Almost everyone wants to live a healthier lifestyle, but sometimes figuring out what that really means can be tough, and making major change can be intimidating. The truth is that often living a healthier life is not about making massive changes, and even simple changes to your daily routine can pay big dividends in the long run. The SPLENDA LIVING™ Blog is giving real, simple, tangible advice to make living a healthier lifestyle an attainable reality. Check out our latest posts below, including information about healthy eating, exercising, and how SPLENDA® Sweeteners fit in with a healthy eating plan!
I love Halloween. As an “all foods fit” dietitian, a holiday that celebrates all things pumpkin, chocolate and candy is right up my alley. But did you know that Americans consume 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween weekend?! While I believe in enjoying candy in moderation, it’s also important to be mindful of the amount of candy and added sugar you’re consuming – especially on a holiday where the numbers can really add up.
Here’s how it stacks up:
The average trick-or-treater consumes 3 cups of sugar on Halloween night alone! That’s 48 Tablespoons of sugar and 2,322 calories. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar per day – meaning on Halloween, trick-or-treaters eat about 20 times the daily recommended amount! That’s not even counting the days after Halloween! And these trends are not just limited to those going door to door – nearly three-quarters of U.S. households pass out candy, and a majority choose their favorite candies to pass out. Additionally, 81% of parents also admit to eating their children’s candy.
Here’s what you can do:
You’ve heard the message to reduce sugar loud and clear from nutrition experts, including in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And it’s sinking in. You’re trying to reduce the amount of added sugars you eat because you know that’s what is best for your health. At this point you’ve tackled the obvious – cut down on regularly sweetened soft drinks, ate fewer desserts, tried a few no added sugar recipes, and reached into the candy jar at work less often. I’ve assembled a cadre of life hacks here to help you further reduce the amount of added sugars you eat. But first, a few basics.
“Sugar” Really Means What?
When you hear the term “sugar,” you think of the white granular stuff you keep in a canister at home and see in packets when you eat out. That’s just one source of sugar in our diet. The Dietary Guidelines actually use the term “added sugars.” Added sugars are all sources of sugars (note the plural, sugars), that are added to foods by food manufacturers during processing and/or packaging. Some common names of added sugars are: dextrose, sucrose, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweeteners, honey, and molasses.
So your goal is really to reduce added sugars.
At one time or another we’ve all experienced the jaw-dropping discovery that something we believed to be true, isn’t. I still can recall the unsettling moments in my childhood when I found out the truth about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy! If you’ve had similar situations where something that you thought was a fact suddenly became fiction, then you understand the power of myths.
If you’ve had similar situations where something that you thought was a fact suddenly became fiction, then you understand the power of myths.
Myths often begin as a way to explain things we don’t understand. Based on my 30+ years as a consulting dietitian I know that over time myths can become “common knowledge” as more and more people accept and repeat them. Soon, there’s no one left to question whether that information is true or not, and the myth becomes part of our reality.
It’s 2017, and we’re no longer just about calories. Counting calories is out, and counting nutrients is in. For the most part, this is great news because calorie counting can be a bit tedious, can take the joy out of eating and sometimes, ignores actual nutrients in food. But still, calories do matter. At the end of the day, losing or maintaining weight comes down to calories in (what we eat) versus calories out (what we burn).
While there’s no need to meticulously count the calories of everything you eat, it’s still a good idea to have a general idea of what’s in your food, and where the empty calories might be coming from. Empty calories are those that contribute calories but not positive nutrition.
Keep reading to see how you can save plenty of calories that might show up in some unexpected places – and how to easily reduce calories from added sugars by using SPLENDA® Sweeteners.
Online quizzes seem to be all the rage. They range from nonsensical ones (e.g., “What type of animal are you?”) to quizzes that are more serious (“What’s your knowledge of European history?”).
Thus, the time appears to be right to offer up a quick nutrition quiz here at SPLENDA LIVING®. You will not be scored; rather the intent is to improve your knowledge of some tips for a healthy eating plan. So here we go!
Just as you shift your wardrobe from dresses and shorts to cardigans and pants, recipes also go through a transition to the flavors and colors of fall. I always get questions from my clients about what they should be eating in the fall, and especially about how to start preparing for upcoming holidays (I’m looking at you Halloween!). I always reinforce that you’ll be ready for any season, or any occasion for that matter, if you have a healthy relationship with food.
What is a Healthy Relationship with Food?
A healthy relationship with food is different than a healthy diet; it doesn’t refer to what we eat. Rather, it refers to how we eat and more than that, how we think about eating. Food, diet, and our bodies are such personal topics, and often, can be pretty emotional! You might get nervous thinking about the food at a social event or feel like there are foods you “shouldn’t” be eating. You might decide certain foods (or food groups) are “bad,” and eliminate them entirely. Regardless of how the behaviors might present themselves, each of these thoughts can add unnecessary stress, pressure, and negative connotations to something we do every day – eating.
Have you lived this movie time and again?
Over the last two months you’ve enthusiastically taken steps to live a healthier lifestyle or, as you may put it, follow a diet. You’re tackling a host of action steps that might include some of the following:
- diet soda, unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water and no sugar-sweetened beverages
- more vegetables, including salads
- fruit for a snack instead of chips, candy or cookies
- dinner at home more often
- portions of meats and starches to eat just-right portions
- no fried foods, sweets and desserts most of the time
And you’re topping these changes off with a daily walking plan. Your goal is 10,000 steps a day. You start most weekdays with a mile or so alongside your neighbor who’s also trying to trim down.
Until recently your efforts have been paying off! You’ve lost about one pound a week. Great progress!
But, you’ve recently hit a weight loss plateau....
It seems that the topic of sugar consumption continues to make waves in daily conversations. Although the sugar talk has been around for some time now, many people are still unsure of just how much sugar they should consume, or how to enjoy a sweet taste without adding too many calories. And many wonder if they need to be on a “low sugar diet.”
It is common knowledge that an excess intake of sugar may lead to consuming too many calories, which in turn can result in weight-gain, obesity and related chronic illnesses. That said, it is moderation and balance – not some kind of “low sugar diet” – that’s a key part of a healthy lifestyle. However, honestly speaking, it can be challenging for people to resist a sugar craving. For that reason, I want to encourage you to swap some of the sugar you add to foods with a low-calorie sweetener, or try lower-calorie and reduced-sugar foods and beverages instead of full-calorie versions. Here are some easy tips to help you get started.
It’s finally summer! Time for more barbeques, rooftop drinks, and outdoor social events. While all these summer gatherings are supposed to be fun and carefree, sometimes they can become a source of stress when making healthy, balanced choices in choosing food and drinks. It can definitely be a tough balancing act to manage. I always talk with clients about the importance of finding a happy medium – on the one hand, you don’t want to overeat and end up not feeling great, but on the other hand, you also don’t to be sitting alone munching on carrot sticks the whole night. The key is enjoyment without feeling like you have to sacrifice. Here are my favorite healthy eating tips to help you achieve this balance throughout the summer.
Snacks are one of the most frequent topics brought up by my clients. Appropriate snacking in-between meals is important. Many people get hungry at times throughout the day but, when it comes to what to have as a snack they’re at a loss.
A mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack can be important – as ideally it should help sustain energy levels between meals. While cookies or donuts might be appealing during that afternoon slump, they also can do the complete opposite of what we’re hoping for: sugary snacks can make our blood sugar, along with our energy levels, spike and then drop.
What should a healthy snack contain?...