July 4th marked not only our Independence, but also – as crazy as it sounds – the International Hot Dog-Eating Contest. This year’s winner, a California man, scarfed down 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. If this record is impressive to you, then you have to know that in a mere 10 minutes, this contestant consumed almost 20,000 calories, more than 1,150 grams of fat, over 400 grams of saturated fat, and 48,300 milligrams of sodium!
Do we even need to tell you what is wrong with this picture?
True, this is an extreme example of a very bad judgment call and most of us will, hopefully, never consume such a whooping amount of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in one sitting. But if you do happen to over-indulge on the typical barbecue fare this summer, you should be exercising to burn off all that weight-piling calories and artery-clogging fat. This may not be the kind of news you want to hear in the middle of the cookout season, but the traditional barbecue foods are not exactly weight and health-friendly, even if you don’t swallow 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Greasy hot dogs and brats, hamburgers on a bun, and mayo-based coleslaw and potato salad add up to a lot of calories and saturated fat. Add a six-pack of beer and/or sugary sodas, and you have a nutritional disaster on your hands. In my neighborhood in Beaufort, I’ve witnessed this first hand – without even mentioning desserts like ice cream, brownies, cookies, or s’mores.
Not only does this kind of food, if consumed regularly over the summer months, pile on pounds, but it can also put you at a higher risk for some serious medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. On top of that, consuming large quantities of processed meats such as hot dogs and brats, has been shown to increase the risk of colon and pancreatic cancer.
So can you still enjoy summer cookouts in Beaufort, or wherever you may be, while protecting your health and weight management?
Definitely! You just have to make smart nutritional choices. And, don’t forget to exercise regularly, so you can burn off all the calories and fat before they do any serious damage. Here are a few suggestions to keep those pounds off:
1. Be a pit master: For a healthier cookout, opt for a skinless chicken breast or lean fish, and grill some vegetables as well.
2. Crunch the numbers: Keep tabs on calories, as well as the fat and sodium content you are consuming.
3. Move it: This part is very important. Even if you eat a reduced calorie, low-fat diet, you need regular exercise – and more so, if you eat a lot of the above-mentioned unhealthy foods.
If you’re not one of our EarthFIT clients, then ask your Beaufort personal trainer or fitness coach which exercises are best at burning off all those extra calories and fat. But be warned that even a great workout may not totally offset poor eating habits, so you really should be careful what you consume this summer.