What Nobody at Snapple, Minute Maid, and Capri Sun Wants You to Know About Fruit Drinks
You know, I’m beginning to think that we are making some real progress when it comes to making healthier choices as a culture. I really do. Maybe it’s just my social circle, but I keep seeing more and more people who are aware of the very real and common problems we are facing health-wise in our society.
Nowadays, people know the truth about trans fats, processed foods, and those despicable energy drinks, among other things. In fact, some people are starting to realize and admit to themselves that there is no single magic bullet that is going to get them healthy, fit, and lean. It takes a lot of work – hard work. And for a lot of people, it takes a new paradigm of how to think about health and fitness, in general. And I think this paradigm shift is slowly happening on a national and even global level.
So, what I’m trying to say is that there’s hope. Maybe it’s a false hope because there is still a lot of nonsense and ignorance around, but I’m starting to see the faintest glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing that’s contributing to this light is that more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of so-called fruit drinks, and I think these beverages serve as a good example of the power that massive advertising budgets can have on the public’s opinion concerning a type of food or drink.
Fortunately, the truth is coming out, and more people are starting to realize that these fruit drinks are not only not healthy, but they are actually unhealthy. That is, not only will you gain almost ZERO benefit from drinking them, you will actually suffer consequences from drinking them. And yet, these drinks are endlessly marketed as “health drinks” everywhere. And if the sheer volume and variety of fruit drinks you can find at any grocery or convenience store is any indication, sales are roaring!
So, in this infographic-inspired article, you’re going to learn about the real dangers of so-called fruit drinks (sodas evil twin) and also a simple system for weaning yourself off of them (or another type of food or beverage that you’d like to cut down on or give up completely – soda, coffee, alcohol, sweets, etc.).
You know, I’ve posted a bunch of these infographics over the years, and they all leave me feeling like the moral of the story is that WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
Seriously, this is some pretty morbid stuff. But all kidding aside, maybe we need a little “shock and awe” to wake us up to the truth. And the truth is that these so-called healthy fruit drinks are not just unhealthy, they’re destructive to human health. Maybe not in an “immediate brain aneurysm” kind of way, but more of an “it’s going to wear you away slowly for the rest of your shortened life” kind of way. That’s what excess sugar intake does to you.
The Dangers of Excess Sugar Intake
Speaking of which, what can sugar do to you? Well, if you want the laundry list, excess sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, heart disease, diabetes, infection, moodiness and depression, hyperactivity, energy spikes and lulls, and even cancer, among other things. And honestly, the more research that comes out on this, the more health problems we’re going to connect to excess sugar consumption.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sugar. Sugar is not the problem. But as the old saying goes, it’s the dose that makes the poison. And if that figure above is true, then as a culture, we are consuming TOXIC amounts of sugar every year – 45 lbs on average in the USA! And according to research done by the American Heart Association between 2001-2004, we’re consuming almost double that amount. How’s that for dramatic journalism? Keep in mind that’s the average. Some people will consume much more than that, and some people will consume much less. That’s kindof how averages are figured out and everything.
So, the moral of the story is that we need to cut way down on our sugar intake, especially processed sugar intake. I wouldn’t worry too much about having an orange with your breakfast, but if you have a tall glass of orange juice every morning (and a muffin and a doughnut and a cinnamon roll and…), then that may not be the best thing for you. You know your habits better than I do. So, you be the judge.
Now, you may not know exactly how much sugar you’re eating every day unless you rigorously measure and record your food intake (that is, ALL of your food intake – you wouldn’t mysteriously forget to log those chocolate chip cookies at the work party, would you?). But you probably do know, in a general sense, whether you’re consuming too much sugar or not.
So, what are we going to do about it?
I know! How about we institute a government program to raise awareness about the dangers of excess sugar consumption? No? Ah, you’re right – that would never work, would it?
Ok ok, how about this? Maybe you and I could set ourselves a simple goal of cutting down on sugar (or alcohol, etc. – whatever your vice is). I mean, this might actually work out great and we wouldn’t even need to raise taxes to get it done!
So, here’s what I’d do…
note: I’ve used this formula many times myself and with my clients, and it works every time if you commit to it.
How to Wean Yourself Off Unhealthy Beverages (or another unhealthy food vice or addiction)
First, identify what you’re going to try and cut down on. Let’s say it’s fruit drinks, for example.
Second, you need to identify, or at least estimate, how many fruit drinks you have on average (e.g. 3/day, 1/day, 3/week) to establish a baseline to work from.
Let’s say that you’ve been drinking three fruit drinks each day, on average. So, what you will implement, effective immediately, is a strict rule that you will not consume more than two fruit drinks per day. Two is your absolute maximum limit. Now, personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to quantify the exact number of ounces to stick to, but try not to drink two 1-gallon bottles of apple juice each day, ok? Keep it simple. Just two fruit drinks.
The idea is that you want to continue to enjoy your fruit juice without feeling deprived. In fact, after a few days of doing this, you’ll probably look forward to drinking them (Great! You’re doing it right.).
Now, after 2-3 weeks or so, whenever you feel ready, you will institute a new rule of only having one fruit drink per day. Again, this is your absolute maximum limit – no exceptions. It’ll be your new norm, and there’s no going back. So, make sure you’re ready before you take the dive.
Tip: only make the switch when you’re at least 90% sure that you’ll be able to stick with it 100% of the time. In other words, you should have almost complete confidence in your ability to succeed in this new stage.
What you’ll find is that the switch is probably much easier to make than you would have originally thought. At this point, you may have to do a little thinking and/or planning ahead if you know you’re going to want your one drink over dinner, or after your workout, etc. But you won’t be over-stretching yourself if you make this transition gradually.
And from there, you just repeat the process until you get to a point where you’re satisfied with your progress and results.
Tip: if you’re giving up a beverage, it’ll make it much easier to stick to this plan if you have a back-up plan in place, too. That is, make sure you have water easily available so that you can reach for it whenever you get thirsty. And one more thing: a slice of lemon, lime, or some mint leaves can help, too.
And that’s all there is to it. Pretty simple, right?
I’ve found that weaning yourself off of something is much more effective than trying to go cold turkey. Though, that does work sometimes, too. You just have to be ready and know if your heart that you’re ready. But the gradual weaning process is straightforward, foolproof, and it works every time if you stick with it.
And the truth is, you can use this strategy to wean yourself off from pretty much anything: food, drinks, another addiction, negative thinking, anything. So, go forth and wean. And share this post if you know someone who drinks those borderline-toxic fruit juices.
If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and tweeps:
CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach