injury updates, sugar musings

On the injury front – the knee is improving! Slowly but surely, the pain is starting to go away. I think the combination of PT exercises (most of which I found online) and weights to strengthen the quads, hips, glutes and hamstrings as well as Dr. Levine for ART and stim has been really helpful. Along with not dwelling on the fact that I can’t run at the moment, which hasn’t been too hard since I know it’ll be back at some point. I think my job and patient population (maybe I’ll talk about this more another time) has helped me keep things in perspective and remember that this injury is small potatoes in the grand scheme.

Speaking of potatoes and my job (HA!), I run a weight loss class once a week, and we were talking about the top five highest calorie foods/beverages in the American diet. I had the class guess what the items were, and for the most part they were spot on:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Cheeseburgers
  • French fries
  • Pizza
  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)

It’s not really rocket science, right? This stuff, often consumed together and obtained from fast food restaurants, are one of the reasons why two-thirds of the country is overweight or obese. Even so, there’s only one item on the list that I think has no place in the American diet, and that’s soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (unless you’re training for and competing in an endurance event, but that’s for another post!). Unlike pizza or a burger, which can have some decent nutritional profiles if made in a more “healthy” way (whole wheat crust/bun, lean beef or turkey, low fat cheese, vegetables x100, etc.), these drinks are almost 100% full of junk without any useful nutrients.

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Last month was National Nutrition Month, and one of our events at the hospital was to show how much added sugar goes into some popular beverages. We had our table right outside the cafeteria, and a ton of employees and visitors who passed were shocked at the amount of sugar in their favorite drinks. And with all that sugar comes calories – the liquid kind that don’t help to fill us up or add nutrients but do greatly contribute to weight gain. Sometimes, a good visual does what words can’t!

While I’d always say to opt for water as a first beverage choice, a lot of people get bored with that. Flavored seltzers or water with fresh lemon, lime or cucumber are great too! And while the verdict is still out on long-term effects of some artificial sweeteners in diet beverages, sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils (i.e., regular soda) and I’m ok with it in moderation.

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  • Joey

    Blah!! I had a $3 naked drink today:(
    I was in a hurry and didn’t even look. Boo!

  • http://runthelongroad.com/ RunTheLongRoad

    what are your feelings on the naked juices? i know they are high in sugar but i thought it was all from the fruit (and no additional sugars)? uh oh…i kinda like them.

    • MealsforMiles

      Hey Kristy! I think Naked juices could be worse, but they still have a ton of sugar and calories in that little bottle! I actually give them to some of my patients who aren’t eating or need to gain weight sometimes (the protein zone ones). For normal people, I guess half a bottle at a time is ok in moderation, but you’re so much better off just eating some actual fruit for the most part.