There has been a bottle of apple juice sitting unopened in my fridge...

There has been a bottle of apple juice sitting unopened in my fridge for months now.

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I did not buy this bottle of apple juice in fact I never buy apple juice. This bottle came in the goodie bag I was given for being a delegate at some conference I attended. After perusing the March 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , I was compelled to go upstairs and do what I should have done long ago throw this bottle of juice away.

There we're two articles in this issue that discussed the link between weight control and intake of caloric beverages (including things like juice, sweetened coffee or tea, other sugar-sweetened beverages, sports drinks and alcohol).

The first (by Tate DF et al., page 555-563) studied 318 overweight and/or obese individuals who regularly drank more than 280 calories per day from caloric beverages. They we're assigned in a single-blind fashion into one of three groups: 1) a group instructed to replace caloric beverages with water 2) a group instructed to replace caloric beverages with diet beverages and 3) a control group. The results led the authors to conclude: Replacement of caloric beverages with non-caloric beverages resulted in weight loss of 2% to 2.5%. This strategy could have public health significance as a simple, straightforward message.

The other study (by Cassidy BA et al., pages 587-593) was based upon the theory that beverage consumption elicits a weaker energy compensation response than solid foods. The data obtained from these 52 study participants document sensory and cognitive effects of food form on eating behaviour and identify physical and endocrine variables that may account for the low satiety value of beverages. For example, liquids had faster gastric-emptying times than solids and this was significantly associated with increased energy intake later in the day. The authors suggest their findings are consistent with the notion that clear, energy-yielding beverages pose a particular risk for producing positive energy balance in other words, weight gain.

In summary, these two studies provide evidence that drinking your calories can be a dangerous proposition. Indeed, caloric beverage consumption has often been accused as a contributor to the present overweight / obesity epidemic. For an illustration of the ease with which such drinks can affect energy balance in the wrong direction, let's go back to the bottle of apple juice that is, was sitting in my fridge. The 300ml bottle contained 130 calories. I'd say I could down the whole thing in 30 seconds. I'd have to spend more than 10 times that long on a treadmill to burn off an equal number of calories.

But whether or not consuming too many caloric beverages leads to weight gain (which it likely does), we can still undisputedly say that in the grand scheme of things these items just aren't that healthy regardless of how they might affect weight.

The sugar added to coffee or tea is completely devoid of any nutritional value. Most juices (and juice-like drinks which are even worse) usually offer little more than a few cheap vitamins. I should mention that I do see fit to regularly drink 125ml of cranberry juice with supper and once or twice a week drink the same amount of orange juice with breakfast. As for the nutritional value of soft drinks let's just say that if we could eliminate a single food item off the face of the Earth to produce the most impactful benefit to public health, soft drinks would be it!

So the take home message of this blog is clear: avoid drinking too many caloric beverages. If you're thirsty drink water. Funny how the simplest things are often the best.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 08/09/2019


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