The Coast News Group

Put a lid on canned energy drinks

Day-to-day routines can be so hectic and exhausting, that you’re too tired even to think about what comes after a hard day’s work.
Often you are tempted to pop open a can of energy and hope it helps you get more done throughout the day.
However — as popular as they’ve become — carbonated energy and sports drinks are notoriously full of sugar and caffeine, two unhealthy things that your body doesn’t need.
Your body may crave them if it is used to consuming them, but they do more harm than good to your overall wellbeing.
One survey shows that Americans are gulping down approximately 50 gallons of soft drinks per year, and on average, nearly 20 percent of calories that a person obtains are from beverages.
That’s roughly two 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola per day.
So how bad can a couple cans of pick-me-up be?
Liquid calories
Studies suggest that our brain doesn’t register calories in liquid form as they would with solid food. For example, a 400-calorie glass of orange juice doesn’t register an “I’m full” response from your brain like a 400-calorie hamburger would. In other words, liquids do not satisfy our appetite the same way that solids foods do, and we are left feeling just as hungry as when we first started drinking. Moreover, since most energy and sports drinks are loaded with sugar and lack fiber, your brain has an even harder time registering a sense of satiation.
Children are what they drink
According to David Ludwig, M.D., a Harvard researcher, the odds of a child becoming obese increase by 60 percent with each additional serving of sugar-sweetened drinks they have per day. Yet, children have started drinking soda at a remarkably young age, and typically, consumption increases through young adulthood. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 56 percent of 8-year olds consume soft drinks daily, and a third of teenage boys drink at least three cans of soda per day. On average, adolescents get 11 percent of their daily calories or 15 teaspoons of sugar from soft drinks. Soft drink consumption in males and female teens is two to three times the consumption of milk, which is a much healthier alternative. Unfortunately, while milk consumption continues to decline, carbonated, energy and sports drinks continue to climb.
Portion distortion
One reason for the increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is that the beverage industry has steadily increased its container sizes. In the 1950s, a six-ounce bottle was the standard serving. In the 1980s, bottle size increased to 12 ounces, and now those bottles are being replaced by 20 ounce ones. Most of the drinks purchased today contain two more servings per container, yet most people gulp it down in one sitting.
Tips to drink by
— Save yourself some calories by drinking more spring, filtered or sparkling water. For a twist, add limes, lemons or flavored Stevia, a natural, calorie-free sweetner, to your water. Water is a natural energy booster.
— Look for 100 percent fruit juice rather than flavored drinks that have added sugars. But, be careful of serving sizes. Limit consumption to one or two four-ounce drinks per day.
— Ease yourself down from whole milk to low-fat or fat-free milk.
— Be sure to carefully read labels. Most of the advertising on the front of the package is designed to attract your attention. Check the nutritional fact panel for serving size and ingredients. Most drinks contain two servings or more per bottle and are loaded with refined sugar and artificial flavorings.
— Don’t make assumptions! Bottled tea and coffee drinks are also a hot new trend. While regular tea contains no calories, most bottled teas are loaded with sweeteners and calories. All those popular coffee drinks also hold a bombshell of excessive calories.
— Don’t let the smoothies fool you! Touted as a healthy drink, fruit smoothies pack a powerful calorie punch. Some smoothie drinks can reach levels of 500 calories or more with six to 10 teaspoons of sugar per drink.
— Cocktails and calories can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention. One fruity cocktail can load you up with 500 calories or more. Also, alcohol dehydrates your system causing you to drink more, and if that wasn’t bad enough, we tend to consume more calories when drinking alcohol during a meal.
If the temptation to pick up that energy or soft drink is still strong, there is a new emerging category called “function” drinks that have begun to hit the market. Function drinks are touted to have special capabilities, such as cleansing or calming the body. Most of these drinks are nothing more than glorified sugar drinks. However, there is one company that delivers enough active ingredients in the beverage to make a difference—Function Drinks™. Function Drinks are physician-developed and 100 percent natural. (Please note that some of the drinks are not designed for children because they may contain caffeine).
So take a look at your fridge. And start the process of eliminating those unhealthy drinks and stocking some healthy ones. Your body will thank you.