Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Sugar to Cut and Why?

It's important to realize that the "going Sugar-Free" is nowhere near as difficult as it sounds. Sugars are prevalent in many fruits, vegetables, and naturally occurs in our diets. 

What nobody tells us is that our bodies have the added capability of transforming fats and proteins into sugars (one such example is gluconeogenesis). The human body has several mechanisms used to maintain blood sugar levels and avoid harmfully low levels (hypoglycemia).

Sugar is a carbohydrate and recommended dietary guidelines tell us that they should make up 10-20% of our daily intake. Many of us are consuming upwards of 266% of the recommended intake (according to the American Heart Association), which inevitably makes us unhealthy. 

If you're not trying to lose weight, you may realize that an added benefit to cutting out all that extra sugar can really affect a positive change in your waistline. Bonus, right?

Foods to Avoid

Soft drinks: Sugar-sweetened beverages are the biggest source of added sugar intake
Fruit juices: Fruit juices actually contain the same amount of sugar as soft drinks!
Candies and sweets: You should drastically limit your consumption of sweets (eliminate it entirely if you can). We know this is hard, that's why you can eat Sugar-Free substitutes to satisfy your cravings. Trust us, if you find good gourmet, alternative options, this makes it very easy!
Baked goods: Cookies, cakes, etc. These tend to be very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates - (again, there are substitutions)
Canned fruits in syrup & jams: Fresh fruits are always the wiser choice and offer more nutritional value
Low-Fat or Diet Foods: Be wary of these because foods which have fat removed from them are often very high in sugar - the sugar is added to substitute flavor
Dried fruits: Tend to have very concentrated, high levels of sugars
Processed foods: Typically these are preserved with copious amounts of sugar and salt.
Alcohols: Often cocktails and mixed drinks as well as pina coladas are full of sugar and beers are high in carbohydrates
Fruits: Some fruits are just as high in sugar as candy, specifically grapes, sweet apples, melons and pineapple should be consumed in moderation
Drink water instead of soda or juices and try to avoid adding sugar to your coffee or tea. Instead of sugar in recipes, you can use sugar alternatives and substitutes (we will delve into these in detail in another post). Typically, ones to choose should be low on the Glycemic Index (causing a very small change in blood sugar after consumption or have no effect whatsoever).

We found the below useful infographic to give you an idea of how much added sugar is in commonplace food staples.

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