You may think you’re eating healthy and choosing the best possible options — but when it comes to the food industry, you really have to be careful what you choose.
For example, if you’re eating an acai bowl for breakfast, you probably consider it to be a healthy choice. Acai berries are high in antioxidants and fiber, and low in sugar. They’re one of the superfoods. Unfortunately when you buy a ready-made acai bowl, the acai itself it pretty low down on the ingredient list. A regular size averages 67g (67 grams) of sugar and 103g of carbohydrates.
Remember, the daily recommended sugar intake is 24g (or 6 teaspoons) for women and 36g (or 9 teaspoons) for men.
Another example: maybe you choose a healthy smoothie for a quick breakfast or afternoon pick-you-up. Let’s look at an aloha pineapple smoothie made with real fruit. The problem: sherbet is added to the real fruit, making 90g of sugar and 96g of carbohydrate with just 3g of fiber.
That’s around three times your recommended daily sugar intake in just one smoothie.
Let’s look at orange juice. Just a few days ago it was “National Orange Juice Day,” so it’s no wonder we are getting overweight. 16 ounces of orange juice has 40g of sugar and 54g of carbs with only 4g of fiber.
On the other hand, when you eat a whole orange you’re getting 45 calories, 9g sugar and 11g of carbs with 2.3g fiber. Can you see how many oranges you’d have to eat to get the same amount of sugar that you’re getting in just one orange juice?
How about Starbucks green smoothie, with its 52g of sugar and 69g of carbs. One can of a popular soft drink has between 33g and 68g of sugar intake. So you’re getting more sugar in a “healthy” green smoothie than in a can of soda.
No, I am not saying you should drink soft drinks — but if you think you’re choosing a healthy option instead of soda, then maybe think again.
When you drink something like a green smoothie always make sure it’s not made with fruit juice or sherbet. Actually green smoothies, when made right, are a really healthy option to provide your body with lots of veggies.
And when you balance your high carbohydrates with lean protein, such as turkey, grass-fed beef or pinto beans, the protein makes your stomach empty itself slower and this helps manage cravings.
Just make sure you’re aware how much hidden sugar you’re consuming every day.
Nowadays, lots of the places where we eat out have nutrition facts on the menu, so ask them or check online so you can find yourself the healthiest options.
For an afternoon pick-you-up, how about a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or natural plain yogurt. This helps balance your blood sugar and energy levels.
Sugary drinks have a direct link to obesity, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes. In addition, huge amounts of sugar (carbohydrates) will most likely lead you to crave more sugary food during the day, and can produce mood swings, too.
And studies show that if you’re drinking your meal you will feel less satisfied than if you eat a whole meal. Chewing solid food and eating slowly gives your brain the signal “I’ve eaten enough.”
Eating smart will improve your health.
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. Email her at Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com