Fuel Your Summer! Calories Count? - XO Jacqui

Fuel Your Summer! Calories Count?

A calorie isn't just a number it's a unit of energy used to express the nutritional value of food. (Let's not even get into how heat burns it up - aren't we hot enough already!) Calories have an impact on our weight, up or down, but the type of calories have an impact on how we feel. A big shift in perspective has to take place to remember daily, that it's not just about the calories; it's about where those calories come from. By making a few adjustments to how you eat daily, you can continue to enjoy delicious, satisfying meals and snacks that nourish your body and keep you feeling great by focusing on two elements - low sugar and high protein.

The Importance of Low Sugar

Excessive sugar consumption can lead to various health issues, including weight gain, insulin resistance, and increased risk of chronic diseases. For women, especially as we age, managing blood sugar levels becomes even more critical. Studies have shown that high sugar intake can contribute to weight gain and disrupt metabolic health, leading to a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases .

Reducing sugar intake is not just about cutting out sweets; it's also about being mindful of hidden sugars (like sushi rice and granola). Opting for natural sources of sweetness, like berries, and choosing products with no added sugars can make a significant difference in how you feel.

The Power of Protein

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, especially as we age. It helps repair tissues, supports immune function, and keeps us feeling full longer. Including a good source of protein with every meal and snack can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent the energy crashes that often come with high-sugar diets.

Balancing Calories and Nutrients

While counting calories can be a useful tool for some, it can be a mindset shift to focus on the quality of those calories. A diet high in refined sugars and low in protein can lead to weight gain even if calorie intake is controlled. 

Practical Tips for Low Sugar, High Protein Eating

  1. Start Your Day Right: Begin with a high-protein breakfast like Greek yogurt with berries and a sprinkle of low-sugar granola. This can help keep you full and prevent mid-morning cravings.
  2. Snack Smart: Choose snacks that combine protein and fiber. Nuts, cheese with apple slices, or a protein smoothie are excellent choices.
  3. Mind Your Beverages: Many drinks are high in hidden sugars. Opt for water, herbal teas, or black coffee. If you enjoy alcohol, keep it to a minimum, as it can contribute to increased calorie intake and disrupt blood sugar levels.
  4. Get protein into each meal. Grilled chicken or tofu in salads, beans in soups, and fish with veggies are all balanced, nutritious options.

Understanding the Impact of Sugar and Protein on Aging and Weight

Research has shown that women who manage their sugar intake and maintain a protein-rich diet are better able to manage their weight and overall health as they age. For instance, a study published in the journal Menopause found that higher protein intake was associated with a lower risk of weight gain in postmenopausal women . Additionally, controlling sugar intake can help prevent the development of insulin resistance, a common issue in aging women .

By focusing on the quality of your diet—emphasizing low sugar and high protein—you can support your body's needs, maintain a healthy weight, and enjoy a higher quality of life as you age.

This summer, let's prioritize low sugar and high protein intake to support our health and wellness goals. Remember, it's not just about the calories; it's about where those calories come from and how they impact your body. By making mindful choices, you can enjoy delicious, satisfying meals and snacks that nourish your body and keep you feeling great.

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