El café, lo bueno y lo malo

Por JOANNA RENTERÍA
EL NUEVO SOL

Starbucks EspressoEsta mañana, mientras esperaba mi cafecito (el cual acostumbro tomar a diario) en la cafetería de la Universidad Estatal de Northridge, “Freudian sip”, me puse a pensar en algunas cosas.

Primeramente, me sorprendió ver la cantidad de estudiantes que iniciaban su día con una taza de café. ¡Si yo pensé que era una de las pocas personas adictas a la cafeína! Mas de veinte personas esperaban su turno para ordenar, y alrededor de diez personas esperaban ansiosamente por su café. Mientras llegaba mi turno, escuche algunas de las ordenes de los demás, “un americano chico por favor”, “caramel macchiato”, “vanila latte”.

Entonces, comencé mis investigaciones. ¿Que es el efecto de la cafeína? ¿Cuantas tasas de café son recomendadas? ¿Y claro, cuales son las bebidas preparadas más saludables y cuales son las que nos causan el más daño?

Esto es lo que encontré:

El café tiene efectos tanto negativos como positivos para el cuerpo y para la salud. Los efectos que pueden ser considerados positivos están relacionados con “Parkinson’s disease” o “La enfermedad de Parkinson”, “Gallstones” o “Cálculos biliares”, con la interpretación mental, el humor, el físico, dolor de cabeza, y con la salud del corazón, entre otros.

Efectos negativos incluyen, osteoporosis, diabetes, pérdida de sueño, fertilidad y aborto espontáneo.

Aun así, nutriologos o médicos tienen sus propias opiniones sobre el consumo del café. Unos aseguran que una taza de café al día es bueno para el metabolismo y para la perdida de peso, mientras otros opinan todo lo contrario.

Café de "Dairy Queen"

Finalmente, me encontré con un articulo publicado en Yahoo! Health que presenta las seis bebidas cafeinadas menos saludables.

1.     “Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino with Whole Milk and Whipped Cream” (venti)
520 calories
23 g fat (14 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
350 mg sodium
68 g sugars.

2.     “Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Gingerbread Latte” (large)
450 calories
12 g fat (7 g saturated)
290 mg sodium
68 g sugars

3.     “McDonalds Caramel Latte with Whole Milk” (large)
330 calories
9 g fat (5 g saturated)
210 mg sodium
51 g sugars

4.     “Cosi Double Oh! Arctic Mocha” (12 oz)
434 calories
22 g fat (13 g saturated)
241 mg sodium
46 g sugars

5.     “Starbucks White Hot Chocolate with Whole Milk and Whipped Cream” (venti)
640 calories
28 g fat (19 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
330 mg sodium
60 g sugars

6.     Cold Stone Creamery Lotta Caramel Latte, Gotta Have It Size
1,790 calories
99 g fat (62 g saturated, 2.5 g trans)
175 g sugars

El CDC, o el Centro para el control y la prevención de enfermedades, recomienda que uno elija las opciones mas saludables al tomarse su café, con poca azúcar y menos calorías. Las recomendaciones son las siguientes:

  • En vez de tomarse el café con leche entera, el CDC recomienda que uno elija leche desnatada o leche baja en grasa.
  • Ordenar el tamaño mas pequeño.
  • Evitar los sabores extras, tal como el jarabe de vainilla o avellana, que están llenos de azúcar y además le agregan bastantes calorías a tu bebida.
  • Olvídate de la crema batida. Esto tambien contiene calorías y gordura.
  • Regresa a lo básico. Ordena un café con leche desnatada, agrégale poca azúcar o simplemente, tómate un café oscuro.

Obviamente todas las preguntas que tenia sobre el consumo de café no fueron contestadas al cien por ciento. Pero de algo si estoy segura, todo es mejor con moderación. Aunque aun sigo adicta a la cafeína, estaré segura de evitar pasarme de dos tazas al día y evitare las bebidas llenas de azúcar y  extra calorías tales como el “Frappuccino” o el “Mocha de chocolate”.

¡Un café chico y oscuro para mi por favor!

From fad diets to self-acceptance

It seems like every day there’s a new miracle diet being promoted. I used to jump on every bandwagon. If you told me I would lose weight, I would be totally willing to eat nothing but grapefruits, or cut out all carbohydrates and exist on egg whites alone (the vegetarian version of the Atkin’s diet). And the funny thing is, I have never really been overweight! But I am the product of a fat-phobic society. And to further enhance the struggle that is created by our society’s negative attitude towards being overweight, advertisers also send us the opposing message, encouraging overindulgence and marketing junk food.

