I eat smart. And while I do have a sweet tooth I make up for it by exercising anytime I eat foods high in calories. I do make sure to never overdue it and I have some rules for myself. The opinions in my article are my opinions and while I use facts to stand on, I'm not insisting I know all about the subject or that I am an authority. I'm just a guy taking care of himself with less than 2 percent body fat.
At home YOU must be acutely aware of the size of your portion. If it takes reinvesting in smaller dinner plates, do it. Here is one straight from my home, we have a creed, "We are Hindsley's not heathens." We don't eat out of the bag or box. This serves two purposes in my home. It indoctrinates a level of class with my children and it starts them on portion control. How many times have you eaten your way through a whole bag of chips or some other snack? What woman doesn't eat straight out of the ice-cream bucket? Oh!
Do not let someone serve you large portions, your human nature will overdrive your common sense. You will eat more. As an aside, eating slower will also give you a feeling of fullness faster. No one will listen to me on this, but in my day I've learned it to be true.
You pee them out. If you don't get them organically, through the food you ingest, then don't count on them being absorbed into your system except in trace amounts.
If I did not make it clear in my opening, we eat what is on our plate. The smaller the plate, the smaller the portions. The same goes for portion sizes, I order the baby sized sub, not the medium, never the large. I don't reason to myself, "what I don't eat now I'll eat later because the larger size is a better value." I've never watched the movie Supersize Me but I've still never once supersized a meal. Studies back up this logical stream of thinking. Cornell University has an entire food lab dedicated to understanding and eating better. They offer tips ranging from the shape and size of the glass you use to a free magnetic tip sheet to keep on your fridge. In short, whether it is high calorie or even low calorie foods, less of it is better.
WHAT WE DRINK
One is that I simply don't drink soda. A love of my life for the years that I never knew any better... Soda. I stopped cold turkey one day when I thought about my children and how the empty calories of soda where just impossible to work with when eating right in every other area. Soda of today is primarily HFCS (High fructose corn syrup), a genetically modified food additive. I've written about it before, but the jury is still out on the pros of high-fructose corn syrup and the cons of high-fructose corn syrup. I take a neutral position on high-fructose corn syrup but also err on the side of caution by simply avoiding it as best I can. I only accept it in my yogurt. I'll get to that. But my concern for high-fructose corn syrup in soda was the beginning.
My concern over HFCS spilled over into juices. It became impossible for me to drink juice after soda. I mean, at first I sought refuge in juices but reading the label taught me so much. I became fervently against buying juice with high-fructose corn syrup. And I'm against drinks that claim to be one drink when in fact they are more of another. Look at most healthy juice drinks... they all have more apple juice in them than let's say, guava, grape, peach, pear, plum, pomegranate, you name it. And those drinks are from concentrate. In the end, all you really have is the name. Currently Snapple has made a major change in marketing and features a cane sugar drink once again; free of HFCS and they promote it as such. We as a public have a voice, don't buy HFCS foods and manufacturers will listen.
JUICE CONTENT - WATER CONTENT
My big beef with juice in general is not as much the high-fructose content as it is the actual absence of juice. My concern is the amount of juice in a juice drink or should I say water content?
100% PURE or 100% JUICE = Just what it reads. It is all there. Just juice from that actual fruit.
Juice Blend = Blend of juice with other ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Any Juice with less than 5 percent juice must be labeled as such. Drink, punch, delight, flavored, cocktail, beverage, -ade, sparkler and nectar are all interchangeable and are NOT 100 percent juice.
Juice = 10% to 50% fruit juice
Drink = 5% fruit juice
Punch = 2% fruit juice
Flavored = 1% fruit juice (less than 2%)
Cocktail = 27% fruit juice
Nectar = Contains fruit juice or puree, water and sweetening agents such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Amounts by Brand
Snapple Farms = 100% juice
Squeezit 100 = 100% juice
Florida's Natural Honey Sweetened Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice = 97% juice
Veryfine Juice Ups = 100% juice
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail = 30% juice
ACME (Albertsons) Cranberry Cocktail = 27%
Kool Aid Coolers = 20% juice
Langers Diet Kiwi Strawberry = 15% juice
Langers Kiwi Strawberry Juice Cocktail = 15% juice
Langers Kiwi Rasberry Juice Cocktail = 15% juice
Langers Mongo Mango Juice Cocktail = 10% juice (juice puree)
Tang Juice Beverage = 10% juice
V8 Splash = 25% juice
Fruitopia = 5% juice
Mystic Mango = 3% juice
Tropicana Twister = 3% juice
Veryfine Apple Quenchers = 3% juice
Snapple = 3% juice
Capri Sun = 3% juice
Juice Calories Sugar Vitamin C Calcium
(grams) (%RDA) (%RDA)**
Apple juice 87 22 2.5% 1.5%
Grape juice 116 29 0 2%
Grapefruit juice 70 17 90% 1.7%
Orange juice 78 18 100% 2%
Pineapple juice 104 26 33% 4%
* Based on 3/4 cup serving of unfortified juice
** Recommended Daily Allowance for children ages 4 to 8
Other Important Meanings
100% JUICE BLEND = Two or more juices used, but all juice.
FRESH SQUEEZED JUICE = Unpasteurized squeezed from fresh fruit.
