Craving a soda even though you know its not the healthiest choice? Recent research may be the final factor that stops you from reaching for one. Research out of Tufts University estimated that there are over 180,000 adult deaths worldwide each year that can be attributed to the consumption of sugary drinks. That’s seriously staggering – over 1,500 deaths per month!
The research looked at 2010 data and attributed such causes of death like heart disease, diabetes and cancer to the consumption of sugary beverages that also includes sweetened tea, sports drinks and even fruit drinks. In the study, a sugary drink was classified as containing at least 50kcal for every 8 ounce serving. So what if you’ve been slamming these types of drinks for years? Is your health in peril? Another study found that cutting just one of these drinks daily (and replacing with beverages such as unsweetened tea, water and black coffee) can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 25%! So cutting out sugary drinks can have immediate health benefits and it’s time to drop them, right? Here are three options below to help you stay healthy!
Healthy Alternatives To Sugar-Filled Drinks
Of course, water is the best alternative out there and frankly many of us simply aren’t drinking enough of the stuff. A good rule of thumb is to take your bodyweight and divide it by two. Whatever number you get is the amount of water you should drink daily (in ounces). This gives you a more personalized approach to water consumption instead of the old “8 eight ounce glasses a day”. That being said, there are many people out there who don’t like the taste of water (which is something I have never understood). A good alternative is to add flavoring such as Propel, MIO or infusing your water with fresh fruit. Just make sure you aren’t dumping a ton of sugar into your “healthy” beverage – that defeats the purpose!
Tea (especially green tea) is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet! Green tea can actually lower your risk of heart disease and is also great for lowering you risk of many types of cancer – it’s all about the EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea. EGCG is a polyphenol that can help lower the growth rate of many cancer cells such as those in the colon, stomach and pancreas! It makes for a great, healthy, tasty alternative!
This is my go-to when it comes to alternative drinks other than water. Black coffee is a great, energizing alternative! Many of you out there may love your coffee every morning but load it down with creamer and sugars which makes it like drinking a thick sugary smoothie – which once again negates the point of cutting out your sugary drinks. And the old wives tale that coffee actually dehydrates you, just isn’t true. (the most recent research is cited in this linked article – read more here)
Clearly, sucking down a ton of sugar can have adverse health effects so we need healthy alternatives. From infused water to the countless water flavoring products out there to drinking black coffee, there are numerous ways to cut the sugar from your diet and almost immediately improve your health! Those sugar laden drinks just aren’t worth it!
For more nutrition, fitness and lifestyle tips you can start implementing today visit Always Active Athletics: “DIY Fitness, Food and Lifestyle – No Gym Needed!”
When it comes to exercise, I’m a firm believer in exercising at a high-intensity in order to make your workout as efficient and effective as possible. It’s a great way to help you exercise in a timely manner while helping you blast calories and build muscle. That being said, there are many of us that simply can’t perform super high-intensity exercise due to physical/preexisting conditions or simply our age, and that’s okay. You can also incorporate low-intensity exercise to help build up your exercise capacity and help you get healthier in general!
In fact, recent research points to the fact that low-intensity exercise is highly beneficial to older adults! This research published in American Journal of Health Promotion, demonstrated that at least 300 minutes of light exercise per week – such as walking, small household chores – can be a great way for older adults (65 and older) to improve their health. That’s roughly 43 minutes a day! This high dosage of low-intensity exercise was just as beneficial as vigorous exercise and is more likely to be performed – especially for the elderly!
The participants that performed this amount of low-intensity exercise were found to have a lower waist circumference, a lower body mass index, and were 18% healthier! Lead author Dr. Paul Loprinzi explained, “These findings highlight that, in addition to promoting moderate-intensity physical activity to older adults, we should not neglect the importance of engaging in lower-intensity, movement-based behaviors when the opportunity arises.”
Walk Your Way to Health
One great way to perform low-intensity exercise throughout the day is walking! A simple 45 minute walk each day will not only improve your health but can help clear your mind, help you get back to nature, or help you reconnect with friends. Forming and maintaining a walking group can be a great way to connect with friends and keep you stay motivated!
Another great way to perform low-intensity exercise is simply cleaning the house or working in the garden. This satisfying approach can help you improve your health while keeping the house spotless and the garden free of crab grass!
While we do commonly prescribe high-intensity exercise to help people get in quick workouts that get results, low-intensity exercise is a great way for older adults to improve their health without the rigors of seriously strenuous exercise! Co-author of the above study Brad Cardinal helped sum it up, “This research suggests that doing something is dramatically better than doing nothing. For the average, every day person that is a much more palatable message than the current guidelines that emphasize moderate to vigorous exercise.” So get up and get started – low-intensity exercise can go a long, long way!
To get expert workouts, healthy recipes, and lifestyle tips visit Always Active Athletics: “DIY Fitness, Food and Lifestyle – No Gym Needed!”
Recently over at my website we had a nutrition expert come write about some simple ways to jumpstart your weight loss if you have started to stall. This happens to everyone – you start off strong and drop 5-10pounds relatively quickly but then you just plateau. No matter how much harder you work or how much you restrict in terms of calories you can’t seem to lose another pound – you’ve stalled.
This can be the case in terms of losing weight or even building muscle. When you get away from the practices that helped you get results (even though you may not realize you are straying) you can quickly start to see diminished returns. Here are three of the easiest things you can start to focus on today (or refocus on) to help you start striving towards your goals. As you’ll notice, these are simply great healthy principles that we should all implement in our daily lives!
Eat a high-protein, filling breakfast
This is one of the first practices that gets thrown out the window when we get busy, are tired, or simply think we don’t need it! I’ve even done this – when I was dealing with a lower back problem that made exercising and sleeping difficult, I simply quit eating breakfast…mistake!
A high-protein breakfast can help set you up for a great day. It not only energizes you but it can help keep you full until lunch. So not only are you more energized and feeling full, you wake up your metabolism from its overnight fasting slumber – jumpstarting it! This can help you start to burn more calories sooner in the day! When it comes to protein, one of the best sources to get the day started is the incredible, edible egg!
Back to the water
Just like breakfast, one of the first healthy practices we kick to the curb when we get busy (or just absentminded) is that we stop drinking as much water as we should and therefore end up dehydrated. Being dehydrated can lead us to feeling fatigued and even hungry. Many times this hunger is simply that we need to drink more water but we end up stuffing down snacks instead.
One way to ensure you are drinking enough water is to set a few timers on your phone that sound every 45 minutes that tell you to get up and get water! When it comes to the proper amount to drink, you can find a personalized solution by taking your body weight and dividing it by two. The number you get is how many ounces of water you should be drinking daily.
Be conscious of what you’re eating
Many people start a weight loss program by keeping a daily food log. This simple practice helps them lose weight quickly, but eventually get tired of keeping the log and think they can mentally keep track of their food intake. This leads to the stalling of their weight loss. Why?
It’s because they are no longer conscious of what they are putting in their mouths. You may think you can mentally keep track of all the tiny snacks you eat, but when you have to write it down you think twice about have a tiny piece of chocolate, a handful of chips, or a soda here and there. That can add up to some serious calories! Why go away from what worked to begin with? Start keeping a daily food log that notes everything you consume. This will keep you conscious of what exactly you are eating throughout the day and when you are doing it as well!
It really isn’t that hard to get your weight moving in the right direction again. You simply have to keep using the principles and practices that helped you lose weight to begin with. Remember to eat a protein filled breakfast, drink plenty of water, keep a food log and be active daily and you will quickly jumpstart your weight loss!
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