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Sean McCawley

Sean McCawley 

Living a healthful, happy and disease-free quality of life requires a balanced understanding of food choices. During our nutritional consultations with our personal training and lifetime fitness coaching clients, a common deterrent to achieving weight loss goals is eating too much sugar every day.

One of the biggest the threats of too much sugar is the grazing of sugar treats, sugar coffee, and sodas throughout the day. At the office, it’s common to have small candy treats posted at a desk or around the office. Before you know it, you’ve consumed three to six candies throughout the day, which can be the equivalent to a half, or even a full, Snickers bar.

Sodas are loaded with empty calories, leading to an insulin spike and excess fat storage. The tastiness of sugary beverages can lead to addictive and habit-forming tendencies, contributing to the tendency to devote a certain time of your day to order a Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks 30 minutes before your work day or during work breaks.

Something easily overlooked is a soda at lunch. When you are going out for lunch, it’s easy to get a soda added to your meal. In fact, at sandwich shops and other chain restaurants, they even add that as a package deal to your purchase. The soda fountain machine is even freely available for customers to get as many refills as they want, making it possible to double your soda consumption, or even triple it, through out the week.

A common blip in the radar we find when coaching our clients to refine their dietary habits is the ritualized stop by drive-through coffee stands to order a latte, mocha, or blended coffee milk shake before heading into work.

What gets ordered? Lattes, Mochas or coffee milkshakes (Starbucks call them Frappuccinos).

During work breaks, it’s easy to walk to a coffee shop nearby and order another leading to drinking one or two of these sugary coffee beverages a day. These are loaded with calories from processed sugars and fats.

In addition, you have the option of adding whipped cream, caramel, or chocolate syrup on top, further concentrating the amount of sugar and fat content to your coffee drink.

We enter a dual threat of increasing insulin and putting an over-abundance of sugar into our bodies. Processed sugar in the syrups and whipped cream wreak havoc on the metabolism. The addition of milk causes inflammatory responses in the body while supercharging the insulin releasing reactions of shuttling sugar to the fat cells in the body, causing fat cells to swell up in size. These beverages are an unhealthy threat to the body not only because of their ingredients, but also the portion sizes ranging from 16- to 32-ounce containers, which can equate to a liter of sugar, fattening fluid.

Teaching awareness of how many drinks are consumed is a primary tactic we use to create healthy revisions to a diet. We literally lay out the amount of sugary drinks that are consumed per week. After we have clarified the truth of sugary drink consumption, we ask the question, “What can we do help this?”

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A common answer is, “Stop drinking Starbucks” or “Not drink as many of them.”

While we would prefer the first answer, the second one is more realistic. Perhaps we could benefit from the 12-ounce size as opposed to a 16-ounce or more size beverage. Instead of having a whole milk beverage, maybe it would be a good idea to try non-dairy options such as almond milk lattes or cold brew coffee using a dash of cream added to it yourself.

A powerful lesson we offer our clients when discussing these issues is to be aware. As lifetime fitness coaches, we cannot be at your side the entire day, but we can influence mindfulness of the foods going into the body.

It’s important to understand that with the above listed possibilities of consuming readily available foods with additional processed sugar added to them, we can drink a total of 10 Starbucks sugar bomb drinks, 15 cans of soda, and a couple bars of chocolate throughout the week. The truth hurts, but put those items in front of you and you will be convinced on how the overabundance of these commonly consumed foods has influenced the overweight epidemic in our culture.

Let’s be aware of how much sugar we have each week. Once we come to the truth of this, we can make progress in tactics to support our lifetime fitness goals and decrease the amount of additional sugar consumed.

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