What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling?

According to the U.S. Department of Health ".....regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.....and helps to control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints... reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression..." Need we go on? Cycling is also "low-impact" without the joint stress that you get from "ground-pounding" sports and activities. All good reasons to strap-in/clip-on and RYDE!

 

 

Healthy Sweeteners More Bang for Your Caloric Buck

Emily inst
Humans love sugar. We’re hardwired to seek it out and we are gorging ourselves to death. Research indicates sugar may be just as addictive as cocaine.1 According to the World Health Organization, 35% of adults in the US are obese—not just overweight; obese. One in five American children are overweight.

Increasing levels of obesity, an established trend in westernized societies, have spread to the developing world. Today, someone is more likely to die of overeating than under eating.2 The largest contributing factor to our current global obesity epidemic is added sugar, or sugar that is not naturally occurring in foods, which we add to the majority of what we consume.3

Refined sugars offer very little nutritional value for their high calories. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 5 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men, or less than one-half to two-thirds of the sugar in a 12 oz. can of regular soda.4 In addition to the health threats posed by diabetes and obesity, consuming large amounts of sugar can affect your mood, your memory, your ability to learn, even your ability to determine when you’re full.5

The next time you shop for food, take a moment to read the ingredients of an item before you put it in your cart. You may be surprised how much sugar, in many different forms, hides in seemingly innocuous foods like tomato sauce, yogurt, or white wine.6 Sugar permeates our society. It’s in so many processed foods, trying to avoid added sugar may leave you feeling like you’ve got nothing to eat.

The first and most important step on our journey toward healthier eating is to eat more whole, unprocessed foods: functional foods. Another good step would be to reduce the amount of sugar we add to the foods we consume, like when we sweeten coffee, or add sugar to fruit. As you work toward limiting your consumption of added sugar, replace refined sugar with something that will give you the sweetness you crave with more of the nutrition you need. A dizzying array of sugar substitutes on our supermarket shelves promise us that we can have our diet cake and eat it, too, though some options offer higher nutritional value than others:

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that we are comparing the nutrition in the sweeteners listed below to table sugar (sucrose), which has virtually no nutritional value. Overconsuming any food is not healthy, and we do not recommend it. Experts advocate a balanced diet low in added sugar and/or sweeteners as the best approach to promote good health.7

In the following list, GI stands for glycemic index: the amount of glucose a food releases 2-3 hours after consumption. Foods with lower GI ratings are healthier. Foods with higher GI ratings can cause dangerous blood sugar spikes.

  1. Date Sugar

    Made from ground dates, it is the only whole food sugar substitute on the market. Dates are high in potassium and calcium, and offer some antioxidants. 
1 cup = 480 calories, GI: 62

  2. Coconut Sugar

    Derived from the sap of cut flower buds of coconut palms native to southeast Asia. Coconut sugar is similar to brown sugar, with hints of carmel.
1 cup = 720 calories, GI: 35

  3. Raw Honey

    Keep it dark to maximize antioxidants, and make sure it’s unprocessed. Refined honey has been stripped of its nutrients and isn’t much different from sucrose, with a GI of 75 and minimal nutritional value.
1 cup = 960 calories, GI: 30

  4. Blackstrap Molasses

    What remains after the maximum extraction of refined sugar from raw sugar cane. A good source of potassium and vitamin b6, one tablespoon contains up to 20% of your recommended daily dose of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.
1 cup = 960 calories, GI: 55

  5. Lucuma
    
A subtropic fruit native to the Peru with a sweet, creamy taste. Lucuma is low in both acid and sugar, and high in B vitamins, niacin, iron, calcium and phosphorus. 
1 cup = 960 calories, GI: 25

  6. Yacon Syrup

    A dark syrup derived from the Yacon tuber, which is mildly sweet and similar to Jicima. Low calorie with an extremely low GI, yacon contains significant amounts of potassium and antioxidants. The sugars in Yacon tubers promote colon health by feeding “friendly” bacteria that aid digestion and increase the body’s absorption of calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins. 
1 cup = 480 calories, GI: 1

  7. Stevia
    Native to western North America and South American, stevia rebaudiana is cultivated for its sweet leaves. Since it’s 300 times sweeter than sucrose, a little goes a long way. Read product labels carefully. Manufacturers processes stevia differently, and market it under distinctive brand names. Truvia mixes erythritol (a sugar alcohol—may have laxative effects) and stevia. SweetLeaf contains stevia and inulin (a prebiotic fiber good for digestion). 
1 cup = 0 calories, GI: 0

  8. Agave Nectar

    Extracted from the Agave plant, native to Mexico. Unlike honey, clear agave nectar is less processed than darker agave nectar. Quality among manufacturers can vary greatly. 
1 cup = 960 calories, GI: 15-30

  9. Erythritol

    A sugar alcohol rich in antioxidants that is slightly less sweet than sucrose. Unlike other sugar alcohols, Erythritol is less likely to have a laxative effect because it is more completely absorbed by the body during the early stages of digestion.
1 cup = 8 calories, GI: 0

  10. Dried Fruits (unsweetened)

    Cranberries 1 cup = 339 calories, GI: 17

    Apples 1 cup = 209 calories, GI: 29

    Plums 1 cup = 418 calories, GI: 29

    Goji Berries 1 cup = 354 calories, GI: 29

    Apricots 1 cup = 313 calories, GI: 30
    
Raisins 1 cup = 439 calories, GI: 64
    
Figs 1 cup = 496 calories, GI: 61

    Pears 1 cup = 472 calories, GI: 63

Compare to refined sweeteners:

Sucrose (Table Sugar, White Sugar)

1 cup = 720 calories, GI: 80

High Fructose Corn Syrup/Corn Syrup

1 cup = 861 calories, GI: 75-87

Maltodextrin 
1 cup = 382 calories, GI:150

Cited references:
1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/08/30/how-much-sugar-are-americans-eating-infographic/
2. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/
3. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1983542,00.html
4. http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/sugar-vs-sweeteners/
5. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/04/01/what-eating-too-much-sugar-does-to-your-brain/
6. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-03-05/health/sc-health-0303-sugar-20100303_1_sugar-dietary-guidelines-pressure-and-stroke/2
7. http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/nutrition/balanced-diet

 

Additional references:
http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/dphs/nhp/adults/documents/sugar.pdf
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56589
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15287390802328630#.Uh0MG2TTVbs
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/stevia-faq-whats-next-for-the-sugar-substitute
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/are-artificial-sweeteners-safe?page=3
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-artificial-sweeteners?page=2
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1203
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20424821,00.html
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-healthiest-sweetener/
http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2013/03/28/your-guide-to-natural-sweeteners/#
http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_techniques/buyers_guide_to_natural_sweeteners?page=2
http://foodie4healing.blogspot.com/2012/03/healthiest-options-for-sweeteners.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/artificial-sweeteners/MY00073
http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm

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