Are any healthy? Miriam is gonna give you the scoop, or should I say pump!?
There’s a lot of information out there about the added sugars in our diets, mainly in the sweet treats we eat. But let’s not forget about the sugar we drink. These days, it’s not just soda – we’re sweetening our coffee & tea, sugaring up our smoothies, and getting our sugar fix from “health drink” sources like Boba, energy drinks & kombucha.
Are we getting ourselves in trouble with our daily vanilla lattes? Cat Kom and Studio SWEAT Dietitian Miriam break it down for all of us AND are giving us some great tips for cutting back.
Did you know that in a medium café mocha with 4 pumps of syrup, you’re getting 360 calories and 30-45 grams of sugar? The recommended daily allowance for added sugar is less than 50 grams. One morning treat, and you’re nearly done with the max sugar you should have for the day and, for some, 360 kCals might be ¼ of the calories your body can have to maintain your current weight. Yikes! It’s important to note that this is about drinks with added sugars, so we’re not talking about a smoothie made with blended whole fruit (although many DO have sugar added, so be sure you know what’s in your smoothies too).
Why is sugar in a drink bad?
- Calories – We talked about this above. There are often tons of empty calories in sugary drinks.
- Fullness Factor – Well, when you drink a sugary drink, you don’t get the full gut satiety (“fullness effect”) that you do when you eat a piece of food with the same sugar count. Guess what happens then? You’ll still be hungry, eat a snack (and maybe it’s also sweet because you’ve primed your taste buds), and now you’re not just over your sugar count, but your calories are taking a hit too.
- Sugar Spikes – In addition to satiety, your insulin levels won’t be loving you either. Too much sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes. Short term, that’s a recipe for sleepiness and even more hunger. Long term, the spikes may lead to diabetes and even put you at higher risk for heart attack or stroke (source: Webmd.com)
Tips to reduce added sugars in drinks, and to satisfy your sweet tooth:
Scale it back. Cat suggests you start by cutting your coffee pumps in half for a couple weeks, and then in half again. Eventually, you’ll find you love the taste of an unsweetened latte. (PS. Fat isn’t public enemy #1, so it’s ok to use milk for your special treat)
Try healthy sugar free substitutes and alternatives. There are some that are a big no-no, but in this article Miriam talks about some of her favorite safe options.
Educate yourself. Chain restaurants are required to post their nutrition info online, so research the sugar content in your favorite drink, and figure out what options there are for healthy alternatives.
Add water. We don’t mean water down your drink. Eating or drinking something sweet triggers our taste buds, and we often crave MORE sugar. So after a sugary food or drink, rinse with a drink of water.
Don’t be afraid of fruit and fruit sugars. When you eat a whole piece of fruit, or a whole piece of fruit blended into a smoothie, you’re getting important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. With whole fruit, you’re also benefiting from the fiber from the pulp and skin of the fruit. (Want more info on eating fruit? Check out this Focus on Food article all about fruit!)
Bottom line: Be sure to watch what you eat and what you drink to be your healthiest self.
And… as Cat says, be mindful of what you put in your pie hole, but also remember that exercise, like diet, is key to your overall health. So, go get yourself a 7 day free trial of the best body-sculpting, fat-torching workouts right here on Studio SWEAT onDemand!