As I got older, I found that fad diets are generally unnatural and unhealthy, and I couldn’t keep up the extreme habits up for very long. So, I devoted a lot of my spare time to learning about health and fitness, and what a healthy body needs to actively do, consume, and avoid in order to stay healthy.

One of the areas which I have struggled with for years is battling my own natural inclination to skip breakfast, have a light lunch, and eat most of my food at night. Despite all of the expert opinions out there that recommend a big breakfast and a small dinner, I could never get the hang of it. I’d feel sleepy after a big breakfast, and hungry if I didn’t have a big dinner.

So of course, ever searching for knowledge to fix any dilemma, I diagnosed myself with NES (night-eating syndrome). I decided I must have a problem because my natural inclinations were not “normal” according to health experts. I would beat myself up and try to correct my behavior, to no avail.

Recently, I read about a new trend, the “Warrior Diet”. This diet, marketed by former Isreali Defense Force member Ori Hofmekler, suggests that according to the human circadian cycle, eating little by day and ending with a large meal is actually the natural way for a human to stay fit and healthy. This “fad diet” describes my natural tendencies completely! Immediately I came to a realization about self acceptance. What’s right for others will not always be right for me, and vice-versa. I don’t think “fad” diets are begun as scams, but instead are one person’s idea that just doesn’t work for everyone. I think we all would be well advised to trust ourselves, stop criticizing ourselves for not fitting a particular mold, and design our diets as well as our lives in a manner that is true for us as individuals.

Soda Machines Fight Obesity AND Government Over-regulation

News media outlets and comedians alike had a field day following the proposal and passage of a mandate in New York which put a cap on the serving size of sodas and sugary drinks that could be sold in restaurants and movie theaters. While many argue that this government regulation is overly parental, if not unconstitutional, we cannot argue that the rise of obesity and the threat to health and quality of life is a real and pressing issues in U.S. Society.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also includes a mandate about required nutritional content labeling for all foods in chain restaurants and franchises with more than 20 outlets, and politicians nationwide are pushing for a so called “sin” tax on empty calorie products like sodas.

In response to all the commotion, Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have announced that they will producing new vending machines which make calorie content available on the button for each drink. The machine  will also have more diet and low cal beverages, as well as offer smaller serving sizes. These new machines will appear first in Chicago and San Antonio before being rolled out nationwide. Some people are mocking the, again, parental nature of the machines; rumor has it that a “bad” selection will trigger the machine to question the consumer and suggest a healthier option! However, I think that the problem of obesity is real, and it’s better that the producers of junk food make such changes than the government overstep its bounds and try to control how people eat.

As much as I promote healthy eating in my own lie and encourage others to consider what they are putting in their bodies, I am wholeheartedly against the government telling someone they cannot order a certain serving size. It just goes against the “pursuit of happiness” that lies at the heart of our constitution. Part of what makes the United States so outstanding is our right to personal choice; we can mess up our lives and make all the bad choices we want in pursuit of our pleasures, as long as it does not infringe on any one else’s rights.

By taking an active roll in the fight against obesity and informing consumers, these soda giants are avoiding government over-regulation, and actually empowering consumers with knowledge about the choices that they have the right to make.

So, drink up!

Another Day, Another Scary Study About America’s Weight Problem

A “healthy” portion of America is obese now. But how will we as a country look in less than 20 years? According to a new study released by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it’s not going to be pretty.

According to the report, appropriately titled F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America‘s Future 2012,  more than half of the adults in 39 states could be not just overweight but obese by 2030. Colorado would remain the leanest state in the union, but about 44.8 percent of its adults would be obese in 18 years, which would be a rise of 23 percentage points from its obesity rate in 2011.

How will this effect Americans physically? A couple of highlights:

  • According to the report, if states’ obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 fold between 2010 and 2020 — and then double again by 2030.
  • Obesity could contribute to more than five million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades.

In California specifically, the percentage of obese adults could double — from 23.8 percent to 46.6 percent — between 2011 to 2030.

And this post doesn’t even include the projected increase of health care costs. Again, read the entire report; it’s startling.

It’s a disturbing projection that hopefully we won’t have to face, but everyone is going to have to do their part to take care of their own body. It’s going to take effort — a lot of effort — but when you consider the consequences, you have to know that all of the work is going to be worth it.

Year 2030 is not too far away.

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