You’re smarter than sugar, you avoid the sweet treats like doughnuts, or candy. You don’t frequently reach for a candy bar or the soda; and yet you’re at a stand still with your weight loss efforts.
Do you know REALLY know how sneaky sugar is and all the places it hides?
When Health and Wellness Professionals talk about sugar, most listeners assume we’re talking about “treats” loaded with refined white sugar. But it hides in so many places and with many different names that it’s easy to let sugar slip into your day – and lots of it.
Before diving into all the ways to watch out for sugar, let’s get one thing understood. These days, talk about “Sugar” could mean anything from white refined sugar to honey added in your tea. People who take avoiding sugar to a whole other level (like those who follow the keto diet) could even be talking about naturally occurring sugars in fruit.
Bottom line, foods made up of simple carbs (like fruit, honey, white sugar, milk and milk products) break down in the body to a simple form of sugar. At the end of the day, you’re eating sugar if you’re eating simple carbs.
This isn’t to say you should start avoiding any and all fruit because it has “sugar” in it.
One of the problems with consuming plain sugar is that it uses precious nutrients in your body to metabolize it. If you’re eating – let’s say a doughnut, with no nutritional value OTHER THAN the sugar, how is it going to affect the body when nutrients are used to metabolize that doughnut without giving your body any nutrients back from what you ate? It’s going to leave you drained and depleted of nutrients.
Sugar *literally* sucks.
On the other hand, if you eat a piece of fruit, like an apple, your body is going to use nutrients to metabolize the apple and the sugars in the apple, and it’s going to get nutrients back from the apple. This makes fruit and other whole food forms of sugar good for you.
Now that you understand that sweet treats and candy is a No-Go, but fruit is A-OK, and that “Sugar” talk could mean either of those, where are these hidden sugars we need to watch out for?
Majority of the time you can find it in premade and prepackaged foods, ESPECIALLY foods labeled as “Healthy”.
(Hint: Common yogurt brands are notorious for having added sugars. Look for "Unsweetened" or "Plain" yogurts and add your own sweetness with berries or a little stevia.)
Companies take advantage of the fact that most people only look at the calories in food products. The problem with this is that 120 calorie “Weight Loss” Bar could be primarily made up of *added* sugars.
It doesn’t matter how few calories there are, if that bar is mostly sugar and has little to no healthy fats or protein… It is not going to be good for your waistline, and I’m speaking from experience.
Watch out for Added Sugars in cereals, bars, premade dinners, granola, crackers, condiments – so many food products have added sugars, and checking for it is as simple as looking at the ingredients.
Look for ingredients like: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Honey, Glucose, *Natural Sweeteners*, Natural/Artificial Flavoring, dextrose, fructose, maltose. All of this means there is added sugar.
Once again, this doesn’t mean go and throw out all the condiments or prepackaged items that have added sugars. Just start by becoming aware of it, and when possible, opt for a whole food option that is going to have less sugar and far more nutrient value, like celery and PB or nuts with a piece of fruit.
And as time goes on, you can also start looking for sugar free items that are easy to swap in your daily life, like a whole food bar vs. a granola bar, or sugar free BBQ. These little swaps in your life will all add up to having a big impact on your health and weight management goals.