11 Beverages You Should Stop Drinking, Now

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Labels can be tricky, often intentionally. If people really understood what ingredients and how much were going into their food, they would probably think twice before consuming. That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself about how to read a food label, what your daily intake should be, and how these ingredients effect your body, metabolism, and mood.

Here are 11 beverages I’ve already vetted for you. If you’re ready to be healthy and achieve/maintain a healthy weight, it’s time to stop drinking these beverages right now.

  1. Vitamin Water. On the label it says it has 13 grams (g) of sugar, BUT there are 2.5 servings per container. That means this little 20 oz. bottle of “water” comes with 32g of sugar.
  2. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. The label says there is no added sugar but 8 oz. contains a whopping 39g of sugar. Even worse, it’s fructose, which is a kind of sugar that is more easily converted into belly fat.
  3. Coca Cola. The second ingredient in Coca Cola is high fructose corn syrup. Just 8 oz. has 27g of sugar. Of course this isn’t just Coke. All soft drinks contain about the same. It’s time to put down the plastic cup and pick up some fresh water.
  4. Amp Energy Elevate. The labels says it contains 29g of sugar per 8 oz. That means when you pick up a 16 oz. can you’re actually getting nearly 60g of sugar.
  5. Sobe Cranberry Grapefruit. This Sobe drink has 26g of sugar per 8 oz.. With 2.5 servings per bottle, you’re getting over 60g of sugar in one drink. That’s 15 teaspoons! Would you sit and scoop 15 spoonfuls of sugar into your coffee in the morning and then drink it? I hope not!
  6. Rockstar Energy Drink. Each can of Rockstar Energy Drink contains 62g of sugar. Enough said.
  7. Gatorade. Some might be surprised but this one, but Gatorade contains high fructose corn syrup as its second ingredient. That’s hardly what any athlete needs to replenish.
  8. Tropicana’s Cranberry Juice. This “juice” contains high fructose corn syrup and 32g of sugar per 8 fluid ounces.
  9. Starbucks Doubleshot Energy plus Coffee. At two servings per container, this “coffee” drink contains 28g of sugar.
  10. Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix. This mixer is loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Plus, the average margarita is 400 calories.

It might seem tough at first to cut out your favorite energy drink or juice beverage at first, but once you break the addiction to the sugar and caffeine, you’ll actually find that you have more energy, better overall health, and you’ll spend less time feeling the “crash” after all that sugar and caffein wears off.

Exercise: How to Get Twice the Results In Half The Time

treadmill-runnersYou all understand that exercise is good for you. It keeps your cardiovascular systems healthy, keeps you strong, and helps keep your weight in check (alongside a proper diet.) But, that doesn’t mean you have to like it.

It’s easy to come up with excuses when you truly dislike exercising and would rather spend your time doing just about anything else. I don’t have any secrets for never having to exercise again, but I do have some insights into what can make the process more bearable, and best of all: take less time.

There is a proven way to at least double your results from exercise while reducing the time it takes to complete your workout. Do I have your attention now? Great!

All you have to do is this: change your pace and intensity throughout your workout.

It’s really as simple as that. Researchers have found that when you change the pace or intensity of one exercise to the next you can dramatically boost your metabolism, not only during your workout, but also for hours afterwards. This means you can get more out of each workout in less time.

Next time you’re in the gym, don’t remain at one pace throughout your entire session. Hop on the treadmill, exercise bike, or stair climber, and start by moving at a moderate pace for a minute, then work up to a jog for a minute, then sprint for a minute, and repeat.

(Note: If you can’t sprint because of physical limitations such as injury or illness, that’s fine. You can still change your intensity level from low to medium to high in a way that challenges you without putting your body or health at risk.)

As you continue your workout, keep changing your pace between slow, medium, and fast until your time is up. Researchers have found that you can burn more calories in 20 to 30 minutes of varied-intensity aerobics then an hour of medium paced, consistent movement. Variety is not only the spice of life, it’s the key to your workout goals.

Another benefit of this method of exercise is that most people find the constant variation more engaging. Fighting boredom in your workout is important. If you can design your workout so that you can actually enjoy it, that’s always going to go a long way in keeping you motivated.

If you’re a beginner: start out slow. As you work your way up, the high-intensity part of your workout will get faster and you’ll be able to push yourself more and more. Pay attention to your body, and if you ever feel faint or nauseous, take a break immediately. In time, not only will you be healthier, stronger, and weigh less, but exercise will also give you “feel-good” hormones that will boost your mood and lower your overall levels of stress and depression.

