Saturday, October 29, 2011

10 tablespoons of sugar

I used to be a pop (soda for you Americans) addict. Ever since I was a child I begged my mom to get a bottle of pop with the groceries which I almost single-handedly finished in two days -- when I was 10. Not surprisingly, by the time that I was 13 years old I was a size 14. I thought that it was due to puberty but now that I think about it, I didn't stop drinking pop.

I used to drink pop when I felt sad. I drank it instead of water and I drank it so much that I used to get cravings. I have to admit that I am still fighting it because sometimes water just doesn't do. I need the bubbles and the flavor.

What changed? Four words: 10 tablespoons of sugar (or, 30 teaspoons of sugar). I heard that there were 10 tablespoons of sugar in one can of pop. At first, being a dire pop addict, this didn't bother me until I decided to actually measure that out. No one sits and spoons 10 tablespoons of sugar into their mouth in one sitting but we do drink pop.

But what does 10 tablespoons of sugar look like?

THAT is 10 tablespoons of sugar in a 125 mL jam jar. That is almost 1/4 cup of pure, white sugar in one 355 mL can of pop. I took this picture on May 28, 2011 and I swore that I would never drink pop again. I have to admit that I haven't kept that promise to the best of my abilities but just looking at this picture again gives me motivation to stop for good. Are you going to join me?

Here is my plan for stopping drinking soft drinks forever:

  • Soft drinks rot your teeth and give you more cavities. They also make your teeth softer and dissolve the tooth enamel. You may eventually lose your teeth, need crowns or have pockets.
  • See the Nutrition Diva's podcasts on how sugar affects your body, high fructose corn syrup, and how to reduce your added sugar intake.
  • If you stop drinking pop and you switch to water, you will most likely loose weight without realizing it. Pop or soda has calories, water does not.
  • Soft drinks are empty calories. They add no value to your daily intake. They might not even keep you hydrated.
  • If you switch to water, you will never wake up with dry mouth again. You won't have a burning feeling in the back of your throat either.
  • Pop, especially colas, are acidic and they eat away at your stomach lining. Seriously, I had stomachs for years and it was only after I stopped drinking pop that I realized that it could be the cause. 
  • The sugar intake in pop raises your blood sugar within 40 minutes. If this is all that you drink, you are heading towards diabetes. Seriously, do a blood glucose test if you are concerned about this.
Action Plan:
  • Stop drinking pop for one day and drink water. The first day is the hardest.
  • Drink cold water as it is more refreshing. Don't drink lukewarm water as you will most likely spit it back out.
  • Pick water every time that you are in a restaurant situation with a choice of drinks.
  • If you are absolutely obsessed with pop, try to only drink it one day per week. This could be every Friday or every Monday. Try this for one month. 
  • Add flavoring to water if you need something extra like Crystal Light, or liquid water flavorings. Not too much though, just enough to give it some taste. 
  • Once you are more used to drinking water, try drinking it with a slice of lemon or lime in it. 
  • If you need bubbles, try drinking carbonated mineral water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.  
  • Once you are getting enough water, make sure that you are also getting your milk intake too. 2-3 glasses of milk, 5 of water and you should be good for the day. 
  • Try recording your water intake on a chart or with an iPod app like Lose It!. It keeps you focused.

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