I recently came across this list of 8 foods with surprisingly hidden, added sugarsand it spurred me to touch on this not-so-sweet subject again. Unnaturally occurring sugars are everywhere these days – even in foods that aren’t sweet (such as Campbell’s tomato soup – which contains 12g-or 3 tsp- per serving). Believe it or not, sugar is even being added to some brandstable salt (in the form of dextrose to act as a stabilizer) which is the last place you’d expect to find it!It’s come to the point where if you eat anything out of a package, you might as well assume it’s going to contain added sugars.
The number one source of calories in America today is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in sodas and at 40g of sugar per can thats more than the total daily amount recommended by the American Medical Association for all sugars consumed. In addition to sodas and juices, HFCS is used to sweeten virtually all processed, packaged foods because its cheaper than sugar.By the way, HFCS isnt the only sugar you need to look out for in processed foods. Sugar comes in many different disguises. Check labels for: sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin, rice syrup, dextrose, honey, agave syrup, maltose, galactose and molasses. Some of these sugar sources do contain small amounts of nutrients, but your body still responds to them the same as it does with all sugars you consume. Some sugars are easy to spot, but some arent. For example a 6-oz of nonfat fruit yogurt contains 32 gm of sugar thats the equivalent of 8 tsps!!!
Fruit naturally contains fructose, but it also is loaded with vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients and fiber that make it a natural choice to satisfy a sweet tooth. If, however, you are diabetic or pre-diabetic or trying to lose weight, watching your sugar consumption from fruit sources is also important. Avoid fruit juices and don’t juice your fruit – better to eat it whole for greater volume and therefore satisfaction. For the same reason, choose fresh fruit over dried, which is an even more concentrated source of sugar and calories.
Not only does eating sugar and simple carbohydrates (white bread, sugar, pasta, pastries, cookies, and candy) in general raise your blood sugar and therefore trigger your body to release insulin and store any excess calories as fat, it incites your appetite for more. So not only are you not satisfied when you consume sugar and simple carbs, you actually end up eating more calories than your appetite originally called for. Furthermore, calories from simple carbs are relatively nutrient-poor so you’re not getting a lot of nutrition for the calories you’re consuming. Eating a lot of sugar and simple carb can also increase inflammation in the body, which is a major marker for heart disease.
In previous posts I’ve discussed ways to reduce your sugar intake. By far the easiest and most obvious way to consume less sugar is to consume fewer packaged, processed foods and beverages. Then you don’t have to even read labels to find out how much you’re ingesting.