Sugar can be very sneaky! Food and drink companies put a ton of sugar in foods you may not even realize such as sauces, dressings, yogurt, even “healthy” cereals and snacks.
Here’s the issue – sugar is addictive. As much as any drug. The more we eat, the more we crave. Eating too much sugar can have a negative effect on weight, blood sugar levels, digestion, hormone balance as well as anxiety and concentration. Research is also showing sugar to be a leading cause of fatty liver which leads to insulin resistance – a precursor to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The less you eat, the less you will crave.
A good way to get your sugar intake in check is to read your food labels and see how much sugar is in them. You may be surprised at the amounts. If the first or second ingredient is sugar it is best left on the shelf. Also watch the serving sizes on the labels – often drinks are labelled as ½ the bottle as a serving so if you drink the whole thing you are getting double the sugar listed.
We are all aware of foods that do have a lot of sugar – chocolate bars, candy, cakes, pop, ice cream, etc. However here are 5 less obvious places sugar could be hiding in your diet…
Yogurt – low fat and fruity yogurts can have up to 15 grams of sugar in one small cup. That much sugar outweighs the gut healthy benefits of yogurt. Check your labels. Full fat and unsweetened are usually a healthier choice. Add your own fruit or cinnamon for extra flavour.
Fruit Juice – yes even some of the “healthy” fresh juices are full of sugar. Fruit naturally contains sugar. When you eat it as a whole, you get the fibre that comes along with it slowing the digestion of sugar and making it better absorbed to use as energy. When you have only the juice you miss out on the healthy fibre and its benefits. Choose drinks that have no sugar as much as possible – water or tea are you best options. Give your water a little flavour with no sugar by trying these Gorgeous Infused Waters.
Coffee Drinks – if your favourite way to enjoy coffee or tea is sweet and creamy you are getting way more sugar than you want or need. The most recent Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks had 59 grams of sugar! That is equivalent to a can and a half of coke. Having your coffee or tea black or with minimal sweetener is your healthiest option.
Bottled Sauces & Salad Dressing - That’s right you may be taking your delicious, fresh, veggies and drowning them in sugar. Check your label and choose one with low sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. Better yet make this quick, easy Healthy Herb Vinaigrette.
Protein and Granola Bars – Protein bars are a big business – some stores have an entire isle dedicated to them. They make an easy ‘to go’ snack and are marketed as a healthy choice but be sure to check the label to see how much sugar there is. Some of them are full of sugar – again the bad outweighing the healthy benefits. Try these simple, no bake Energy Bites instead.
Now, I will be the first to say that I enjoy the occasional sweet vegan cupcake. I’m not pushing you to never again have something sweet that you love. This is an exercise in being mindful about your daily sugar intake and taking simple steps to reduce it so you can feel and look your best!
I would love to hear from you. Have you reduced your sugar intake? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments below.