Sugar is the real culprit
I remember growing up and all the hype around eating fat, any fat. If body fat was your problem, then low-fat was the answer. We have been led to believe that saturated fat is the main cause of heart disease. Low-fat became the craze of the day. Fat was removed and sugar added to keep the flavor of all our favorite foods. However new studies have revealed that saturated fat is far less harmful than sugar. It’s no surprise that chocolates, fizzy drinks, your favorite Starbucks coffee, all the cakes, muffins, and cookies are loaded with added sugar. But there are other culprits that you might not associate with added sugar.
These culprits are the foods packed with large amounts of hidden sugar.
Food manufacturing companies have become wise about the outcry of added sugar by health practitioners. With clever marketing, they have started to disguise the sugar in their products so that you, the consumer, has no idea how much sugar you are really eating.
Sugar is added to foods to enhance the taste, especially in reduced-fat foods. Without the increase in sugar, you wouldn’t eat the bland low-fat wonders. What does this mean for you? Foods you may believe to be healthy because they are labeled low fat, are actually worse for you. They are loaded with added sugar – which keeps you hooked and going back for more. Sugar is a sneaky little drug.
Researchers have proved that sugar is instrumental in the worldwide rise of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Some foods with added sugar you need to know about
We all have favorite things we eat that taste so yummy, and we may not realize are rich in hidden added sugar.
Here are just a few of them:
- Most low-fat items, including yogurt and low-fat ice cream, have added sugar.
- Breakfast cereals, especially those aimed at children, are packed with sugar.
- Sauces and soups ranging from basic tomato sauce to a spicy curry delicacy, and including soups, have big amounts of added sugar.
- All condiments and salad dressings, especially the so-called low-fat ones are filled with sugar. Mayonnaise and honey and mustard salad dressings are delicious but could be deadly, because of the hidden sugar which has been added to them.
- Tinned baked beans, although high in fiber, contain lots of sugar and other additives.
- Muffins, even those with seeds and nuts, are really just cakes high in sugar.
- Protein and energy bars are not healthy snacks. They may contain vegetable protein and some vitamins, but they are also exceedingly rich in refined flour and added sugar products.
- There are sugar and calories in all alcoholic drinks, which add up fast, interfere with fat digestion, and prevent fat loss.
- White bread, the staple diet of many, is also high in added sugar.
Scientists in the food industry have calculated the ratio of fat, sugar, and salt in their products just right to make them yummy enough for you to want more and more.
How to identify hidden sugars in foods
You need to be aware of the many different ways sugar is identified on the labels by clever marketers.
Here are some to look out for:
- Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane sugar.
- Corn sweetener, corn syrup.
- Dextrose, fructose, organic evaporated cane juice, sucrose, syrup.
- Glucose, fruit juice concentrates, processed honey.
- Lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses.
There could be others as well, but they are all just grand-sounding names for hidden sugar.
How to avoid buying foods with hidden sugar content
- You may have to give up some of your favorite foods if you are serious about the dangers of hidden sugar. Check the labels of products thoroughly, including the amount of the sugar product, whatever it may be called, in the item you want to purchase. Also, check the nutrition facts in some of the packaged foods – you could be surprised by the lack of any real nutrition in the product.
- One heaping teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar, and on average up to 16 grams is added to a product, equal to 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar (read that again). This is just in the hidden added sugar from processed, off-the-shelf foods, not the obviously added sugar from all the desserts in your life. So you could be overloading your body without even realizing it.
- Don’t buy anything which is labeled low fat, it could do your body more harm than if you eat a full-fat product.
You may feel that all this checking on labels is going to a lot of trouble, and sometimes time-consuming, but if want to stay healthy and prevent the dangers related to excess sugar, then it is worth all the trouble for the benefit to your health and well-being.
A worldwide epidemic
Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and tooth-decay, are reaching epidemic proportions. A poor diet, overeating, and especially high sugar intake play a huge role in these conditions.
Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and watch your sugar intake. It’s one thing to read about statistics, it’s another thing to be one.