CAT | General Health
When it comes to added sugars, sweetened beverages are one of the biggest offenders. Still, Americans today are consuming more sugary soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks than ever before—on average about 2.6 glasses a day.i But as awareness increases about the health risks of a high-sugar diet, some beverage companies are working to significantly reduce their sugar content in the name of public health.
Coca-Cola will soon introduce their green-labeled Coca-Cola Life in the United States as an alternative for cola drinkers. The lower-calorie cola is sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia and will contain a third less sugar and calories than the traditional red can. “We are committed to working with others across society to promote well-being and help address the public health challenge of obesity,” said Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola UK and Ireland.
Another popular soft drink brand, PepsiCo, is also looking for ways to reduce the sugar content in its soft drinks in the name of public health. According to their website, “We removed approximately 370,000 metric tons of added sugar from our total beverage portfolio in North America since 2006.” They have also stepped up their research and technology efforts to work toward developing naturally sourced sweeteners and flavorings, which they say are “…the best paths to a meaningful reduction in added sugars.”
While these are commendable steps being taken by both companies, the reality is that even with lower sugar content, beverages sweetened with sugar—especially added sugars—still miss the mark. There is hope that the new drinks will raise awareness about the extreme sugar consumption in this country, but we still have a long way to go to truly make a difference.
Just recently the World Health Organization (WHO) cut their sugar recommendations in half, saying the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has contributed to a nationwide rise in obesity and obesity-related disease, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. According to WHO officials, our daily sugar intake should amount to only 5 percent of our total calories (about 6 teaspoons for an adult of normal BMI). A single can of soda may contain up to 10 teaspoons of hidden sugar.
Up to 80 percent of your immune system can be found in your gut, which means a properly functioning digestive system is the foundation for optimal health. Still, digestive diseases affect nearly 70 million Americans every year, resulting in more than 20 million hospitalizations and close to 250,000 deaths.i What can we do to change that?
At the heart of a healthy digestive system is a healthy colon (or large intestine). The colon is one of the seven channels of elimination and its primary function is to eliminate unwanted waste from the body. However, an unhealthy or sluggish colon can’t perform at its peak and may allow harmful toxins to build up inside the intestinal lining. This can result in a number of health problems affecting the colon and beyond. Here are 6 ways to love your colon every day:
- Colon hydrotherapy: In order for your digestive system and your whole body to function optimally, toxins that have accumulated must be purged from the system. Natural colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective way to help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.
- Eat fermented foods:Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the colon to support healthy digestive function. In addition, they provide support for the delicate intestinal barrier.
- Eat more fiber:A healthy colon requires bulk to eliminate regularly, and fiber helps provide that bulk. Aim for at least 35 grams a day from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits. If you have trouble getting enough fiber in your diet, try adding a natural flax-based fiber supplement that provides a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Avoid fibers that could be binding, such as psyllium, as they can leave the colon dehydrated.
- Drink plenty of water: Properly hydrating the colon will promote regular peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through the intestines) and help ease elimination. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water each day.
- Get plenty of exercise: Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation and blood flow, which in turn supports the healthy function of your colon and your entire digestive system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
Consider an herbal colon cleanse: A natural colon cleanse formula made with fiber, magnesium hydroxide (to help hydrate the bowel) and herbal ingredients supports the body’s natural cleansing processes and promotes regular, healthy elimination.‡