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You Are What You Drink: Why Be Selective About The Milk You Consume

You Are What You Drink: Why Be Selective About The Milk You Consume

Milk and cereal. Milk and Oreos. And of course — what else are you supposed to drink with your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

There’s nothing wrong with milk, and if you like it, there’s no reason you need to stop drinking it if it doesn’t bother your stomach. You should, however, be mindful when choosing which kind of milk to buy.

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The same way you might glance at the nutrition facts on your favorite brand of cereal before you decide to buy, you should pay attention to what’s printed on the front and back of a milk carton before sliding it into your grocery cart. Why check the facts? We’re glad you asked.

You need to make sure you’re not consuming needless added sugar

Traditional milk, as you know, comes from cows, and goes through some processing before it’s ready for you to drink. One 8 oz. serving of nonfat milk still comes with 12 grams of sugar, which at first glance might throw you off. That seems like a lot of sugar, doesn’t it? It’s important to keep in mind that this sugar in particular is just part of the deal. It’s completely natural, which means our bodies are able to break it down and use it to benefit our health rather than hinder it. It’s good for us.

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This isn’t the case with all milk on grocery store shelves, though. Other kinds of milk, like almond milk, contain added sugars, which our bodies don’t break down and utilize quite as readily. You should consume milk with naturally occurring, rather than added, sugars: check the ingredients list and beware of added sugars’ aliases (usually ending in –ose).

You don’t want to drink your calories if you don’t have to

Have you ever been advised not to drink your calories? You probably think of soda or energy drinks when this piece of dietary wisdom crosses your mind, but milk falls under the same figurative warning as other drinks. You could be consuming more calories by drinking milk than you realize. That 8 oz. glass of milk you can’t get through breakfast without alone contains 80 calories, but let’s be honest: more than likely, you prefer 2% with your cereal, which brings your calorie count up to 120, not counting the rest of your meal.

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If you don’t want to remove milk from your diet completely—and we’re not saying you have to—stick with skim milk, which will give you fewer calories per glass. You’ll get plenty of calcium and other nutrients in that glass, so you probably don’t need much more than that in one sitting.

You can get plenty of protein from solid food instead of milk

Your go-to argument in favor of milk might be its protein content: 8 grams is a decent amount of protein in one serving of a drink, which is one reason milk is more beneficial than harmful.

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If you’re doing it for the protein, though, you should know that there are plenty of foods you can eat that contain just as much protein per serving as, if not more protein per serving than, milk. You should always aim to consume the majority of your nutrients from solid foods, so while there’s nothing wrong with drinking milk, it shouldn’t be your main source of protein throughout your day.

Conclusion

It’s important to pay attention to what you’re putting into your body, both what you’re eating and what you’re drinking. If you want milk to remain part of your balanced diet, choose milk types and brands that are easiest for your body to digest and provide the fewest number of calories per serving. Balance your milk consumption with other protein-rich foods, like lean meat, nuts and eggs. Choose your milk wisely, and enjoy.

Featured photo credit: Mike Mozart via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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