Next time you workout, remember: each exercise session a victory in your quest to improve your body and your life. Give yourself the credit you deserve for showing up and putting in the work, expecially when you’re tired, grumpy, or unmotivated because even your worst workout is better than not showing up at all.

Save the Avocado!

The secret is out, and it’s that avocados are a miracle food. Used in dozens of healthy recipes for its burst of flavor and host of healthy factors, the avocado is equal parts delicious and nutritious. But how can we keep one from spoiling? It’s rare that someone finishes an entire avocado in one sitting, and following these tips will allow you to revisit your favorite food without it having spoiled or gone brown after the first cut.

A Cut Above: Instead of using a traditional pressed-steel blade to cut, try using a ceramic or plastic knife. Metal accelerates the oxidation process, leading your favorite food to brown quicker than you’d think.

The Citric Approach: Citric acid is well-known as both a powerful antioxidant and the worst thing to get in a paper cut. When you’ve cut into your avacado and are preparing to return it to the fridge, rubbing some lemon juice along the exposed flesh will significantly reduce the speed that it browns.

Seal It Up: Oxidation is what brings the brown to your fresh avocado, so a sure-fire way to fight this is by removing all the air from the bag where you’re keeping it. Whether you have a vacuum sealer or just a determined set of hands, the more air you can keep away from your now exposed avocado the better.

Josh BezoniGuard your Guac: One of the lovely byproducts of a good avocado is guacamole. Delicious and good on almost anything, this delectable green paste can go bad just as quickly as your freshly sliced avocado. When sealing it to ensure its freshness, add a half-inch of water on top of the guacamole after you’ve been sure to remove any air pockets. This bag and water seal helps to keep that guac fresh for up to an entire day by ensuring that no air reaches your food.

The Metabolic Race

We all have that one friend. You’ve seen him eat entire pizzas, you’ve watched him wolf an entire birthday cake, but he somehow remains thin. Our metabolic rate governs our waistline like a dictator ruling over their country. While some metabolisms may be more proactive, burning food like logs in a furnace, others are slower, taking their precious time with what’s given. But not all is out of your hands.

Sadly, crash dieting has become normal for the general public. The ups and downs of a shifting diet can wreak absolute havoc on your metabolism. Imagine your body as a finely tuned car, and multiple diets as different types of fuel, doing little more than damaging the inner workings of your system with its ever-changing qualJosh Bezoniities. Crash dieting can slow your metabolic rate to a crawl, and snapping back to old habits will not only bring the weight back but pile it on with a vengeance.

Dr. Rudolph Leibel, the leading researcher at Rockefeller University and world-renowned obesity expert, found that there is a quantifiable difference between those who crash diet and those who took the time to establish healthy eating habits. Not only were the metabolic rates of the “crashers” 25% lower than their counterparts, the damage done to their metabolism set their body to the rhythm of someone nearly half their size.

The human body is a complex system of chemicals and hormones, each working together to ensure we keep moving forward. Crash dieting can not only damage your metabolic rate, but it can alter your vital hormone makeup. By drastically reducing a daily diet, the human body will begin to lessen its production of fat-burning hormones. The thyroid, responsible for combating weight gain, can drop as much as 38% after two weeks of sustained low-calorie consumption. A week spent indulging in your old habits after your metabolism has dropped to these lows will spell doom for the progress you fought to earn.

No one is perfect. We do our best with what we’re given and make improvements when we are willing and able to do so. Though many remain the victims of their metabolism, there is an answer to the problem plaguing millions, and it’s simple. Eat well, eat regularly, and don’t subject yourself to constant crash-dieting. Not only is it better for your mind, it’s good for the body.

The Best Snack for Satisfying Cravings

AlmondsWe have all been there. It’s 3:30 in the afternoon, and you’ve long since forgotten about what you ate for lunch. You’re feeling a little lethargic, your stomach is starting to grumble, and you want to reach for something quick to satisfy your craving and get you through to the end of the work day.

Everyone gets cravings, and every now and then, we all give into them. You’re human! I’m not here to guilt trip you. But one of the best defenses again succumbing to your daydreams of chocolate chip cookies and oily potato chips is to have a few smarter (i.e. healthier) snacks at your disposal.

One of my favorite, guilt-free snack foods is inexpensive, requires no prep, and is easy to take on the go. So what’s this amazing mystery food?

Almonds!

Whether it’s the slight grumble of your tummy or just because you’re in need of something salty, almonds are a great go-to snack. Unfortunately, our cravings often leave us reaching for the closest bag of potato chips or pretzels, which aren’t exactly helping you achieve your weight loss goals. They’re also not going to fill you up for very long, and you’ll likely end up snacking on something else before the day is through.

