Modern, fast-paced lives make it difficult to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in the foods you eat. Sugar is one of these nutrients. Too much sugar ingests a lot of damage to your health. It is associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and cancer. But another problem is that there are many foods with hidden sugar.
Many people try to reduce their sugar intake, but it’s easy to underestimate how much you actually consume. One reason is that many foods contain hidden sugars, including some foods that you wouldn’t even consider sweet. In fact, even products sold as “light” or “low fat” often contain more sugar than the standard versions.
Since 1970, low fat diets have been recommended. Because fat brings flavor and texture, removing fat from food made it relatively flavorless. That’s why food manufacturers started adding sugar and other carbohydrates to foods to replace fats and improve food taste, so sugar found its place in many everyday foods.
The recommended daily intake of sugar is 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. A teaspoon of sugar contains 4 grams, which is 24 grams a day for women and 36 grams for men. But most people today eat a lot more than this because many foods in just one serving contain a dizzying amount of sugar that exceeds the “allowable” amount of sugar for the whole day.
In order to maintain control of sugar levels, it is helpful to know how much sugar is in the foods that are most readily available.
Also read: 8 best foods to control diabetes
Low fat yogurt
Yogurt can be a highly nutritious food. However, not all yoghurts are made equally. Like many other low fat foods, sugar is added to low fat yogurt to enhance the taste.
For example, one cup (245 grams) of low fat yogurt can contain up to 47 grams of sugar, which is 12 teaspoons. This is more than a daily limit for men and women in just one cup of so-called “healthy” yogurt.
Furthermore, low fat yogurt does not seem to have the same health benefits as full fat yogurt. Therefore, it is best to choose full fat, natural or Greek yogurt. Avoid sugar-sweetened yogurts.
Cereals are a popular, fast and easy breakfast food.
However, the breakfast cereals you choose can greatly affect your sugar intake, especially if you eat them every day. Just because it says “whole grains” or “enriched with vitamins and minerals” does not mean that there is no sugar.
Some breakfast flakes, especially those sold for children, contain a lot of sugar. Some contain 12 grams or 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small 30 gram serving.
Try to choose those with 10-12 grams or less of sugar per meal. Granola and granola tiles can be a heavy source of added sugars, so check their labels.
Soup is not the food you usually associate with sugar. When made with fresh whole ingredients, it is a healthy food choice and can be a great way to increase your vegetable consumption without much effort.
Vegetables in soups have natural sugars, which are fine to eat since they are usually contained in small quantities and with many other useful nutrients. However, many commercially prepared soups have many added ingredients, including sugar.
To check for added sugars in your soup, check out the ingredients list for things like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and other syrups. The higher the ingredient in the list, the higher the content in the product. Be careful when manufacturers list small amounts of different sugars, as this is another indication that the product may be high in sugar.
BBQ sauce can make a delicious marinade or sauce. However, two tablespoons can contain about 14 grams of sugar or over 3 teaspoons. In fact, up to 40% by weight of BBQ sauce can be pure sugar.
To make sure it doesn’t have too much sugar, check the declaration and select the sauce with the least amount of added sugar.
Ketchup is one of the most popular food supplements in the world, but like BBQ sauce, it is often filled with sugar.
When using ketchup, try to keep an eye on your serving amount and remember that one tablespoon of ketchup contains 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Mixing fruit with milk or yogurt in the morning to make yourself a smoothie can be a great way to start the day. However, not all smoothies are healthy. Many commercially produced smoothies are sweetened by things like fruit juice, ice cream or syrup, which increases their sugar content.
Some of them contain extremely high amounts of calories and sugar, and contain more than 96 grams or 24 teaspoons of sugar in one serving.
For a healthy smoothie, check the ingredients and be sure to keep an eye on your portion volume.
Like all fruits, fruit juice also contains some vitamins and minerals. However, despite looking like a healthy choice, these vitamins and minerals come with a high dose of sugar and very little fiber.
It usually takes a lot of fruit to produce one glass of fruit juice, so you get a lot more sugar in a glass of juice than you would get by eating all the fruit. This facilitates the rapid consumption of large amounts of sugar. In fact, there may be as much sugar in a fruit juice as in a carbonated drink like coca cola.
It is best to eat whole fruits and reduce the intake of fruit juices.
Sugar added is often hidden in foods that we don’t even consider sweet, like spaghetti sauce. All spaghetti sauces will contain natural sugar since they are made from tomatoes. However, many spaghetti sauces add extra sugar.
The best way to ensure that you do not get unwanted sugar in the pasta sauce is to make your own sauce.
However, if you need to buy prepared spaghetti sauce, check the declaration and choose one that has no sugar in the ingredient list or where it is listed very near the bottom. This indicates that it is not the main ingredient.
Sports and isotonic drinks
Sports drinks can often be mistaken as a healthy choice for those who exercise. However, sports drinks are designed to hydrate, restore lost electrolytes and energize a trained athlete over a longer, intense period of exercise. For this reason, they contain large amounts of added sugars that can be quickly absorbed and used for energy.
A standard 500ml sports drink bottle will contain 30 grams of added sugar, equivalent to 8 teaspoons of sugar. Sports drinks are therefore categorized as “sugary drinks”. Like carbonated and fruit juices, they are also associated with obesity and metabolic diseases.
If you are not a marathon runner or an elite athlete, you should probably stick to the water while exercising. This is by far the best choice for most people.
Chocolate milk is milk that is flavored with cocoa and sweetened with sugar.
Milk itself is a very nutritious drink. It is a rich source of nutrients that are excellent for bone health, including calcium and protein. However, despite all the nutritional properties of milk, a glass of 200 ml chocolate milk comes with an additional 2 teaspoons of added sugar.
Protein-containing foods are associated with an increased feeling of satiety, which can help in weight loss. This has led people to believe that protein bars are a healthy bite.
While there are some healthier protein bars on the market, many contain about 30 grams of added sugar, which makes them look like candy.
You can also eat high protein foods like yogurt instead.
All fruits contain natural sugars. However, some canned fruit is peeled and stored in sugar syrup. This processing removes the fiber and adds a lot of unnecessary sugar to what should be a healthy snack.
The canning process can also destroy heat-sensitive vitamin C, although most other nutrients are well preserved. It is best to eat whole, fresh fruit.
Also read: 12 best weight loss activities