According to statistics provided by the CDC, about 13.7 million adolescents in America suffer from obesity. Misconceptions about Nutrition Facts and unfamiliar ingredients supplement the national phenomenon.
With Halloween supplying trick-or-treaters with substantial amounts of sweet treats, it is important to understand how food affects the body before continuing to indulge in Halloween candy. Added artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar levels in the body. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, gives the body energy from the food that has been consumed. Overindulgence of glucose can lead to weight gain and numerous diseases.
When looking at nutrition labels, the most important part is the ingredients. Full-fat dairy may not sound appealing, however, low-fat or sugar free products often have added ingredients. Even if the label says it is “sugar free” there is a greater chance for hidden ingredients worse for you than regular sugars.
The artificially produced sugar alcohol, Maltitol, has been proven to cause gastrointestinal issues as well as raising blood sugar higher than cane sugars. Sugars that have been turned into syrups or evaporated substitutes also raise the blood sugar making it easier to gain fat mass and lose muscle mass.
A healthier alternative to added sugars such as Maltitol and more commonly known Splenda would be Stevia. Derived from plants, Stevia is a completely natural sugar substitute that doesn’t raise blood sugar or add calories to the day.
Fats located on the nutrition facts label have different uses. Saturated fats, which should be eaten through options like coconut and MCT oils, have been linked to lowering risk of heart disease even though this type of fat has been portrayed as a villain by doctors for many years.
MedicenePlus.gov administered research to suggest that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats reduce heart disease due to the Omega 3 fats in the polyunsaturated fats. Healthy sources for these fats include avocado and olive oil.
Urban Remedy conducted research to support that trans fats, however, truly are the bad guy. Derived mostly from “partially hydrogenated oils,” these fats have proven to contain cancer causing ingredients and weight gain. Mostly from corn and soy, trans fats can have pesticides in it which leads to issues with the intestines.
A certain amount of calories is needed a day depending on height, weight, and activity levels of the person. Typically, according to EatRight.org, teenage girls need a minimum of 1,800 while teenage boys need a minimum of 2,000. However, it isn’t exactly how often you eat but what you eat.
A balanced diet should include unrefined carbohydrates that come from whole grains, proteins, fats, fruits, and vegetables. All of which should be eaten in moderation due to caloric intake and glycemic index.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body, but should be eaten in moderation due to the fact they raise the glycemic load. Fats should be consumed through nuts and fatty fish rather than red meats. Vegetables such as leafy greens provide soluble fiber and nutrients while staying low in calories so larger amounts can be consumed.
Proteins are derived from meats, eggs, nuts, and full-fat dairy products. While fruits are high in soluble fibers and a part of a balanced diet, they should also be watched by the consumer due to sugar levels. The best sources for nutrients from fruits are berries as they are also high in antioxidants.
However, there is more to a healthier lifestyle than eating better. Exercise is a vital component to greater health. It is recommended that the average person get at least 30 minutes a day, whether it’s cardio or weight training.
To lose or maintain weight, one needs to burn more calories than have been taken in. One may infer it means to go to the gym and working out until 2,000 calories have been burned. Going to school, doing homework, even sleep burns calories. To burn one pound of fat one must burn 3500 calories more than consumed.
There are two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the pinchable fat just below the skin while visceral fat surrounds the organs. Visceral fat has been linked to causing diseases such as heart disease.
Cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, and the elliptical have been proven by physicians to improve heart health and lower the body fat percentage. If one is trying to achieve abs, they will have to lose the fat surrounding the muscles before sit ups make them apparent. Cardio builds endurance which allows for better athletic performance in sports.
Combining about 70% healthy eating and 30% exercise could improve one’s lifestyle remarkably, ultimately atributting to a longer life span. Attention span and mood have also been affected by making healthier choices allowing better focus and happier days.
READ MORE FROM THE BOBCAT TIMES