Almonds are loaded with healthy fats and protein that will satisfy your hunger pangs, keep you feeling full for hours, and help you scratch that salty craving itch, without undoing all the hard work you’ve been putting into your diet and exercise routine lately.

Pro tip: separate out your servings ahead of time, so you have a pre-portioned snacks ready to go. While almonds are great, it’s easy to overeat any food you’re grabbing straight out of the container. Research has shown that people will eat two to three times more of a food when eating out of the container compared to eating pre-portioned food out of a bowl or ziplock bag.

At the beginning of the week, separate out 5 bags of almonds for yourself and bring one with you each day. You’ll feel better knowing you have a snack at your disposal that you don’t need to feel guilty about digging into.

One ounce is the perfect amount to set aside for a great fat-burning snack that will satisfy your cravings while holding you over until your next real meal.

Is Whey Protein All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Whey Protein Shake

One of the most popular and widely used nutritional supplements on the market is whey protein. But don’t let its popularity fool you. Whey protein has it’s limitations and drawbacks. Let me explain.

Whey protein, both as a standalone supplement and source of protein, has major shortcomings when it comes to protein absorption and insulin management.

Protein Absorption

The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a report in 2006 that found whey protein isolate to absorb into the body at a rate of about 8g/hour. The problem is, the window of opportunity for whey protein to be absorbed during the digestive process is approximately 1.5 hours, so regardless of how much whey protein you consume in your post workout shake, your body will only be able to absorb approximately 12 – 20g of it.

In short, if you drink a whey protein shake with 40g of whey, more than half of that protein is never absorbed by your body (basically, it just gets excreted.) Whey protein simply passes through the system too rapidly to be adequately absorbed at high doses.

Insulin Management

A 2012 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that the specific amino acids in whey protein stimulate beta cells to secrete high levels of insulin. How hight? More than a similar amount of carbohydrate from white bread. Whenever you find a story that is comparing part of your diet to white bread, you know it’s time to pay attention.

Too much insulin reduces your body’s ability to burn fat. so it’s important to choose foods that elicit a lower insulin response when on a weight loss plan. In other words: whey protein is not as good as other, lower insulin producing, forms of protein such as those found in real animals or slower digesting protein blends.

Conclusion

You might be left wondering if it’s possible to get the positive benefits of whey without the downsides of low absorption and high insulin response. The answer is, yes: if you combine whey with other medium-speed and slow-digesting proteins such as milk protein and micellar casein.

Combining you whey with other proteins will reduce the overall insulin response from the whey while ensuring optimal absorption due to their slower digestion rates.

Fighting Belly Fat: Beverages

Spoonful of Sugar
Sugar is often the culprit that makes beverages the enemy of a flat belly.

Many of us struggle with weight loss, particularly when it comes to the tricky belly area.  In his piece, 37 Foods that Fight Belly Fat, fitness professional and Belly Fat Free author Josh Bezoni discusses some of the foods that may help promote fat burning and prevent weight gain.  This series highlights some of the salient points from the 37 Foods report, and this installment deals specifically with the beverages that can both hinder and help fat burning.

Beverages to Avoid

  • Sugary Sports Drinks: This is one category of beverages to generally steer clear of.  These types of drinks can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing because they are often associated with exercise.  Unfortunately, drinking them can undo the progress you might make with your workout because of their high sugar content. If you’re working out, make sure to replace those sports drinks with plenty of water and nutrient-rich foods.
  • Soda: This probably isn’t news to anyone at this point, but most of the most popular sodas contain high levels of high-fructose corn syrup, which is arguably the “worst carb” EVER.
  • Energy Drinks: Energy drinks can be a common pitfall for those trying to burn fat because they can provide an easy jolt of energy for a late-night workout or after a long day of work.  Again, these are often loaded with sugar, and the caffeine content may lead to a “crash” shortly after, leaving you reaching for more sugar for a pick up.

Belly-Flattening Beverages

  • Water: This is an easy one.  No one working on losing weight can go wrong by replacing sugary beverages with pure and clean water.  Athletes will benefit by making sure they are regularly hydrated.  If plain water doesn’t strike your fancy, feel free to add a twist of lime or lemon or a small splash of fruit juice to liven it up.
  • Unsweetened, Caffeine-Free Teas: Naturally flavorful and containing zero calories, herbal teas are a great way to add delicious beverages into your day without bulging your belly.

These are just a few tips on how to choose the best beverages to support your health and body transformation goals.  Check out the full piece for more information on belly-flattening foods, sources, and continued reading.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.