Week of February 20, 2011

Last Week

Valentine’s Day kicked off the 100 Day Challenge for several athletes.  They’re exercising hard, following Megan’s (the nutritionist) advice and already seeing results in the first week. The participants received locally grown carrots from Sweet Clover Market, and socks and a coupon from Fleet Feet.  In a few Mondays, we’ll have a visitor after boot camp.  The owner of the Busy Chef will bring a few of her dishes for us to taste.  We’ll talk about meal preparation, cooking without salt and cooking with herbs and whole foods.

Benchmarks were recorded last week for sit-ups and push-ups.  We’ll do the 2-minute squat drill this week.

Sunday Fun-Run

Today we did a 30 minute fun-run on River Road (the Egg Run route).  We’ll have a Sunday fun-run/walk every Sunday until the end of the Challenge.  However, you don’t have to be a part of the Challenge to join us.  Today we had 8 people and 3 of them were in the Challenge.  It’s only 30 minutes . . . it goes quick.  Just remember to dress in layers, cover your ears, and wear gloves.

Artificial Sweeteners

Last week we talked about the EVIL sugar.  This week, here’s some information on artificial sweeteners from the website Natural Path (http://www.the-natural-path.com/artificial-sweeteners.html):

Artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners, in some form, are the most common food additives. There are different types of sweeteners, each with different beneficial or detrimental effects to your health. All sugars, even natural ones, are simple carbohydrates, and thus affect your blood sugar levels quickly. Rapid fluctuations to your blood sugar can weaken your immune system and cause stress on your pancreas – which tries to keep your blood sugar at a constant level. Sugars also have a tendency to leach essential vitamins and minerals from your body. As a consequence, sugar not only contributes to health problems, but also reduces your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Therefore, all sweeteners, even natural ones, should be used sparingly.

Natural sweeteners, such as honey or unrefined maple syrup, are generally the least detrimental to your health. They are less processed, and therefore contain more vitamins and minerals. Refined sugars such as sucrose (white table sugar) provide little nutritional value. Artificial sweeteners are the worst for your system. The reason they claim to have no calories is that your body does not process them properly. However, byproducts of the body’s attempt to process them can be harmful. Aspartame has been reported to cause blackouts, while saccharin was linked to cancer.

Summary List of Sweeteners

Natural Minimally Refined Sweeteners (the best for you)

  • Stevia – an herbal sugar substitute that is extremely sweet tasting, but has no calories and does not effect blood sugar levels
  • Fruit juice
  • Unrefined maple syrup
  • Raw honey
  • Date sugar
  • Molasses (blackstrap or barbados)
  • Sucanat
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Barley malt

Refined Sweeteners (second best)

  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Refined maple syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Processed honey
  • Maltodextrin

Artificial Sweeteners (avoid!)

  • Aspartame (a.k.a. NutraSweet)
  • Saccharin
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
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