FROM CONCENTRATE = Water was removed from whole juice to make concentrate; water added back to reconstitute to 100% or as is most all cases diluted. Ex. Lemonade.
FRESH FROZEN = Unpasteurized from fruit WITHOUT further processing.
CIDER = unpasteurized
CANNED JUICE = Heated and sealed in cans for shelf life longer than one year.
Eventually the FDA got fed up with this marketing evil and passed a law in 1990 requiring manufacturers to declare not only the total percentage of juice in the product but the actual percentage of each juice NAMED or PICTURED on any multi-juice product. The end result was a rule that they must declare the amount of juice named in a 5 percent range.
What juices are there on the shelves? The ones you will find most affordable and true as a juice are Orange juice and Apple juice. Then you have Tomato and Pineapple, followed by the legions of grape, guava, mango, prune, strawberry, cherry, cranberry, celery, pomegranate and other obscure juices.
While I can't rally against orange juice, it is one of the few juices more readily available at an affordable price in a non-concentrated form. This means actual juice and no water added. Not that water is bad, but when you buy a juice, you want juice. You want what you pay for. Orange and grapefruit juices are dense in nutrients and only orange, grapefruit and pineapple juice provide a natural source of vitamin C, B-1 and B-6.
Why 100 percent juice in the first place? Well, aside from not getting real value for what you pay for (at best 50 percent juice), the advantage in buying juice with the 100 percent pure juice label is you get more potassium. You could make up for what you don't get in a 100 percent pure drink by eating a banana. You don't need 100 percent pure juice to benefit. But you should know that if you are paying $7.00 in 2008 for a quart bottle of pomegranate juice that over 90 percent of what you are drinking is water.
What does "100 percent real juice" mean? Not much. That term on any juice product means the juice it refers to is real. In other words "the apple juice in this product is apple juice, how much of it is apple juice we don't want you to know."
In only one case do I feel any manufacture has any justification in selling a juice product with a greater portion of water; cranberry juice. Undiluted cranberry juice is so acidic it tastes far too tart to enjoy. If you want to know and this was hard to find out, you get about 30 percent cranberry juice in your cranberry juice. This doesn't mean I don't have a problem with cranberry juice manufacturers too. I do, read the label and you'll find there is more apple juice in cranberry juice than cranberries. In fact, while you are in your grocer store isle, read all the juice labels. Most all have more apple juice in them than any other ingredient. We are all drinking flavored apple juice and that includes you ripped off people buying "100 percent juice blends".
WHAT'S MY PREFERRED JUICES?
For most nutrition: OJ, Grapefruit and Pineapple. I don't drink prune juice that that is also one of your best bets for nutrition. The distant seconds are apple and grape juices but I'll pick up Welch's concord over apple juice if given a choice. From there cranberry comes third.
HOW TO READ THE LABEL
This is a steep subject. There are countless articles on knowing what is your food by reading the label, and articles on juice control. It seems once we learn what to look out for and begin looking out for it.. we find something new to look out for. Rule of thumb if you can pronounce it in fewer syllables, and recognize it as natural, look for it at the top of the listed ingredients otherwise it could be there only in trace amounts.
You can't avoid sugars and you can't avoid sodium. What you can do is enjoy these finer things in life with two off setting adjustments. Exercise and water.
You should be exercising regardless. I'll make an old manager of mine the bad guy here... Years ago when I was an eating fool with a metabolism of any twenty-something I could down 10 tacos at the Wendy's all you can eat buffet without an ounce of concern let alone weight gain. It's true. I could eat an entire pizza pie and still maintain a weight of 170 pounds at a height of six foot. I was a dumb ass at times when it came to eating. I stress the words "at times". But one thing was paramount in my life, I was active. I was really active. I ran twice a day and I played in not one but three softball leagues. I played as many as 7 days a week at my busiest. I rode a motorcycle which took more work to ride than sitting in a car. I played in a band and I was just flat out active.
So one day I'm sitting with my manager and he and I are jawing about women. A couple other guys in office saunter in the conference room and we are talking women. We are trading what seems the standard natural selection of women talk by men. Ladies... prepare for this, don't hate men... One guy offers, "If her mother is fat, she will be fat. Always meet her mother after a few dates." He said more but you get the idea. The conversation turns to weight and women and my manager says using his position of authority to really sound like an authority on the subject, "Look, women are in denial. They can try any damn diet they want not a one of them will work without exercise." The conversation rolled back and forth but one thing every one of us agreed upon was what should be obvious to any person reading this, "You can cut calories all you want and short of starving yourself, you won't lose weight without exercise too."
Man or women, we are all in the same predicament. We work all day and if you have children you come home and can't exercise because you have children or live in an apartment or live in a city with no parks or active sports complexes etc... I agree to a point. The answer is play with your children, get a gym membership if your apartment complex doesn't have a work out room or heck... just DVR a work out show and play that same damn one over and over again until you know the routine backwards. Doe a search on county sports leagues, join a ski club but search out activities. Buy a pair of skates, but get out of the house. Excuses don't cut it because that is all they are. Look cold and hard in the mirror and take TINY steps. Don't burn yourself out in a week and in a day because you said, "Lars said exercise and I'm a ball of fire!" Then you are sore, tired and fatigued from too much too soon. Just get rolling and do it a bit at a time.