How Much Of A Problem Are Sugar Sweetened Beverages?

It’s becoming more and more evident that drinking sugar sweetened beverages regularly are tied to increased weight and risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.  But, are they the REAL problem?

Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are any drinks with sugar added into them.  These include soda pop, sweetened iced tea, lemonades, fruit punches, etc.  These drinks are high in calories and taste very sweet.  They contain mostly sugar, and not much else.  

I’ll be honest, I enjoy a sugar sweetened beverage as much as anyone.  They are refreshing, tasty, and are sometimes more appetizing than unsweetened tap water.  I do drink them from time to time.  Like I said in one of my earlier posts, no food is inherently “good” or “bad”. 

So, what’s the catch?  These drinks are packed with sugar and calories.  They do not fill you up as much as normal food, so you drink more.  Here’s the real problem: we drink WAY too many SSBs.

Soda pop was introduced in the 1950s in only 6.5 ounce bottles.  The prevalence of weight gain and diabetes back then were nowhere near where they are today.  Now, we can buy them in 12 ounce cans, big gulps, and 20 ounce, 1 liter, and 2 liter bottles.  Restaurant chains even offer small, medium, large, and extra large drinks.  Even the small drinks are 12-16 ounces of soda pop!  I have met people who drink a 2 liter of soda pop each and every day,

So, what can we do?  I’m not going to tell you to give up these drinks entirely.  Giving up something we like is very difficult.  But, we can definitely cut down on them.  I think these drinks should be reserved to only special occasions.  But, I can’t ask you to do that.  How about switching out a can a day for some water?  That would instantly cut 250 calories from your day.  Remember, small changes make a difference in a year!

As always, trust your gut!

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

To welcome the fall season, I wanted to comment on choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Depending on the time of the year and your location, certain fruits and vegetables are in season more than others.  Us Ohioans like our apples and pumpkins in the fall.  When the weather gets cold, fresh fruits and vegetables sometimes become harder to come by.

Fresh and in season produce are a fantastic option to add to your diet.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are at the most optimal point of ripening to enjoy.  Whole fruits and vegetables are natural and most of the time fat free.  Fresh produce is colorful and crunchy, juicy, and unprocessed.

Sometimes, your favorite fruits and vegetables may not be in season in your area.  There are definitely some healthy options and alternatives to solve this issue. Supermarkets offer an array of produce in different forms.  When fresh produce is not available, look for frozen and canned produce.  

However, you need to be careful about these products.  When choosing canned produce, choose fruit packed with 100% juice instead of syrup.  As with canned veggies, opt for the low sodium, or no salt added varieties.  When choosing frozen fruits and vegetables, choose items that have few ingredients.  Some frozen products may have additional salt and fat in the form of sauces and spices.  Read the ingredients and labels so you know you’re choosing the best products for your body.

As always, trust your gut.

Nutrition on the Go

I’m busy.  Your’e busy.  We’re all busy.  Life is busy.  We sometimes forget in our every day busy lives that healthy nutrition is still important, probably even more so if we’re continuously busy and running around.  We all can say “I don’t have time to eat healthy.”  But, that will not keep us healthy, strong, and focused throughout our busy days.  

So, what’s the solution?  Healthy eating does not have to be 3 large prepared meals a day.  Nor should it be grazing all day without definite meal times.  Healthy nutrition can be found somewhere right in between. Snacks in between meals on the go can allow us to satisfy our hunger without overeating.  If you know you will be stretched for time and unable to prepare meals, planning is key.  

Here are some great quick snack & meal ideas when you’re crunched for time:

  • A whole piece of fruit
  • A sandwich with whole grain bread & lean meat
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Pretzels with peanut butter
  • Tortilla chips & salsa
  • A bagel with low fat cream cheese
  • Granola & milk
  • Greek yogurt with berries

The list can go on and on.  The core idea is that healthy nutrition does not need to take massive amounts of time.  It only means eating the correct portions and minimally processed foods.

As always, trust your gut!

Get Lean with Protein

Meat black background

Protein is essential to your health.  Protein is used in your body to build & repair muscles.  Protein is also essential to create enzymes that carry out your bodies processes.  So, what kinds of foods provide you with protein?  and, how much is enough.

For the most part, animal products contain the most usable and largest amounts of p but in smaller amounts.  Soy, nuts, seeds, and grains contain small to moderate amounts of protein.

When choosing protein sources, make sure it is lean.  What does lean mean?  Lean means that a protein is low in fat.  Some animal foods can be high in fat & protein.  Examples of these include red meat, fried foods, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and luncheon meats, etc.  

