Sugar Is Everywhere
Sugar is a carb that is naturally found in many foods, including lactose in milk and fructose in fruit. These sugars aren’t necessarily a big problem for our health; it’s the processed and added sugars that pose the biggest dangers and it’s not always easy to avoid them.
Sugar is in so many foods, many more than we may realize. Soda and other soft drinks are the obvious culprits, with just one can of soda having as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar, but that’s not all we need to watch out for.
Low fat diet meals often contain plenty of sugar to make up for the lower fat content and to stop it from tasting bland. Processed foods in general have added sugar, including canned soups and ready-made sauces and salad dressings. Even bread can be a victim of sugar! This is why checking our food labels is key to ensure our diets aren’t falling victim to added sugar.
What Does Sugar Do To Our Health?
The health problems associated with sugar can go far beyond this. One of the main concerns is focused on high fructose corn syrup. Fructose in fruits isn’t all that bad and this can fool us into thinking that high fructose corn syrup can’t be that dangerous either. In reality, it’s one of the worst types of sugar we can consume. It’s a major ingredient in a lot of foods these days as it’s cheap to produce, so it’s definitely one to watch out for and stay away from as much as we can.
Why is it a problem? Our ancestors didn’t eat fructose other than the amount that was naturally included in fruit and some vegetables. Our livers can metabolize fructose to a large extent but when it reaches the tipping point, it starts turning it into fat instead, and this is where the health problems begin. In the modern world, a lot of us eat more fructose than the body can handle.
Eating too much fructose can inflame our livers and build up fat. It also encourages uric acid to be produced, which raises our blood pressure and even leads to gout. More worryingly, it also affects blood lipids and cholesterol levels, which can lead to cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.
Even fruit juice can contribute to this as it is high in fructose. According to studies, its fructose content can encourage the body to store abdominal fat, especially the type that surrounds organs.
We’re better off choosing whole fruits, rather than fruit juices, as the fructose in these is naturally occurring. We’ll also get more fiber from whole fruits and we’d have to eat an unrealistic amount for their fructose content to become a cause for concern.
Pro Tip: Mix natural sugars with protein to balance blood sugar levels and to stop the sugar being absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly. For example, team a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts or some yogurt. This can also help to curb cravings.
What To Look Out For
Less obvious signs that something contains sugar are syrups such as rice syrup and corn syrup. And then there’s the big one, high fructose corn syrup.
So called sugar free foods generally contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame. Studies have suggested that these don’t do a lot to satisfy sugar cravings and may actually contribute to obesity. There are also concerns that they may pave the way for health problems. You can read more about artificial sweeteners in my recent blog post.
If these type of ingredients are high up on the ingredients list, then we know that there’s a good amount of sugar hiding in the food.
Let's go through our pantries and check our labels. What has hidden sugar in it?
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Reducing Our Sugar Intake Together
There is sugar hiding in our diets in very unexpected places! It can be very tricky to figure out what exactly those places are. The good news is, once you know where to look, it is very easy to minimize your sugar intake! I am here to help you do just that.
I'd love for you to book a free health coaching call. I want to find out what you are struggling with and give you my best tips to start you on a journey toward a lean and healthy body for life.
My clients often tell me after their first week in the Simple Swaps program, their cravings for sweets settle down and they are able to make better food choices naturally. They love the new freedom they find with regards to food!
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