We all know that sugar is not good for us yet it draws us in wanting more. The white, fluffy powder that we have had in our lives since birth is actually one of the most addictive substances on earth. It is actually a chemical, a refined chemical that has no nutrients even if it is extracted from things like beet and sugar cane. Sugar comes in all forms, shapes and sized and not one that right, not one is better than the other. There are over fifty names for various sugars that we could be exposed to on a daily basis.
Some commonly used sugars are glucose, fructose and sucrose. Glucose occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices. When we eat carbohydrates they are converted into glucose during digestion is the form of sugar that we find in our blood. Fructose is found in fruits, some vegetables, and honey, and we consume it as high-fructose syrup. Sucrose is found in the stems of sugar cane and roots of sugar beet. A couple other sugars that are seen on labels are Maltose and Lactose. Maltose can be found in certain grains, and is less sweet. Lactose is found in milk and other dairy products. Sugars and Syrups that are removed from their original source and added to foods as sweetener and preservatives, include cane juice, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt, agave nectar, and fruit juice concentrate.
Read your Labels
Manufacturers will list ingredients on packages according to the amount that it has the most by weight. This works to their advantage because they will add smaller amounts of various types of sugars so that it will not be listed higher up on the list. Make sure you always look at the overall grams of sugar because some "healthy" protein bars can have up to 25g of sugar per bar.
These are some of the dry sugars that you will find in processed foods that may be added in small amounts.
Cane juice crystals
Dextran, malt powder
Fruit juice concentrate
Organic raw sugar
Evaporated cane juice
Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
Syrups are large quantities of sugar that are made into a thick liquid. Don't be shocked to see maple syrup and honey on the list because although they are thought to be "healthier" it is still a sugar and will cause blood sugar to spike. Products with these sweeteners often feature labels like “contains no refined sugar” or “refined sugar-free.” This simply means that they don’t contain white sugar.
High-fructose corn syrup
Rice bran syrup
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits vegetables, and dairy products contain naturally occurring sugars which will have minimal impact as you are not going to consume an over abundance. Because they are high in fibre, antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins they will reduce the chances of disease which make them a great choice to eat. It will be better for you to reach for a fruit than a can of coke because at least you will get benefits from the vitamins and nutrients. Just be aware that fruits like watermelon and oranges will contain more sugar than others if you are controlling blood sugar.
Foods High in Sugar
Low fat yogurt: sugars are added to yogurt to enhance flavour. Buy plain yogurts and add your owns fruit and flavours to it.
Ketchup: A favourite for many but 1 Tablespoon has 1 teaspoon of sugar. Be mindful of your portions
Fruit juice: packed with sugar and have been said to have nearly as much as a can of soda. You are better off to eat a piece of fruit.
Sports Drinks: are filled with high amounts of sugar so that the body can absorb them quick for energy. A standard 20-ounce (591-mL) bottle of a sports drink will contain 37.9 grams of added sugar and 198 calories. This is equivalent to 9.5 teaspoons of sugar.
Chocolate Milk: There is a lot of added sugar in the store bought brands. An 8-ounce (230-mL) glass of chocolate milk comes with an extra 11.4 grams (2.9 teaspoons) of added sugar
Granola: People love their granola as a healthy breakfast option but the only thing healthy is the oats. Store bought brands contain added sugars and sweeteners. 100 grams of granola can contain 5-7 teaspoons of sugar.
Flavoured Coffee: Coffee houses love making fancy coffees however the hidden sugars very high. Some large coffees can have up to 45g or 11 teaspoons of sugar.
Protein Bars: Thought to be healthy but in all honesty some can be just like eating a candy bar. With 20g or 5 teaspoons of sugar you may want to eat a bowl of plain greek yogurt instead.
Vitamin Water: Stay clear of these sugar filled waters. With 30g of sugar, food colouring and preservatives you should think twice about drinking this to get your vitamins.
Breakfast Cereal: Even the "healthiest" brands contain sugars for sweetener and although it may that high it will still add to your sugar daily intake. Children cereals have loads of sugar with 12 grams, or 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small 34-gram (1.2-ounce) serving.
Canned foods: Be aware of canned foods especially, soups, sauces and baked beans. The amount sugar can be up to 5 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Pre-made smoothies: Stick to making your own and do not pick this up if you are in a pinch. Many are sweetened with syrups, fruit concentrate and other sweeteners. With over 54 grams (13.5 teaspoons) of sugar in a single 16-ounce or 20-ounce serving this does not make for healthy meal replacement.
Being aware of what ingredients are in your foods is so important. Read your labels. Check the amount of sugar and the types of sugar. Added sugars in large amounts can be harmful to your body, and every little bit adds up so be mindful of your daily sugar intake.
The best way to avoid hidden sugars in meals and treats is to make them yourself at home. This is a way that you can control the quantity, and quality of sugar you consume. When you prepare things at home you will be more mindful of what you are fuelling your body with.