Could sugar be the true root of obesity and disease?
For many years people have been led to believe that saturated fat is the main cause of heart disease. However new studies have revealed that saturated fat is far less harmful than sugar. It is no surprise that chocolates, fizzy drinks, sweets, and cakes are loaded with sweeteners. But there are other culprits that you might not associate with added sugar.
These culprits are the foods which are packed with large amounts of hidden sugar.
Food manufacturing companies have become wise about the outcry of added sweeteners by health practitioners. With clever marketing, they have started to disguise the sugar in their products so that consumers do not know how much sugar they are really eating. It’s not a pretty fact but it’s the reality. And that is why it’s important that we start to ask the right questions and make some tough decisions!
They add sweeteners into foods to enhance the taste, especially in reduced-fat foods, as foods without fat are bland, and do not taste so good. This means that foods you may believe to be healthy because they are labeled low fat, are actually worse for you as they are loaded with added sweeteners; which keeps you hooked and going back for more.
Researchers have proved that sugar is instrumental in the worldwide rise of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
And let me tell you. When I found out that the sugar I was eating was actually FUELING the Lyme bacteria in my body, I took it very seriously! We know that sugar fuels inflammation and dis-ease, so I strongly encourage you to put this at the top of your priority list when it comes to health.
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Some foods with added sweeteners you need to know about
We all have favorite things we eat that taste delicious, and which we may not realize they are heavily sweetened. Sometimes we even think we’re making the healthy choice with many of these options!
Here are just a few of them:
- Most low-fat items, including any flavored yogurt and low-fat ice cream.
- Breakfast cereals, especially those aimed at children.
- Sauces and soups ranging from basic tomato sauce to a spicy curry delicacy, including soups. It always shocks me how many pasta sauces have sugar!
- All condiments and salad dressings, especially the so-called low-fat ones are heavily sweetened. Mayonnaise, honey and mustard salad dressings are delicious but could be deadly, because of hidden added sugars.
- Tinned baked beans, whilst high in fiber, contain lots of sugar and other additives.
- Muffins, even those with seeds and nuts, are really just sugary cakes.
- Protein and energy bars are usually 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 some exceptions like Square Bars or Dang bars, but the VAST majority are just sugary bars. Yikes!
- There are sugars 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 tasty enough for you to want more and more. I know when I began my health journey, I was absolutely floored by how much sugar I consumed. It was in my “healthy” nonfat yogurt, pasta sauces, all my salad dressings, and even those bars I was trying to use to really eat well!
How to identify hidden sweeteners 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. Lovely, isn’t it?
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 sweetener, 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 heaped teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. On average, up to 16 grams is added to a product, equal to 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. This just represents hidden sweeteners from processed, off-the-shelf foods, not the obviously added sugar from cakes, sweets, and deserts. So you could be overloading your body without even realizing it.
- Don’t buy anything which is labeled low fat, as 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.
I also want to point out that this is particularly important for kids! They are beginning their little lives hooked on sweet without parents or kids even knowing it. Kids should be beginning their food journey with things that grow in the ground or had a mama!