Welcome to a new week. It’s another time to talk about your body and nutrition. Today, we will be talking about sugar. Yes, Sugar.
It will do you good to know that the end product of every food we consume is sugar. Naturally we take in sugar every now and then without even knowing that we are doing that. A lot of adults take in a lot of sugar unknowingly. Some cannot do without sugar; is this good or bad? Let’s find out.
There are two types of sugar in our diets:
- Naturally occurring sugars, and
- Added sugars
Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose), while added sugars include sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugar also include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured.
These foods contain added sugars
- regular soft drinks,
- dairy desserts and milk products including ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and sweetened milk,
- sugars and candy
- desserts such as cakes, cookies, and pies,
- other grain based foods such as cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles
- fruit drinks
Too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Added sugar
- contributes additional calories and zero nutrients to food
- it is high in fructose, which can overload your liver
- it is a leading contributor to obesity in both children and adults
- can cause Insulin Resistance, a stepping stone towards metabolic syndrome and diabetes
It has also been cited for contributing to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Reducing the amount of added sugars we eat cuts calories and can help you improve your heart health and control your weight.
You can cut down on the amount of sugar you take in with the following tips:
1. Cut back on the amount added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount you add by half and continue to reduce it.
- You can buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages instead of soft drinks. Water is always the best choice.
- Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of added sugars. Dairy and fruit products will contain some natural sugars. Added sugars can be identified in the ingredients list.
- Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots) or extracts like almond, vanilla, orange or lemon.
- Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Try non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation. Non-nutritive sweeteners may be a way to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding more calories to your diet. The FDA has determined that non-nutritive sweeteners are safe.
And that’s it. Try to cut back on amount you take in. Your overall health will be improved.
To a healthy you.