Long hot days, outdoor adventures, pool parties and sunbathing create the perfect picture of a sweet Summer. However, there are several ways that too much sweetness, in the form of sugar, can spoil your fun.
Here are a few tips for managing that spoiler while having the best summer ever.
Don’t Let Thirst Drive Sugar Intake
What’s the first drink you think of to quench that Summer thirst? Your body needs plenty of fluids to deal with higher temperatures, but you don’t need the added sugars that are in most of the drinks on the market today. Sugar-sweetened drinks are currently the largest source of calories in the American diet, but calories are not the only problem.
Drinks that can raise your blood sugar:
- Sweet teas and sweetened tea blends
- Frappes, Lattes, Cappuccino, Chai lattes
- Vitamin waters and bottled flavored waters
- Energy drinks & sports drinks
- Cocktails, alcohol, beer, wine
- Juice and lemonade
Sweet drinks can cause cravings for more sugar and carbs when your blood sugar drops. People who drink lots of calories don’t usually eat any less, so quenching thirst with sweet drinks can actually lead to significant weight gain.
In addition to this, the body needs more water to balance and eliminate the excess sugar. One of the signs of high blood sugar is excessive urination because the kidneys will produce more urine in an effort to get rid of sugar. This can become a vicious cycle leading to dehydration. The last thing you want to experience during your blissful summer fun is dehydration.
Dehydration Symptoms and What to Do
Heat exhaustion and dehydration can happen easily during summer months but there is a higher risk when you are consuming a lot of sugar and carbs. Think of the usual Summer picnic spread: hot dogs with all the fixings, hamburgers on a big bun, beer, chips & pretzels, fries, potato salad, corn on the cob, frozen cocktails, peanuts, and maybe a trip to the ice cream shop to finish off the day.
It’s really easy to overload on sugar and carbs while you’re out having a good time. Combine that with too much sun and heat and you have the perfect dehydration storm. Look for these symptoms to deal with dehydration quickly and reduce the risk of serious problems:
- excessive sweating
- muscle cramps
- rapid heartbeat
Drink lots of water and eat a banana because it will replace needed potassium. When you get dehydrated you need to replace both fluid and minerals. Coconut water is better than sports drinks for its high electrolyte content and because your body’s cells can absorb it quickly. Yogurt can be helpful especially when dehydration results in nausea and vomiting.
Heat Impacts Sugar Levels
How the heat affects your blood sugar levels depends on how active you’ve been, what you’ve been eating and drinking, how hot it gets, and how well hydrated you’ve been. The more you sweat the more you need water. If water does not appeal to you try mixing juice with half water or create some fruit infused waters like the ones on our Pinterest page.
Eating more high liquid fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and cucumbers, during the summer months and cutting back on high carb and heavy fatty foods can help to prevent dehydration. Stay energized with good carbs like berries, cantaloupe, citrus, melons, peaches, nectarines, salads, summer squash and many other native Summer foods. These choices will provide better nutrition and reduce your likelihood of putting your body into glycemic overload and heat exhaustion.
Eat well, enjoy the Summer, and stay hydrated! Here’s a healthy menu for your next barbecue:
4 to 6 oz. Red Snapper or Salmon per person (chicken is another good option)
Salad with arugula, spinach, blueberries, cucumbers and walnuts
Grilled eggplant with onions, peppers and summer squash
Watermelon or other fruit