Footloose with Juice – Can You Afford That?

Juice Mon? Yea Mon! Juice, the preferred beverage at every meal in Jamaica, is overt in this colorful display at a local market – juice spills onto the floor in gallon-sized jubs. Cherry, quava, pineapple, orange – you name it, they have it.

Fidgeting, I began to turn down their kind offer of liquid refreshment – to me, it was added unpurposeful calories. Evidence shows that sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, show up at our waistline (as in metabolic syndrome) more readily. Even diet soda contributes to MetS. Juice will too. MetS is being told “you don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease YET.”

To be diagnosed with MetS, you must present with 3 of 5 symptoms:

Blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 mmHg
Fasting blood sugar (glucose) equal to or higher than 100 mg/dL
Large waist circumference: Men – 40 or more inches and for Women – 35 or more inches
Low HDL cholesterol: Men – under 40 mg/dL; Women – under 50 mg/dL
Triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL

Arm exercises work well in preventing MetS. Tightening your belt (biceps) and using tricep control (push yourself away from the table) at meal times is the number 1 prevention tip to eat fewer calories overall. Replace high calorie options with platefuls of veggies, fruit for snack and dessert always, and plenty of whole-grain dishes so the volume of food is high but fat and calories low. Reduce meat, especially high fat meat, and replace it with fatty fish a couple of times a week. Exercise is key – walk the dog – or your spouse – walk anything, just don the Nikes and go. And, ix-nay on the oking-smay. Crush the butt!

As far as juice goes, juice it down…..if you must have a sweet beverage, cut 100% juice drinks with water and limit servings to 8 ounces a day. Peel and eat an orange instead.

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