Lean meats contain low amounts of fat,  Great lean sources of protein include chicken, fish, pork, and eggs.  When choosing beef, read the label and choose meats that are 97% lean.  This will ensure that the product is low in fat.  To avoid adding fat to a lean meat, I advise you to cook them without fat.  Great cooking techniques include grilling, baking, broiling, and boiling.

So, how much protein do you need? It depends.  The USDA recommends the average person to eat 56g of protein each day.  However, each person is different.  Everyone’s unique protein needs depends on their age, weight, sex, activity, and even muscle mass.  Basically, each person needs about .8-1.2 g of protein /kg of body weight.  The more active you are, the higher your protein needs are.  A serving 3 oz of meat contains 21g of protein on average.  Plan accordingly!

Want to Succeed? Find A Role Model

This past week, I have been thinking alot about the term role model.  A role model can be defined as “a person whose behavior, example, or success, can be emulated by others, especially by younger people” (  Having a role model is essential in reaching your goals and dreams.  

Why is having a role model important? These people that you emulate can be used as examples and inspirations in your own choices and path in life.  They show you the way and give you advice on how to reach those goals.  They prove to you that your goals are real and achievable.  

Who can you claim as a role model?  It can be anyone, anywhere.  It can be a celebrity, or a friend.  It would be anyone you admire and aspire to be like.  

I have several role models.  My dad for one.  He’s my best friend and the man I would like to be one day.  I also admire life coach and CSCS, Chris Powell.  He’s a professional in health, fitness, and nutrition.  And, he inspires and changes his clients every single day.  Although he travels the country and is gone from home for long periods of time, he still finds time to raise and spend time with his family.  I also want to make a shout out to Brian Lebo.  He is a father and a CSCS as well.  He trains student athletes with his own small business.  He has shown me to never give up, even if the situations seem to be against you.    Finally, I would like to mention Susie Akers.  she is an RD?LD at the Metrohealth Hospital System.  She works as a clinical pediatric dietitian and manages a wellness center.  She has taught me that you can create opportunities and connections with just an idea and following through with it.  

So, who are your role models?  Do they inspire you each day to be better?  Do they impact you in a positive or negative way?  Are you a role model to others?  If not now, you will be one day.  make sure you leave a good impression on them!

Eat A Rainbow of Fruits & Vegetables!


So many people struggle with losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.  Why is that?  The truth is, there are so many diet plans and diet advice that eating healthy can be confusing and difficult to navigate.  

Here’s an idea: eat more fruit and vegetables!  The majority of Americans do not eat enough fresh produce to stay healthy & well.  Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with water, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  Since they are low in calories, you can pile on the helpings and still lose weight.  The USDA recommends at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.  I challenge you to eat more than that!

Also, eat a variety of different produce throughout the week.  This will let you gain all the benefits of these healthy plant foods! Try to mix & match different fruits and vegetables to create a rainbow!  Below are some examples;


  1. Tomatoes
  2. Red peppers
  3. Radishes
  4. Apples
  5. Strawberries
  6. Raspberries
  7. Watermelon


  1. Carrots
  2. Oranges
  3. Sweet Potatoes
  4. Orange peppers
  5. Peaches


  1. Lemons
  2. Bananas
  3. Pineapple
  4. Yellow Peppers
  5. Apples


  1. Cucumber
  2. Asparagus
  3. Apples
  4. Pears
  5. Broccoli
  6. Spinach
  7. Kale
  8. Kiwi


  1. Blueberries


  1. Eggplant
  2. Plums
  3. Raisins
  4. Purple Onions

And many more!

The Party Problem

Have you been at a party and eaten too much?  We’ve all been there.  I just did it yesterday at my aunt’s 50th birthday party.  It’s so easy to do.  We are all out of our normal eating routine.  There are so many dishes that are equally delicious.  You’re around people who encourage you to try all the dishes.  Plus, I don’t want to forget to mention how many courses might be served.

Parties can be very fun, but dangerous to your dietary goals.  There are so many temptations at these special events.  And, since it’s a special time, calories don’t count, right?  Not so much.

But, don’t get discouraged about it.  You can still eat healthy and enjoy the party & all its dishes.  I think the best thing you can do is PREPARE.  Before the party, plan your dish (if you’re responsible for one) as a healthy food.  Next, have a plan on how you would “attack” the buffet.  Pick only the foods you know you will like and know are healthy choices.  You don’t have to sample every dish.

Here’s another strategy.  Try to limit each course to 1 plate.  Sample one small plate from the appetizer spread.  Fill your dinner plate only once.  Finally, pick one dessert.  And as always, listen to your hunger cues. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.  Try this next time and see if it works for you!