Every once in a while, I’m challenged to consider how I am taking care of my overall physical health and wellness. I need reminding because in our face-paced culture, it is so easy to skip meals, purchase fast food, give little thought to nutrition, and then end up selecting unhealthy food choices. Take a look at the Sugar Stacks website for how much sugar is in the beverages we consume.
Since I work in a university, I’m astounded by the amount of money that students (and others!) drop in vending machines. Healthy eating is a key to optimal health. Furthermore, healthy lifestyle behaviors contribute to our longevity (no surprise here!).
How can we steward our health in such a way as to honor God through the practices of self-control, wise nutritional choices, and a commitment to steward our bodies for the glory of God? As I’ve mentioned many times, when I’m ninety years old, I do not want someone to have to pull me out of a chair. I can’t imagine you do either.
Examples of our depreciating health, particularly for Americans, continue to proliferate. For example, the detrimental effects of dietary sugar are well known, yet the U.S. is a nation with a dangerously escalating love affair with sugar. A 2009 study by the American Heart Association (AHA), entitled “Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health,” concludes that high intake of dietary sugars is creating a worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Between 2001 and 2004, the average intake of sugars for Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories/daily)! The authors of the 2009 AHA study point out that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets.
The adverse effects on our bodies include metabolic abnormalities, decreased intake of essential nutrients, kidney damage, a continually suppressed immune system, and the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease whereby the body does not produce or properly use insulin in order to properly metabolize sugar. The dangerous result is high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby the body becomes insulin resistant because of the failure of the body to properly use insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 is where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. About 5-10% of Americans have Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is often preventable with proper nutrition and exercise.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 24 million Americans have diabetes, but that number is growing inordinately. A study that came out last Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the cases of diabetes could triple by 2050. And in most of these cases, diabetes can be avoided through a commitment to healthy eating and regular physical exercise.
Consider some alternative and healthier natural sweeteners to refined sugar. These include stevia (a sweetener derived from an herb), honey, raw maple syrup, or a product called sucanat. I’ll share more another time on the adverse effects of artificial sweeteners.
Is there anyone else who might wants to live a healthy life to the glory of God and take the challenge to reduce and curtail their soft drink intake and reduce the amount of sugar in their diet?