Hidden Sugars?

Did you set a New Year’s Resolution this year? If so, there is a good chance your resolution may have had something to do with eating healthier. Even if you didn’t, it still might be on your mind.

Taking a Closer Look at Your Sugar Intake

It’s always a good idea to follow the guidelines and recommendations Dr. Bradford normally provides you when it comes to nutrition, but generally speaking, we talk about focusing on low-glycemic index foods that are high in nutrients. We also encourage hydration and eating anti-inflammatory foods that provide ample energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Avoiding sugar-sweetened foods and drinks is in alignment with this approach. The problem is that sometimes, processed hidden sugar can be found in foods we’re eating— like sauces or even salad dressing—and we aren’t aware of it.

When we talk about sugar, we’re referring to sucrose/table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or even honey or fruit sugars. With our desire to find sustainable nutrition habits that we can have for the long-term, many of us want to cut down on our sugar intake—and most notably, that includes white sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages.  Just think: a 20 ounce pop has 16 teaspoons of sugar!

Yes, sugar is in nutrient-rich foods including beets and sweet potatoes, to name just two, but the area where we encourage you to cut back is when sugar has been added to foods during processing.

Keep these four facts in mind:

·      Too much sugar can mean your body is not getting the nutrients it needs. That’s because sugar contains calories that lack nutrient value;

·      When sugar is consumed in large amounts it can result in insulin resistance (1) and it can also result in craving more food;

·      Inflammation in the body occurs with elevated blood sugar levels, and that happens with overconsumption of sugar;

·      Sugar can contribute to fat gain and metabolic issues over time.

“How Do I Even Know What Sugar Is In My Food?”

The term “sugar” refers to different compounds, which is where some of the confusion can sometimes start. We recognize the following as sugars: brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar or confectioner’s sugar. These are more straightforward when it comes to avoiding them because those labels make it clear that they are….well, sugar!

But lately, more attention has come to other forms of sugar that are bit less obvious. Those that have received a bit more attention include sugar labeled as high fructose corn syrup or rice syrup, among other variations. But the list doesn’t stop there.

Many times, a good rule of thumb is that ingredients in your food that end in “-ose” are going to be a form of sugar.  See the list below from the Whole 9 Life’s website on more than ten other names for sugar in your food, including:

·      Dextrose

·      Disaccharide

·      Fructose

·      Glucose

·      Galactose

·      Lactose

·      Maltodextrin

·      Maltose

·      Monosaccharide

·      Polysaccharide

·      Ribose

·      Saccharose

·      Sucrose (2)

(Taken directly from Whole 9 Life.)
 
When you see these on a food label, just know that sugar has in fact been added.

Sugar is Sugar

You don’t have to cut out all (added) sugar from your diet and set yourself up to fail.

If you don’t know where to start, try to cut back on beverages with added sugar. You can also look to control any sugar cravings by eating fruit.

When you have a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, you don’t have to constantly worry about the (added) sugars in your food. Over time, your pallet will also adjust and you won’t need food to be quite so sweet. Ask us for more information so we can help you find a diet with low-glycemic index foods (where your blood sugar levels positively respond after consuming such foods) that can help you naturally avoid many added sugars.

Sources/References

1.     http://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-5 

2. http://whole9life.com/2010/06/sugar-sugar-sugar/