Ever wondered why you have such sweet tooth? Or why come 3 pm you have absolutely no control over reaching for that packet of biscuits or bar of chocolate? Well, perhaps you have got a serious addiction to sugar. I speak to so many people who think they are eating “healthy” foods that are in fact filled with hidden sugars. When I first switched to eating a whole foods diet and reading packet labels, I was totally shocked at just how much sugar sneaks into our every day food. Some people even think that they don’t eat processed sugar at all, when in fact they can be consuming large quantities without even realising it. That is why I wanted to write about sugar on the blog and bring attention to where it could be turning up in your food and how you can avoid it.
Now let me just clarify that when I talk about sugar here, I’m talking refined processed sugar like white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar etc. Not the naturally occurring sugars found in your healthy unprocessed food like fruit and vegetables. But just to drive the message home on how much sugar you could be eating, here is a list of some common “healthy” foods that can contain processed sugar:
- Tomato sauce (ketchup)
- BBQ sauce
- Pre-packet salad dressings
- Pre-packet stir fry sauces
- Pasta sauce
- Low-fat cereals
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Baked beans
- Fruit juices
- Yogurt drinks
- Packaged smoothies
- Muesli bars
- Pre made dips
Sugar is sneaking into so many of our everyday packaged foods, meaning that the average person is consuming way above their daily limits without even knowing. The problem with consuming so much sugar is that not only does it make you gain weight and is extremely addictive but excess consumption can also lead to other major health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart desease and more. However giving it up can be difficult, so here are some of my health tips on removing processed sugar from your diet.
1. Learn to read packets
It’s so important to understand and see where sugar could be sneaking into your diet. So start by reading ingredient labels. It might take you a little longer to go shopping to start with but trust me it's worth taking the time to know what is in your food. In fact go to your cupboard right now and have a read. You might just be surprised at how many foods you find that have sugar without you even knowing.
2. Learn the different names for sugar
Processed sugar that sneaks into our food won’t always be labeled as suga. That’s why it’s important to also not just read the ingredients list but also come to know some of the other names Sugar can also be called. For example in processed foods found in the supermarket sugar can also be labeled as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, dextrose, glucose, maltodextrin, raw sugar, sucrose, sorbital, malt syrup and the list goes on. You only need to do a quick Google search to find all the sneaky names that sugar can be labeled as.
3. Stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket
This is the golden rule for most of my supermarket shopping. I generally only go into the aisles of a supermarket to pick up some legumes, spices and my healthy oils. The rest of my supermarket trolley is generally filled with things from the outskirts of the supermarket like fish and fresh fruit and vegetables. So if you can try and stay away from the aisles as much as possible.
4. Don’t be fooled by “fat free” or “healthy” labeled foods
I think I made my point pretty clear with all the foods I listed that sugar can sneak into without you even realising it. Just because there is the word “fat free” or “healthy” on the label doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In fact “fat free” can be one of the worst culprits of foods that sneak sugar into their ingredients. That’s because when you remove fat from food in order to make it taste good they need to add the sweet stuff in.
5. Find healthier alternatives to your sweat treats
Just because you remove processed sugar from your diet doesn’t mean you need to give up delicious tasting treats. I have plenty of recipes from healthy pancakes, chocolate fudge brownies or protein muffins that can help satisfy most sweet tooth cravings. None of which contain processed sugar at all.
I hope you enjoyed some of these health tips and if you want more like this delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up to my weekly newsletter.