverages have a 1/4 cup of sugar per serving. Research is clear that diets high in sugar raise our risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
What about a “nutrient enhanced water beverage,” or bubble tea, or coconut water? They are all sugar water. But surely, the freshly made juices packed with all that antioxidant goodness must be good for us?! Well, it takes a lot of carrots to make one glass of carrot juice. Try it, your compost pile will fill up and your body will miss all the roughage that helps digestion and makes your stomach feel full.
What about blended smoothies made from whole fruits and vegetables? Yes of course, these drinks can be very nutritious, but liquids are digested and absorbed quickly and spike our blood sugar more than the whole fruits. Don’t believe me? Try having a smoothie for breakfast on an empty stomach. You will feel ravenous an hour or two later when your blood sugar crashes. We’ll talk about recovery nutrition next week and explain why these smoothies are great snacks after a run but not a good breakfast choice.
Whether it’s raw sugar, organic sugar, agave, or other forms of sugar, we need to be aware that sugar is addictive and most of us have too much of it. Cut out the sugary drinks and retrain your taste buds so your body can recognize the natural sweetness in foods. Keep a water bottle at home, in the car and at work. Try infused water with lemon, cucumber, mint or frozen berries. Herbal tea is great choice too. Although some natural juices may have a few extra vitamins, all drinks should be consumed in moderation. Sweetened drinks are usually high in Calories and low in nutrients, and if they replace other foods, we end up missing important nutrients that we need to stay healthy.
Cristina Sutter is a Private Practice Sport Dietitian at Optimal Performance Clinic in Vancouver. For more information, visit cristinasutter.ca.