We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for us. What most people don’t know is that there is hidden sugar throughout our diet in many everyday food products. It’s this hidden sugar that’s causing an enormous amount of health problems for people all over the globe.
The WHO advises a daily intake of 25 grams of sugar – approximately 6 teaspoons – but with all the hidden sugars in food and beverages the average human consumes we may be taking in up to ten times more than that daily!
No! I hear you cry, That’s Impossible!
It’s very possible. One can of soda cooldrink contains up to 200 grams of sugar, so drink even a single one of those and you’re already almost ten times over the recommended limit. And then you can start breaking down the amounts of hidden sugars in most foods, especially in low-fat products, and start adding up – you will be shocked!
For instance, did you know that even a sandwich spread like Bovril contains sugar? No? Well, it does and you can see it clearly on the label.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with having a sweet treat from time to time. It’s only a problem when you don’t realize the amount of sugar in your diet because it’s been proven that eating too much sugar leads to obesity and many health problems related to it.
So here are a few tips to help you cut back on sugar in your diet:
Eliminate soda drinks immediately from your diet. Some people drink sodas with every meal and even have a swig first thing in the morning. And many people think diet soda pop is a healthy replacement but it’s not and you should avoid it just as much as the sugary stuff. No one is saying you can’t have a glass of soda now and then, but keep it at a minimum for the sake of your health. Remember that these are empty calories that you quickly dump into your body with every sip.
Read the labels when buying processed foods. The truth is, this is where most of your hidden sugar comes from and there are all kinds of sugar in places that you don’t even expect.
Are you the type of person that loves to put ketchup on everything? You may want to rethink doing that as it is loaded with as much hidden sugar as most kinds of candy. In fact, almost anything made from tomatoes will be loaded with sugar to help offset the sharp taste of the fruit.
Also keep a close watch on your breakfast cereal. Even if it says it’s low-fat it might still contain a similar amount of sugar as the regular versions. Some breakfast cereals have such a high sugar content it simply beggars belief!
Think you’re being good by using that low-fat health-foundation-endorsed salad dressing? Think again; the hidden sugar in most low-fat or light salad dressings may just negate all your hard work at the gym. Rather make your own dressings with Olive Oil and Lemon juice.
When in doubt over whether or not a food product contains hidden sugar – just in case it doesn’t simply state so on the label – look for any words that end in “–ose”. Other names which added sugar is usually hidden under include: corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, cane juice, cane syrup, caramel, and sucrose.
The amount of sugar will usually be displayed under the Carbohydrates heading, and you can work out the percentage easily.
Learn how to cook from scratch. It sounds like a whole lot of work, but ultimately you’ll reap the benefits. You can even get your kids involved and teach them a valuable skill in the process as well as making some wonderful family together-time and also less work for yourself.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners. They sound as though they do a lot of good, but there have been several studies linking the use of saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame K to increased health risks such as weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease.
Lastly, there is the addictive quality of sugar. Researchers have done studies with drug-addicted rats and found that they could become more addicted to sugar, and actually prefer it over other drugs, and suffer withdrawal symptoms when taken off sugar. This is of course has huge implications for humans and daily sugar intake and could also be key to explaining why we simply can’t help ourselves when presented with a sweet treat.
Eliminating or reducing sugar from your diet may turn out to be difficult. It may be challenging and unpleasant. But ultimately it will be immensely rewarding as you start to notice the improvements to your health and overall wellbeing. The most important thing to remember is to always read labels. Try not to buy any processed foods. Get your natural safe sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep it simple and create your dishes with just a handful of ingredients.
Cut back on sugar today and you’ll feel the difference right away. And for more eye-opening revelations about hidden sugar and modern-day human diets, I can recommend that you check out the documentary Fed Up – it will certainly change the way you see things or at least get you thinking about making some changes!