Sugar After Hours

I mega-apologize for being MIA this past week and a half.  I can officially say I am done with Spring semester and am FINALLY graduating with my degree in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Business.  I am now able to focus 100% on my Nutrition and Dietetics BS.

Anyways, one of my friends requested that  give my opinion on eating sugar later in the day.  First, some facts of sugar:

1.  Sugar can be good and bad

2. Sugar provides your body with instant energy (that’s why sugar crashes happen from too much processed sugars in one sitting)

3. Sugar is a carbohydrate

Because sugar is a carb, it does provide our body with energy. What happens when we don’t have enough time or activities in the day to burn off the carbs by using up the energy?  It turns into fat.  This is why people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a lean build are recommended to avoid eating anything with sugars in the evening.  Unless of course you’re more intense workouts happen at night.  For most people however this is not the case.  When sugars go unused throughout the day your body converts it into stored fat in a process known as lipogenesis. (lipo=fat genesis=origin or formation of something).  If you do choose to eat sugars late at night, ditch the processed sugars (candy bars, juices, granola bars etc.) and go for the real sugars found in fruits (well, you should always go for natural sugars if you have to ear it).  Personally, I prefer berries because they are lower on the Glycemic Index.

I know this post was very short, but I hope this helps clear up any confusion you ever had on why you should avoid sugars later in the day.

Why is proper hydration important?

Far too often have I asked clients what their total water intake is, and the answer is always too little.  Sometimes I have even gotten that people are AFRAID to drink water because they are afraid they will gain the water weight.  Excess water weight usually happens with too much salt in your diet because salt makes you swell up and retain fluid but it does not mean that you should stop drinking water in order to keep the number on the scale from going up.  How much water in a day should somebody aim for?  Water accounts for about 50-60% of our total body weight.  Personally, I usually go off of multiplying your body weight by .5 if you’re sedentary,  by .6 if you’re lightly active, and by .7-.8 if you are very active to ensure you are putting back the liquids your body sweats off. You can always check with you doctor to see if you’re drinking the right amount of water.

Here are 9 simple reasons to make sure you are drinking enough water:

1.  Regulate body fluids.  Your body needs water to aid in digestion, nutrient transport and absorption, as well as body temperature regulation.

2. Appetite Control:  despite what many people think about water making you gain weight it actually helps you control and even lose weight.  Why? Imagine how many calories you would save if you’re day didn’t consist of 8 glasses of juices and sodas, but only of water. You can also find water in the foods you eat. Foods like fruits, veggies and oatmeal look large and are very filling because they contain higher amounts water compared to other foods.  Bigger, healthier foods with less calories and more water still fills you up because they take up the same amount of room in your stomach as lets say a doughnut and a creamy latte.

3. Water gives your muscles energy.  When the cells that make up your muscles are lacking in fluids and electrolytes they shrivel up, which causes muscle fatigue.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking about 17 oz. of water 2 hours before exercise, at the beginning of the exercise and regularly during your workout to ensure proper hydration and replacement of fluids lost in sweat.

4. Radiant skin.  When you’re dehydrated your skin gets very dry and wrinkly.  So proper hydration allows for glowing skin and less wrinkles.

5. Mental Focus.  Dehydration messes with your memory, motor skills, and attention span.  Trust me on this one!  A few weeks ago I misjudged my rehab time after dealing with the stomach flu and I went to workout in the sun.  Long story short as I’m lying on the floor staring at the medics, it was very difficult to mumble the answers to the questions I was being asked (one word answers mind you).  While trying to rehydrate myself, I found myself very unproductive.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch TV.  For those that know me, that is the complete opposite of who I am.

6. Drinking water aids your kidneys in detoxing your body (peeing).  When you’re hydrated, your urine is light and odorless.  On the contrary, the darker and smellier your pee is, the more you need water.

7. Prevents headaches.  Have you noticed that when you go without water for a long time you get a headache? Well, that’s your body’s way of asking for water.  Case studies have found that people who suffer from migraines and drink 2-3 glasses of water within 2 hours of having it, show a decrease in overall tension and pain.

8.  Immune health.  Regular peeing allows your body to get rid of germs and bacteria that may causes viruses like the common cold.

9.  Digestive health.  When you deprive your body of water, the kidneys become forced to take liquid from your poop (gross, i know), which makes it harder for your body to excrete your poop.  Proper hydration allows for your kidneys to receive the water it needs.  It also allows the fiber from your diet to expand inside of your body to help you poop more frequently.  You should be using the restroom at least once a day. Anything else, is considered constipation.

How much water do I drink?  For my weight and activity level I drink a gallon of water a day.  How do I make sure I’m drinking enough water? I have found that water bottles just don’t work for me because by the time I drink them, I forget to refill them or I just get caught up with a million and one things.  So instead, I carry around a gallon.  Yes, It’s annoying but it beats having to waste time refilling water bottles and it allows me to keep track of my daily water consumption.

I posted a picture with a coupon code for gallon gear. It has saved my life.  Not only does it keep my water gallons cold, but when I go to the gym I leave everything in the trunk of my car because theres a space for my wallet, phone, and keys.  It’s genius! I definitely recommend it to athletes or anyone that is serious about their hydration.

Kick your Sweet Cravings to the Curb

First, I would like to apologize for being MIA this past week between presentations, papers, client appointments and birthday madness I neglected to post last week.

This week however, I would like to start off with a blog about curbing your sweet tooth.  Why do we crave sugar in the first place? There are 2 main reasons.  First, sugars are carbohydrates.  Carbs trigger the release of our brains happy chemical, serotonin.  Second, because the taste of sugar actually gives your body a natural high by releasing endorphins.

Now, I have 5 Basic Tricks for curbing that sweet tooth.

1.  Usually, when we are craving sugar, or anything for that matter, it is because there is an imbalance in our diet.  To make things simple, I have attached a cravings chart that tells you you’re craving, what you’re missing, and what you should eat.

2. Instead of going for that chocolate bar or gummy worms, go for fruit.  Yes, fruits have sugars, but they are natural sugars that our bodies are able to better process.

3. Live a little, but not a lot.  Everything in moderation is ok.  If you have a good week, 2 weeks or even a month 1 bad day won’t kill you. When you do give in, try to combine the unhealthy sweet with a healthy one.  For example, a fruit with some nutella.

4.  Have a support system.  Making a LIFESTYLE change (healthy is not a diet, diets are temporary) can be difficult.  It gets a lot easier when you have an accountability partner or group.

5. Don’t skip breakfast.  When you skip breakfast you allow your body to drop in blood sugar levels that make you crave something sweet later on in the day.cravings chart