Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to SUGAR
It’s a new year! And most of us are making a resolution. If I gave you one guess at what the number one resolution being made by most Canadians, it would be fair to assume you would say weight loss. And most Canadians would be going about it by doing 2 things…decreasing the fat content in their diet and exercising.
But I say (and remember, this is a dentist talking!) we should all be more concerned with the amount of added sugar we’re eating, knowingly or not!
“Processed Sugar Has Zero Nutritional Benefit”
To meet public demand for consuming products that are low in fat content, food companies have been substituting fat content with sugar and salt in order to maintain the appealing taste.
Even with no dental background, most of us know sugar is bad for out teeth and causes cavities. But most of us don’t give much thought about what it’s doing to the rest of our bodies…and it matters.
Give this statement some thought: PROCESSED SUGAR HAS ZERO NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT. Makes you reconsider whether the “high” associated with eating it makes it worth it.
Processed sugars prime our bodies for type 2 diabetes by attacking our pancreas, increases the likelihood of heart disease and contributes to a fatty liver. It makes you feel MORE hungry and fatigued once the initial high has dissipated. Sugar triggers an insulin response…which triggers a dopamine release…the hormone that makes us feel good. So sugar acts exactly like a drug, making us junkies.
Other Health Problems
There are a number of other health problems caused by sugar but that’s beyond the scope of this blog.
The fact is, there’s an alarming amount of sugar added to foods that you don’t associate with sugar. Note we’re not talking about natural sugars like those found in fruits, which have limited nutritional benefits. We’re strictly talking about the amount of sugar added to everyday foods by the food giants to make us buy their products over the competition because it tastes better. Here are a few examples of foods you may buy that you think are healthy but in actuality are loaded with extra sugar:
Packaged soups- ready made soups can have added sugars hiding
Frozen Dinners/Microwavable Lunches
Frozen dinners/microwavable boxed lunches- even the ones meant for people on diets can have more than 20 gm of sugar added to them
Smoothies on the go – buying a smoothie from any well-known chain will have the natural sugars from the fruits that are used and as much added sugar as a pop drink.
Iced coffee drinks
You may as well have 5 doughnuts because the amount of sugar is about equal.
No wonder kids love this on everything…sugar is the number 2 ingredient.
(PS- I bought once the sugar-free ketchup, my kids hated it!)
You are right to feel like you are being cheated. Your food is literally being spiked with sugar. Food manufacturers are required to list ingredients on food labels in order of weight, how much of something is in what you are eating. They are so savvy…in order to avoid listing sugar as the number one ingredient, the food companies break down the sugars into different components — glucose, fructose, cane syrup, agave, corn syrup, honey etc. Buyer beware…
Here are some tips to prevent falling into the sugar trap.
No more ready-to-eat oatmeal and processed cereal. Opt for homemade oatmeal with added fruit, eggs (or any good protein), greek yogurt (no sugar added) or a homemade smoothie.
Smoothie recipe made at the Fruitman home: 1 banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 1 serving vanilla no sugar added greek yogurt (like a single serving package), and a bit of unsweetened almond milk to top it off, depending how thick you like your smoothies. My kids always look forward them!
A great idea to sweeten home made pancakes so you don’t have to add syrup is to mash a banana into the pancake mix…then add a little cinnamon.
Lots of sugar hides in bread. Check the labels and pick one that is whole grain and low in sugar. Salads and proteins are good here. Good carbs are great energy boosters for the rest of the day- like sweet potatoes. Grains are excellent.
Careful with anything ready made! Also, watch the ketchup and sauces used on the proteins we cook as sugar is the main ingredient in most of these.
Homemade soup is hearty and healthy. Experiment here. The art of cooking is largely gone in this busy world of ours but sometimes a little extra time for prep on weekends can make home made meals during the week less cumbersome.
We are very aware and educated of the sugar content in candy and chocolate bars, but there are more processed foods in our supermarkets now more than ever, and believe it or not, a preventable disease like caries (cavities) is on the rise.
For a highly educated generation like ours with all our knowledge of what’s good and bad for us, we think we are eating healthy… and that’s just what the food giants want you to believe!
PS- My husband proof reads all my blogs… he read this one… then checked the label of his go-to favourite protein bar…and said, “Why do you ruin everything?”