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Entry for March 18, 2008
Can it! Best of the Breads! And...Tips for Treadmill Shoppers!

My relationship with soda ended about 13 years ago when I had an act of teenage defiancy (one of many!) and decided that consuming 3-4 Sprites in one day was probably doing nothing for my "baby fat." So I quit cold turkey, more out of vain than anything else, but I can proudly say I haven't craved or touched the stuff since. Come to find out, the fizzy fluid had been wreaking havoc on my stomach all along because I noticed a huge difference in the way I felt when I stopped drinking it. My stomach stopped aching every evening around 8 pm.

Now, there's all this great debate over diet vs. regular soda and the possible harmful effects of artificial sweeteners (effects which have not been scientifically proven, FYI). Some say diet is better, their approach is based on the popular idea that the sugar in soda lends to our insane obesity rate. You might recall that this same idea is what led schools in L.A., New York City and other major metropolitain cities to ban soda machines from their public schools a few years ago. Others say that if you're going to drink the stuff, have a can of regular to satisfy your taste buds so you won't reach for a second one a few hours later. I have always made my disdain for all things carbonated known and honestly feel that none of it is good for us, but I usually advise that if you're going to drink it then have just one whether it's diet or not. The whole point is not to deny yourself of your favorite things or you won't stick to any healthy lifestyle, right? Well there's some research out there that's seriously swaying my advisory approach! Check it out:

A study in Circulation (medical journal) reports that drinking one or more soft drinks - diet or regular - per day increases your obesity risk. Researchers surveyed 6,000 people about their pop consumption over 4 years. They found that swigging one or more 12-ounce servings of soda - of any kind - per day increased subjects' risk of obesity by 31%. Why? The sweeteners in both diet and regular may spark a taste for additional sweets. Plus, both dark and light-colored drinks contain high levels of caramel, which can create insulin resistance, a condition that increases obesity risk. Until science nails the culprit in the carbonated stuff, stick with water!

There's one food I can get behind and that's whole-wheat bread. I know, I know, everyone's always talking whole-wheat this and whole-grain that these days...so how do you know what bread is giving you more bang per grain? You don't have to chew your way through the bread aisle to figure it out - here are 3 of the best tasting and most nutritional!

1. Sara Lee Soft & Smooth 100% Whole Wheat

If you're not a big whole-wheat fan, this one's for you - it tastes like white bread. The only downside: The slices are small.

Nutrition facts per slice: 70 cals, 3 g protein, 12 g carbs, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 2 g fiber.

2. Nature's Own All Natural 12-Grain

This bread contains 24 grams of whole grain per slice. It's delicious and the slices are huge! The bread is made with flaxseed, sunflower seeds and a little raisin juice, which makes it slightly sweet.

Nutrition facts per slice: 90 cals, 5 g protein, 20 g carbs, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 3 g fiber.

3. Home Pride 100% Whole Wheat

This bread is super-soft and sweet. And not only does it taste great, it has 2 grams of fiber per slice, which isn't bad for bread.

Nutrition facts per slice: 70 cals, 4 g protein, 12 g carbs, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 2 g fiber.

Last but certainly just as important: I read the other day that 31% of poll respondents said that if given the choice of any machine, they would add a treadmill to their home gym. I am among this 31%...treadmill's rock! So how do you go about picking one out and getting your money's worth? Look for the following:

1. A Powerful Motor. It should have at least 2.5 continuous duty horsepower.

2. Plenty of Room to Walk/Run. Lengths can vary a lot. If someone six-foot-two or taller is going to run on the machine, it should be at least 58 inches long. Otherwise, 54 inches is fine.

3. A Mid-Range Price Tag. While cheaper models are tempting, you usually get what you pay for here. Plan on spending between $1000 and $1,300 with an extended warranty. Never purchase before you compare! Go to bizrate.com or shopping.com for brand reviews.

Happy Shopping!
2008-03-18 19:43:18 GMT